Healthy Start

This Boise company lives at the intersection of a healthcare and investing revolution

As a boy, Jared Iverson dreamt of being a doctor.

Instead, he ended up a securities attorney.

“It was a good job. The firm was really good,” Jared says.

But he wanted more.

Healthfundr CEO and Co-Founder Jared Iverson

It was 2012. Congress had just passed the JOBS Act, which included provisions that paved the way for anyone to invest in startups. It was revolutionary; traditionally, the Security and Exchanges Commission rules barred anyone who wasn’t deemed a sophisticated investor from putting their money into securities in the private markets.

The JOBS Act seemed to change that, something Jared saw as a tremendous opportunity.

“It felt like one of the moments where you could look back and you could decide to be on the forefront of this emerging market or not,” he explains. “There was a degree of now or never if I wanted to be considered early in this.”

Jared leapt, quitting his job practicing corporate securities transactional corporate law to start Healthfundr, an online platform that pairs health sciences startups with investors, advisors and more. The goal, Jared says, is to make creating health startups more efficient, transparent, and accessible, resulting in more innovation and better outcomes for patients.

With Healthfundr, investors get the opportunity to invest in startups in amounts as small as $3,000. For startups, Healthfundr provides access to new capital without the headaches of managing a bunch of individual investors. Instead, small investors are bundled into a single fund Healthfundr manages.

Underlying both is Healthfundr’s network of health sciences experts, who provide guidance and analysis to both the investors and the companies.

“The genius of Healthfundr Expertise, our marketplace of experts, is that we can create a scaleable market without me becoming a bottleneck in deal flow,” Jared says. “Both investors and startups need experts because healthcare is so broad and complex. And so we thought, let’s aggregate experts in the health science space. It’s something we can do well because we are in a vertical market.”

In the hyper competitive world of crowdfunding, Jared believes it is Healthfundr’s focus that gives the company a leg up.

“With all the early frothiness of crowdfunding and seeing all the early entrants, I knew focus would be key to succeeding,” Jared says. “I had a passion for the health space, and my entrepreneurial mind realized specializing was the way to go.”

According to Jared, this specialization and network of experts often combine to give the companies Healthfundr is helping to fund a competitive sales advantage.

Healthfundr's CEO Jared Iverson in the lab

“We can help early stage health companies get customer traction faster,” he says. “We’ll get you help from relevant investors and, often, those investors and our experts can help get you traction post investment, too.”

But getting here hasn’t been easy. When he originally launched the company, he had only been a consumer — not a creator — of technology.

“When I quit the law firm the first thing I started to do was take classes on development,” Jared says. “I actually did the front end development of the site. We realized if we were a technology company, we can’t outsource it. We need to have that as a core competency.”

With big ambitions, Jared knew he needed help. He brought on a co-founder, Sean Schantzen, and worked to accelerate the company’s pace.

Today, Jared works from Boise’s MedTech Furnace, a small health sciences incubator on ParkCenter Blvd, while the rest of his team works remotely.

“With technology these days — Slack for instant messaging, Asana for project management and video Skype calls — the fact that we work as a distributed team isn’t even something we think about. We get to live where costs are less, and that means a lot to a small company’s burn rate.”

Even though they are small, Jared sees Healthfundr having a huge impact on healthcare.

“Everyone feels the pain of high healthcare costs,” he says. “A lot of the analysts say there’s going to be a trillion-dollar disruption with a bunch new players. Those new players are small, agile companies.”

Companies, Jared hopes, that will be funded by Healthfundr.

Photography by Mike Kerby. — Thanks Mike!