The Entrepreneur: Ranjan Singh, HealthHero

Becoming Europe’s largest telemedicine provider in less than three years is no small feat, but that is exactly what Ranjan Singh’s company HealthHero has done.

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Company: HealthHero
Founder: Ranjan Singh
Website: healthhero.com

HealthHero is the brainchild of experienced digital executive and private equity investor Ranjan Singh. Its purpose? To revolutionise the healthcare industry by offering users a suite of virtual healthcare services, delivered 24/7 via phone, video call and online chat.

Ranjan, co-founder and CEO of HealthHero, spoke to Startups about his “Digital Healthcare 3.0” vision, the dangers of hiring the wrong people, and the importance of knowing when to walk away from a business venture.

The Business

Describe your business model and what makes your business unique:

HealthHero is a digital telehealth platform. We offer a suite of virtual healthcare services delivered 24/7 via phone, video call and online chat – but we go far beyond ‘Zoom for GPs’.

HealthHero’s digital triage tool acts as a ‘navigator’ for users, directing them to the right practitioner or course of treatment, which they can access through our bespoke communication tools. This approach makes it easier for people to manage their health, providing more convenient access to a holistic range of health services and facilitating better outcomes for patients.

  • We are the largest telehealth platform in Europe by number of consultations and market presence. We’re also one of the few businesses in this field that has traversed separate geographical healthcare markets, integrating with different national healthcare systems.
  • We have more than 4,000 clinicians within our network, and they are involved in every layer of the business – from advising platform development teams, to helping with quality regulation and governance, to connecting with the end users seeking care through the platform. This helps us deliver on our joint aims of making care more accessible for users and alleviating pressure on the healthcare system by providing high-quality remote alternatives.
  • Most telehealth companies are focused on digitising individual steps of the patient journey, inadvertently preserving the overall inefficient structure – but HealthHero is fundamentally deconstructing and reconfiguring the entire healthcare journey, making it simpler and easier to access. Our combination of digital tools and clinical expertise facilitates pathways of care rearranged around the individual. We are really looking to provide a holistic digital experience covering the entire care spectrum, from prediction, prevention and diagnosis to treatment and management.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

Growing HealthHero to become Europe’s leading digital telehealth platform in such a short space of time – and all during a pandemic. We increased our revenue 20 fold over a two year period. It’s bonkers!

It is incredible what you can achieve in tough circumstances if you have a strong purpose. For us, that purpose is: simplifying healthcare; improving lives. This guides everything we do and has been the fuel we have needed to get to where we are today. And we are only just getting started.

It is incredible what you can achieve in tough circumstances if you have a strong purpose. For us, that purpose is: simplifying healthcare; improving lives. This guides everything we do and has been the fuel we have needed to get to where we are today. And we are only just getting started.

How did you fund your business?

HealthHero is backed by Marcol, a privately owned pan-European investment house.

What numbers do you look at every day in your business?

There is a range of information that is critical to me on a very regular basis, but first and foremost it is about growth. Are we taking our proposition to more people and increasing our coverage in the markets we serve?

I keep a close eye on metrics related to service levels, the consultations we offer people, and client satisfaction. Then, of course, product integration/development, budgets and where we are placing our bets in terms of investment in technology. We are growing so quickly and we have such a huge opportunity to change healthcare for the better, that being laser-focused on our objectives is critical for success.

To what extent does your business trade internationally?

HealthHero is the largest telehealth platform in Europe by number of consultations and market presence – operating in the UK, Ireland, France and Germany. We are scaling rapidly in our ambition to be the dominant force in digital telehealth in Europe.

Where would you like your business to be in five years?

Beyond geographical expansion, our overall vision is to help achieve what we call ‘Digital Healthcare 3.0’. This is the point at which patient experience and healthcare system efficiency intersect.

We want a world where healthcare is seamless, straightforward, convenient, comprehensive and easy to access. People should be able to get the care they need at a time and place that suits them. They should be empowered to manage their own care with digital tools. Our aim is to have every touchpoint in the healthcare ecosystem connected.

What software or technology has made the biggest difference to your business?

Our online triage tool has the biggest impact on the two critical areas we are looking to influence, namely patient experience and healthcare system efficiency. This is the entry point for many into the HealthHero ecosystem, setting them on the right care pathway for their needs. This tool effectively reduces the burden on the healthcare system.


Growth Challenges

What was your biggest business mistake and what did you learn from it?

When scaling at pace, it is hard to get 100% of your hiring decisions right, and I have learnt a lot about the importance of hiring the right people because of that. There were times when I should have cut ties more quickly when it was clear that a relationship was going in the wrong direction. I think you need to be ready to make difficult decisions, no matter how painful.

What one thing do you wish someone had told you when you started on your business journey?

It is okay to walk away, change and adapt your business. At a previous venture I almost learnt this too late. I think entrepreneurs are fed a narrative that the most important thing to do is never give up. However, as many founders reading this will appreciate, sometimes a business cannot succeed down a certain path for reasons that are completely outside your control.

In that circumstance, even though it is painful, giving up is a better course of action than ploughing more money and resources into an idea that is doomed to failure. I would argue that sometimes giving up is exactly what you need to do in order to gain perspective, find firm ground, and start the entrepreneurial journey again.

It is okay to walk away, change and adapt your business. I think entrepreneurs are fed a narrative that the most important thing to do is never give up. However, as many founders reading this will appreciate, sometimes a business cannot succeed down a certain path for reasons that are completely outside your control.

How has the pandemic affected the market you operate in?

There is no doubt that the pandemic has highlighted that healthcare systems are outdated and failing to keep up. However, these systems were overstretched even prior to the pandemic; services were disconnected and inefficient. COVID-19 will have a lasting impact, but we hope that one positive outcome will be the long-lasting adoption of technology that delivers better outcomes for patients.


Personal Growth

Did you study business or learn on the job?

I have done a bit of both. I have an MBA from INSEAD, and something like that helps you develop unique perspectives on business and create a valuable network. You also gain confidence and get to benchmark yourself against similar people.

80% of where I am today is due to learning on the job, though. There is no substitute for real- life business situations.

What would make you a better leader?

Time is one valuable resource that I would like more of. Being able to free up time for thinking and developing deeper relationships, rather than focussing on transactional interactions, would have a huge positive impact for me.

One business app and one personal app you can’t do without?

On the business side, I find LinkedIn incredibly valuable and I love Ted Talks for learning and new perspectives.

On the personal side, one app I could not do without is Google Maps!

A business book or podcast that you think is great:

I love ‘Sapiens’ by Yuval Noah Harari. The insight in this book, about connecting the dots between how things have happened and how things will evolve, makes it a must-read. I also am a big fan of ‘Predictably Irrational’, by Dan Ariely – it offers incredible insight into human behaviour.

Ross has been writing for Startups since 2021, specialising in telephone systems, digital marketing, payroll, and sustainable business. He also runs the successful entrepreneur section of the website.

Having graduated with a Masters in Journalism, Ross went on to write for Conde Nast Traveller and the NME, before moving in to the world of business journalism.

Ross has been involved in startups from a young age, and has a keen eye for exciting, innovative new businesses. Follow him on his Twitter - @startupsross for helpful business tips.

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