This week on The EnTRUEpreneurship Podcast, Wes talks with Jillian Bridgette Cohen, CEO and Co-Founder of Virtual Health Partners (VHP). VHP is an online wellness mobile platform that partners with wellness specialists to offer patients a one-stop-shop for appointment scheduling, live classes, nutritional advice, wellness plans, and much more.
Jillian discusses her personal life experiences that have fueled her entrepreneurial drive, as well as the opportunities and challenges that have grown and shaped VHP since its launch in 2015. Jillian also dives deep into the unique challenge (and differentiator) that VHP has decided to embrace — maintaining a B2B business model in the often B2C world of mobile apps.
The EnTRUEpreneurship Takeaway:
“Feedback is like a gift from your grandmother; you never necessarily like it — you don’t know what you’re going to get — but you need to take it and use it.”
“You need to treat every single person with respect, and you need to value what everybody says because you never know where [an opportunity] is going to come from.”
“I do think competition is healthy — makes you strive to break new boundaries and improve your technology — and if there were not others in the space, I’d worry about not being relevant.”
Key Topics Discussed:
5:16: Jillian thinks back to her life as a child and how she noticed entrepreneurial qualities from a young age. She credits her father as her inspiration to succeed, as he grew up very poor yet put himself through medical school by working hard and consistently treating others with respect.
8:44: Jillian walks through her early professional life leading up to the establishment of her company, which includes a distaste for corporate finance, a fascination with medical device sales, and a random meet up with the creators of Uber while traveling through London.
17:28: Jillian recounts the inception of VHPGO — the VHP mobile app — and how she was fortunate to be surrounded by a brilliant team of ex-surgeons and expert developers during that process.
19:27: Jillian describes what differentiates VHP’s mobile app in the highly-saturated mobile app market and discusses the unique opportunity of going B2B in a B2C world.
21:55: Jillian discusses the how the company has grown both in mission and in geographical influence, as the app has recently launched with full support throughout the Middle East.
24:48: Jillian describes her inclusive philosophy of “thinking big” in terms of target audience, as the VHP now partners with yoga instructors, nutritionists, doctors, and many other types of specialists and has deployed the app in 9 different languages and across 4 different continents.
28:42: Jillian looks back on the moment when she realized that “the sky’s the limit” for VHP’s service, in terms of the value that it could bring to healthcare practitioners across the globe.
32:14: Jillian recaps some of the early obstacles for VHP — from technical issues to last minute “fire drills” before investor meetings — but labels them all as nothing more than “growing pains.”
36:52: Jillian talks about what she looks for when hiring team members at her small company and, looking back, gives her “old self” some advice when starting a business.