How To Find A $100 Million Idea

December 13, 2019 |  

About this episode


Dr. David Bach is a Harvard-trained scientist, physician, and serial entrepreneur.

To read a transcript of this episode, click here.

Dr. David Bach is a Harvard-trained scientist, physician, and serial entrepreneur.

Bach has founded and built three healthcare companies, each of which grew to over $100 million in value. His most recent exit was from Leprechaun LLC which became the fastest growing company in America before it was acquired delivering a 90X return for his shareholders.

What is Bach’s secret for consistently picking winners? It all comes down to a process he goes through before he starts a company which he’ll describe in this week’s episode of Built to Sell Radio.

After selling Leprechaun Bach was bored and wanted back in the game, which is why he started his latest venture, PlatypusNeuro. What will you do after you sell? This is one of five critical questions most founders never ask themselves before they exit. Answer all five when you complete your PREScore™ questionnaire.

About Our Guest

Dr. David Bach - a Harvard-trained physician and neuroscientist - is the Founder and President of PlatypusNeuro, a San Diego-based applied neuroscience company that translates cutting-edge neuroscience discoveries into practical tools and programs that measurably enhance human performance. David also hosts a popular Podcast entitled ‘Neuronfire,’ which gathers over 15,000 listeners each month in addition to more than 500,000 followers on social media.


John Warrillow:                My next guest, Dr. David Bach, is a Harvard trained scientist, physician and a serial entrepreneur. Get this: he has started and built three health care companies that have grown in value to exceed $100 million. His latest of which, Leprechaun, went on to be one of the fastest growing companies in America, delivering a 90–nine, zero–X return on investment for his investors.

John Warrillow:                So, what’s his secret? Well, it turns out, there is a methodology that he goes through for picking a business idea that he discovered between idea number one and number two, and in this episode of Built to Sell Radio, he shares that strategy with you. Enjoy this interview with Dr. David Bach.

John Warrillow:                Dr. David Bach. Welcome to Built to Sell radio.

David Bach:                       Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.

John Warrillow:                You have started four companies. You must be among one of the only people I know who has actually started four companies. Touchstone Healthcare, Empyrean, Leprechaun, Platypus Neuro. What’s your secret?

David Bach:                       I think, perhaps, like many of your listeners, the secret to my success is that I’m just foundationally insane. And I’ve read books about the character of an entrepreneur, and it’s like one of those things, where I read it and I’m like, “Oh, that’s me.” I retired after the sale of my last company and I lasted, I don’t know, two years? And I was utterly committed to being retired. I had kind of had hit my number, I was like working really hard, and two years later, I was like this… I just want to get back in the game.

David Bach:                       So I think I’m just constitutionally made to be an entrepreneur, and as I’m doing it, it just gives me juice and energy and it feels like this is kind of what I was born to do.

John Warrillow:                Let’s go all the way back to your first company, Touchstone. Tell me what you guys did, and what that experience was like for you.

David Bach:                       Okay, well, let me begin and say the value that Touchstone offered me in my life was primarily to teach me about how to not start and build a business, and I have a friend who talks about being an entrepreneur as eating dirt, and it was seven years of just absolutely grueling work eating dirt where, ultimately we got the company successful and profitable and all of that. But, it was a very challenging experience.

John Warrillow:                What did you guys do?

David Bach:                       So what we did is… It was an HMO, or it is an HMO, in New York city, offering care to Medicare patients. And I got the idea from a previous job when I was a venture capitalist, seeing some people do this, and I was like, “This is a great idea.” And I’ll tell you, when I put together the business plan, I, and other people who looked at it, looked at it and said, “Oh my god, this is brilliant.” I mean it was this economic model for doing things where you get really good quality care and doctors would make money and we would make money, and on paper, it just looked great, and we were going to grow really fast.

David Bach:                       And then, we started it and nothing, nothing worked whatsoever. And my background, I wasn’t trained as a business guy, this was actually my first job other than as a management consultant or a venture capitalist, so I’d never really been part of a business, I’d never really run anything before. And it was… I hope you don’t mind me saying it, just a pure clusterfuck.

John Warrillow:                Not at all.

David Bach:                       I think what I would like to talk about with Touchstone is actually that I think the lessons I learned really taught me what I should and shouldn’t do. And, there’s two major lessons I came out with. The first one was, we had a product which looked good on paper, which we thought people would want, but when we went out to sell it, we just weren’t getting bites from our customers. People were unimpressed by the story we had to tell, and so we had a lot of trouble with selling.

David Bach:                       And so, I think the first lesson that I internalized, because it was so painful to just be missing our revenue goals, was that never again in my life do I want to go out into the world and offer a product that people aren’t kind of ravenous for. I sort of swore to myself, next time, when I go out to sell a product, people are going to be beating down my door.

David Bach:                       The other thing that I learned, which I think was a very valuable lesson from it, was this was something that sounded good, but it really didn’t play to my strengths. I figured out, because now I’ve been through it a bunch, but there’s a few things I’m really, really good at, and there’s a very large number of things that I really suck at, and running an HMO plays to all of my weaknesses. It’s actually an operational game. There’s very little where being smart or clever or whatever gets you anywhere. It’s all about operational execution, and there are people for whom that is like their area of strength.

David Bach:                       But, what I realized is I’m a pretty good salesman, I’m really good conceptually seeing things that other people can’t see, and because of my background, I’m a doctor and at this point, I got business experience and I have scientific training. When I play to my strengths, I can have a competitive advantage, and this play does not have that, so. That’s what I’ll tell you about… In the end, the investors basically got their money back, I walked out with a little bit of money, but it was mainly a learning experience for me.

John Warrillow:                And how did you take those lessons and apply them to your second business? Because I understand that you went through a bit of a process to get ready to go into your second business. Maybe, can you describe that at all?

David Bach:                       Yeah. So yes, I spent about nine months, basically spending down the money I had gotten out of the first business, trying to figure out what I wanted to do next. And I want to give a shout out, at the time I belonged to EO, the Entrepreneur Organization. Which, back then, was actually called YEO, to show you how long ago it was. And I got a lot of support from my forum group. But, I decided I wanted to start another company, and with my forum’s help, we decided that, before I do it, I want to make sure in advance that it was a good idea.

David Bach:                       And so, we started and we made up a list of criteria for what my next business would be like. And it was a very formal list. And the first thing is what I told you, which was, I wanted to be sure we had a product where it was kind of guaranteed we would go out there and there would be ravenous market demand for it.

David Bach:                       And a second thing was building and what I’d learned from Touchstone is, I wanted to have a competitive advantage by virtue of my background, so I knew that going into this business, there had to be something about it where I could do a better job at it than somebody else as the CEO. And I was pretty clear about my strengths and I was pretty clear about my weaknesses. And then I had a number of other criteria.

David Bach:                       And then we came up with, and I wish I could say this was my idea, but one of my forum mates came up with this idea which was just insanely clever. I’m a healthcare guy, right? My first business was in healthcare and I was a healthcare consultant and I’m a doctor and a scientist, so it was natural to be in that space. And we said, “Well, if you want to build a business which is guaranteed to grow, the first thing you have to do is you have to find a problem in the market that nobody else is solving, where clients are motivated.” And we wanted a problem which was of high importance to people.

David Bach:                       So what I did is, I went on what’s now been dubbed “a listening tour,” and I started calling people I knew in the healthcare world, and here’s the question I asked, I mean these were like leaders in healthcare. I said, “Tell me a business problem which is going to be really important to you a year from now that you haven’t started to worry about.” Right? “Tell me what is going to be a huge problem for you in a year that you haven’t started to worry about.”

David Bach:                       And I got on the phone with CEO’s of some companies, and they referred me to their other friends, and I’ll tell you something, people love this question. I got to talk to the CEO’s of some Fortune 100 companies, and John, they loved it because these CEOs are thinking quarter by quarter, and it was the first time anybody made them think of down the future end. So, I would schedule half an hour with people, I would get an hour and a half, and I did 150 of these interviews. And it was just all asking that same question.

David Bach:                       As they went through it, and they started to speculate it, a theme came out, and there were 35 ideas. And they were all ideas like, “Here’s a problem which is getting worse, which is going to be a huge issue for these people, they don’t have the solution, can I solve it?” And then I was just like, “Did I come up with a business plan that I have unique value for?” And, out of those 35 ideas, then I went through with my forum group and we sort of systematically checked them off against the criteria, and we came up with two ideas, or I did.

David Bach:                       And one of them was for my second, one was for my third company, Leprechaun and Empyrean. And they both did, by all measures, incredibly, incredibly well. And it was just a great thing, and then [inaudible 00:12:23], in doing the market research, it also set me up because, by the time I went into the space, I had already talked to some potential customers, so I had my pipeline built, I had talked to people in the space, and so it was very easy to construct a management team and to come out quickly with a product.

David Bach:                       And that’s what I did for the second and third one, and then, recently, when I went back into the game, that’s exactly what I did for this business, and sure enough, just like happened with the second and third company, I’d now come out with a product, or we have come out with a product, which is just generating massive, massive consumer demand. And it’s been really good formula for me.

John Warrillow:                I’m so fascinated by this idea of a listening tour. Did you actually call it a listening tour, like in your emails and correspondence with doctors?

David Bach:                       That was a phrase that Hilary Clinton popularized after I did it.

John Warrillow:                Okay.

David Bach:                       So, I don’t remember what I called it. Actually, I don’t think I called it anything, but…

John Warrillow:                How did you land those meetings?

David Bach:                       Well, and I was already connected in the health care industry… Sorry, I started with 25 people who I knew would take my call just because they were my friends, but what happened is, as I said, I started to talk to people and they were like, “Holy shit, this is fascinating. I haven’t thought about it.” And so, I was getting, like I said, CEOs of large companies giving time, because they found the question provocative. And one thing people said is they kept wanting to hear what everybody else was saying.

David Bach:                       And so if I would talk to the head of an HMO, they would be like, well what are the heads of the other HMOs saying? And actually, ultimately, as a favor of all the people I talked to, I wrote up a white paper, a 25 page white paper, saying, “I’d done these 150 interviews, and here are the major themes that I’ve heard about what people think are going to be problems coming down the road.”

John Warrillow:                And, David, did you promise that white paper upfront as part of the quid quo pro to the interview, or was that just something after the fact that you did?

David Bach:                       It kind of evolved. I mean, I made the decision that I was going to do it by around the 20th interview. I can’t believe I remember this, but on average, I would talk to people and then I would say, who else should I talk to? And on average, every person I talked to gave me like two and a half referrals, because they were like, “Oh, you should talk to so and so and so and so,” and so, it really quickly went to the point where I had way more people that I could interview than there was time for.

John Warrillow:                And did you do it under the guise of trying to discover your next business idea? What was the sort of premise?

David Bach:                       I was super honest about it. I mean, I would be… [inaudible 00:15:32]. When I first book, “What Color is your Parachute,” when I left medicine to go into the business world, I mean, I realized that then, people love doing informational interviews. If you’re not selling someone, it’s not hard to get people to do this kind of thing. I mean, I don’t know about you, but like, I would imagine if I was like, “Look. I want to write a book, and you’re an amazing author who publishes amazing books, would you give me 10 minutes of your time to talk to me about your experience about writing a book?” I mean, I don’t know you very well, but my guess is, you’d say, “Okay, maybe.”

David Bach:                       Just because it’s like that “pay it forward” thing. So, I think, I was super honest and I didn’t have any trouble. But, again, I think the thing which made this plan work so well is that the question was interesting to people. They weren’t doing it as a favor for me, it was really provoking these people to think about something that they should’ve been thinking about, and they did. [inaudible 00:16:36] you’re the CEO of a company, you better be thinking about the problems you have that are coming down the road that you’re not worrying about yet. And you never do. So it was a useful exercise for them to sit back, and think about it, right?

John Warrillow:                You know, I just interviewed Cal Fussman who writes an Esquire column and is a well-known podcaster, and he says, “The best questions are the ones that make the person being interviewed curious themselves.” And it sounds like you came up with one. Out of interest, how did you actually come up with the idea for the question itself?

David Bach:                       Like I said, it wasn’t me, there was a guy in my forum named Jeff Moore who came up with the idea and…

John Warrillow:                And that question.

David Bach:                       And then I just went with it.

John Warrillow:                What’s the secret of getting people to keep talking? In your case, you asked for 30 minutes and, in some cases, they lasted for 90 minutes. What did you do to keep people talking?

David Bach:                       Well, the first thing I want you to know is, I didn’t try to keep people talking, I was trying to be efficient with my time and I was actually trying to be respectful of people’s time. I mean, you do podcasts as part of your living, so I mean, I think you know this. I think that… I mean, this is not my area of expertise. But, I mean, I think when you are genuinely interested and you’re listening hard and you’re asking clarifying questions, and asking provocative questions, I mean, I think that’ll keep people engaged.

David Bach:                       I mean, I know that works for me. So, I think that’s my strategy. I mean, realize, I had no ulterior motive. I was just like, “Talk to me about your problems, and let me know more,” and I think that’s a magical question, right? Anytime you go to somebody and say, “Tell me about your problems, I’m really interested,” I mean, who doesn’t take that question, right?

John Warrillow:                As you went along in this listening tour, you mentioned you got to 150 interviews. At what point in the process did the themes really start to become clear to you?

David Bach:                       And that’s a really good question. And it was after about 60 or maybe 70 of them. It is a regular phenomenon. You do that kind of thing, there comes a point when, all of a sudden, you start hearing the same things over and over. The second half of the interviews were actually digging deeper. And so, what was happening is, by the time I was halfway through, I had my list of here’s the 35 things I think could be potentially viable businesses, and then I had to go back in and start digging. I mean, I remember I spent a ton of time thinking about a nurse staffing company, because everyone, everyone I talked to was like, “We have a huge shortage of nurses, it’s only getting worse, we don’t know what to do about it.”

David Bach:                       And I was like, “Oh my god, that’s like a dream company.” And so, I pursued it really hard and then just finally, I hit a point where like, “Well, wait a second, I can’t solve this problem,” and so I did like five or six interviews which were very targeted around that.

John Warrillow:                Understood. How did you avoid the temptation to start, I guess, we’ve all been… Speak for myself, from time to time, I’ll have a conversation with someone who’s got a “business idea.” And I can tell that they built the idea up so much in their mind, they become so married to it that any sort of criticism or anything less than overwhelming enthusiasm from me is met with almost a defensiveness. Did you find yourself as you got deeper and deeper into the interviews, sort of formulating a hypothesis and then wanting to defend that hypothesis?

David Bach:                       Never. But remember where I had just come from. Right? I had just gone through seven years where it ended and I said, “Never again.” So I was the guy who started with the brilliant idea and nobody could tell me I was wrong. And after those seven years, I was not going to make that same mistake again. So, during this listening tour, I was super skeptical. I mean, I was burned and I didn’t want to go back into the game until I had like checked every box.

David Bach:                       And remember, I wasn’t pursuing one idea, I had 35 ideas and I was just whittling them down, so the whole idea was, I would look at this idea and say, “Prove to me that you’re going to work,” and I would just keep poking it, and then they would just dial on the vine. So, it was really different. I was not like the classic entrepreneur where like, “Oh, I have a problem and I’m going to solve it for myself and now I want to bring this out there.” I started with a market and I was, “Prove to me that you are a good business idea and I am dumping you the minute that I have any skepticism about you.”

David Bach:                       So, it was just a completely different approach, and it’s a very non-classic entrepreneurial thing. At that point, I just didn’t give a shit about anything except for, “Give me a product I can sell that people will buy.”

John Warrillow:                It’s very much the scientific method, isn’t it?

David Bach:                       Yeah.

John Warrillow:                Yeah, well, because, I think entrepreneurs hearing that saying, “150 interviews? I’d be bored after six.” But you come at it from a very different angle, right? You’re a scientist by training and by background, your parents were scien… I mean, that’s your wheelhouse.

David Bach:                       But I want to say something about that. If this isn’t purely a scientific thing, like if you’re… Here’s my initial reaction. If somebody thinks they’re going to be bored after talking to six customers, or whoever out there is going to have that thought, I would ask you to think, are you really an entrepreneur? Because like, if you really want to be a good entrepreneur, you have to like be fascinated continually by your customer. I mean, I’m… This isn’t just science, this is like, when I build a business, my entire existence is centered around, who is my customer and how can I create value?

David Bach:                       And they become the center of my attention, and I am utterly fascinated by them, and will to my dying breath. And so, I think this is not just a scientific thing, but it’s really like, if I want to create value, it can only come from curiosity, it can only come from, really, understanding the customer. Because this is all like the classic stuff that I learned. It’s very common, I think, for you to focus, as an entrepreneur, on what you think the customer should want.

David Bach:                       I have this product, and I know this is good for them, and I know why it’s good for them. And my first company, we had a product which was good for the customer, but that didn’t matter. What it has to do is, they have to… It has to meet their needs, and their needs are not always the ones that you think they are. These are very emotional things, and so you’ve got really get into the mind and the heart of the customer and know what moves them and what represents value for them, rather than what you think is valuable.

David Bach:                       And, I think if you get there, then it’s really easy to do a dance with the customer. Otherwise, what you’re doing is you’re fighting against the tide.

John Warrillow:                How do you ask these people in these interviews about their willingness to buy? One of the things that I’m kind of curious about, and I know a lot of entrepreneurs are probably doing the same thing as they listen to this is, is they’re saying, “Yeah, but I want to know, like, would a customer buy? Once I’ve sort of formulated an idea of a business, I want to ask them, would you buy and how much would you pay for it?” Did you get into that level of questioning, and what did you learn about asking those sorts of questions?

David Bach:                       Well, I mean, I have no problem asking that kind of questions. I mean, I’d rather not talk about that process, because I mean, I just started another company, and I went through a year of market research before starting this one, too, and I did focus groups and talked to customers. But, I mean, I don’t think anybody that I can think of minds if I go in and I say, “Look, here’s what I’m thinking of as the product, and would you buy it, what would you pay for that?” I think that’s a pretty reasonable question.

David Bach:                       I mean, I don’t know, in the world I travel in, people like entrepreneurs and they want to help you come up with something, and, I mean, I found all sorts of people who were pretty honest with me saying I would never buy better, I wouldn’t pay more than this, or whatever. I don’t think that’s a difficult problem to have.

John Warrillow:                How do you avoid, because there’s a lot of people, and I’ve seen this myself, asking people about business ideas, especially in the early days of running a company. Out of the desire to not be mean spirited, or not to put a pin in your balloon, people will placate you and say nice things and say, “Hey, that’s a great idea. I think that’s a winner, that’s your million dollar idea,” you hear that sort of thing, or at least I should say, I have heard that sort of sentiment from people who don’t want to hurt my feelings.

David Bach:                       Yeah I think it’s worst than that. I think there’s two things at play. The first thing is, sometimes people will not want to hurt your feelings, but the second is, people are notoriously bad at knowing how they will behave. And so there are all sorts of famous psychology studies where people say, “I’m going to do this,” and then they go about doing that.

David Bach:                       Like, I remember, this is again, because I’m super old, there was this famous market research study where somebody said, “If you had time to watch the Playboy channel or the nature channel,” right, this was, I don’t know, 30 years ago, “How much time would you spend on one or the other?” Everybody was like, “I’m going to watch National Geographic. I’m going to watch the nature channel, and sure enough, what do they tune into? Right?

David Bach:                       The thing is, they just don’t know what they’re going to do. They think they’re going to do one thing, but the truth is, we are not driven by our logic, we are driven by these very primal things. And, so, I mean, I think it’s much worse than you’re describing. I think when you go and talk to somebody… I want to be very clear, I’m not somebody who will go to somebody and say, “Would you buy this, what would you pay?” and I take it at face value. What I actually am listening for is the emotion underneath it. And so, when I was doing this, what I was listening for is someone’s emotion.

David Bach:                       If we talked about a nursing shortage, and you talk to the CEO of a hospital, you can tell whether or not he or she is losing sleep over it. You can tell. And it’s like, they’re going to be like… and if they’re just like, “Yeah, yeah, we’re having a problem with a nursing shortage,” you ignore it, but if they come to you and they’re like, metaphorically, like grabbing you by the neck and saying, “Dude, if you can come in and you can solve this problem for you, I will give you my right testicle,” if they say something like that, I’ll be like, “Okay. I believe you.”

David Bach:                       Because you can feel it. You can feel this is not placating or you can feel this is a huge problem for them that they don’t know how to solve. Right? And you’ve just got to listen for the greed and you’ve just got to listen for the fear. And once you see that, then you’ve got a winner. Otherwise, yeah, I mean, there’s a million ideas, people think they would like and they’re not going to pay for.

David Bach:                       That’s why I was saying, it’s like, you’ve got to go for something where people are going to be ravenous and hungry. Like, they cannot live without.

John Warrillow:                And that’s exactly what happened with your next two companies. I’d love to just finish off with an explanation of the two companies that you did build as a result of this listening tour. So just describe, if you can, in layman’s term, remember our audiences are not medical people, we have every stripe. What does Empyrean do and what did Leprechaun do? Maybe describe that if you could.

David Bach:                       Yeah. I mean, they’re both kind of still around, although in different iterations, and so it’s more like, what do they do? So I’ll start off with Leprachaun. Because it’s a more kind of compelling story about it. So, back in the day that I was asking these questions… Well, first of all, our customer was what are called, “Medicare HMOs.” And so these are HMOs, but their customers are not, like, companies, their customers are elderly people who want private insurance, rather than getting insurance from the government.

David Bach:                       And so, these are people who are eligible for Medicare, and they say, “I’m going to sign up with United Healthcare, rather than just like the regular government thing.” Okay? And one thing you got to know about Medicare HMOs is, they get paid in a really weird way, they don’t get paid by the customer. When you sign up as a client to become a participant in a Medicare HMO, then the government will actually… You’ll file something with the government and then they will transfer to you the payments that they would otherwise expect to make. Right?

David Bach:                       So you sign up a patient and then you get a check from the government every month to cover you for the cost associated with it. Are you with me so far?

John Warrillow:                I am.

David Bach:                       Okay, and so those were our clients. Now, at the time I was doing my interviews, when I was talking to the CEOs of these Medicare HMOs, they were saying, “You know, the governments changing their formula for how we’re getting paid, and it goes into effect in a year, and I haven’t really paid any attention to it because I’ve been way too busy.” Right? So, you talk about like a compelling event that they haven’t dealt with, that, right, it’s like slapping you in the face. And so, as I investigated this thing, and remember, I’ve got like perfect background. I had actually run a Medicare HMO, I’m a doctor.

David Bach:                       What I discovered is, they were completely, completely changing the formula. Or, these HMOs and a bunch of HMOs are going to get creamed. And these are public companies. Right? They were going to get creamed because the new formula could kind of cut them off at the… So, here’s what happened, in the first formula, the one that used to be in effect, people were getting paid just based on the demographics for their patients. So, if you’re a 75 year old woman from the Bronx, then they might get $750 a month. Right?

David Bach:                       And, doesn’t matter about anything else, all that matters is that you’re in the Bronx, you’re a woman, and you’re 75. The new system started to pay people, not based on demographics, or at least, not entirely. It started to pay them based on their clinical conditions. So now, all of a sudden, if you’re a 75 year old woman from the Bronx, but you’re completely healthy, the premium is going to be like $400. But, let’s say you have diabetes. Then it’s like $500.

David Bach:                       But, if you have diabetes and you broke your hip and you have depression and emphysema, it could be like $2500 a month. So they were paying money based on how many clinical diagnoses you had. And here was the thing: the HMOs had put no attention into reporting information about the clinical diagnoses that their patients had, and they were missing, like, more than half of the diagnoses.

David Bach:                       And so, when the new system came into effect, they were going to get creamed, and they were massively under-reported. And it was coming in a year and nobody had put any attention on this issue which would either sink them or allow them to really swim if they could solve it. And so, when I did these interviews, I was like, “Holy shit, this is big.” Right? Because the Medicare HMO industry is enormous in the entire HMO industry is getting hit with this thing, and nobody has started thinking about it except for a couple of plans.

David Bach:                       And because of my medical background, I was like, I know exactly how to find the diagnoses that are missing, and I know how to collect them, and I know how to make them more money.

David Bach:                       And so, what I did is, we built up a machine learning algorithm where we could look at their billing data, predict what diagnoses are missing, and then go pull medical records and find them and report them. And so, like we moved the stock prices of big Medicare HMOs, we came [inaudible 00:35:02] with a product when nobody else did, within six weeks of starting the company, we were profitable and we owned 8% of the market share of all Medicare HMOs in the country.

David Bach:                       Because this was a problem, like, when it hit, people were like, “Oh my god, this is a disaster,” and we were the only ones out there with a solution. It was a huge win.

John Warrillow:                How quickly did this company grow?

David Bach:                       We were profitable in six weeks, we went from one to 140 employees within a year, and we sold it generating a 90X return for our investors in 19 months.

John Warrillow:                Not bad. More listening tours.

David Bach:                       Oh, and it was the fastest growing company in the country.

John Warrillow:                Yeah.

David Bach:                       It was cool. Nowadays, it would be considered puny, compared to like the Uber’s and the Lyft’s, but back then it was actually a pretty big deal. It’s amazing how the world has changed, because the numbers I’m talking about now are infinitesimally small, compared to what you see nowadays. But, the size of… the magnitude of what you can do with a company today is so much more than it was 10 years ago, it’s incredible.

John Warrillow:                Who ultimately acquired Leprechaun?

David Bach:                       It was acquired by a company called XLHealth.

John Warrillow:                And what was their sort of strategic reason for wanting it? What were they… How did they see it fitting into what they were doing?

David Bach:                       Well, I mean, look, the bottom line is that we, essentially, were the first players in what is now a large industry. I mean, If you think about it, the business of looking for missing diagnosis is worth a lot of money to these HMOs, and so, we were the first ones in there, but ultimately, now there’s like four or five major players, and they all have a pretty sizeable presence, and XL wanted to get into the space for a variety of reasons.

David Bach:                       And so, they got funding from Goldman Sachs and they did some other stuff. And they actually ultimately took the company and grew it pretty nicely. In our prep call, we talked about the sort of challenges people associate with selling. It was not hard to sell Leprechaun. Right? I mean, it was an industry people were waking up to, we were profitable, we were growing really fast, and when the investment banking world looked and said, “Okay, this is a major industry that’s evolving,” larger players in healthcare world came along and said, “We want to be a player, we can either try to build it from scratch or we can acquire this company.”

David Bach:                       And, at the time, we weren’t only the leading player in the industry, we had sort of invented in the industry, and there were some new people coming in, but we owned, I don’t know… We had 20 times as much business as the next largest player at the time.

John Warrillow:                That’s an amazing story. David, where can people reach out about and find out more about Platypus Neuro, or yourself, would you direct them to LinkedIn, or is there a website that they can learn more about you?

David Bach:                       Yeah, I have a LinkedIn profile. The company… This is the first time I have done a podcast in like two years where I haven’t talked about the company I’m doing right now. But the website is, so I’ll spell it, it’s a really long name and we’re actually going through a name change, but it’s P-L-A-T-Y-P-U-S Neuro, which is N-E-U-R-O dot com. And I just want to give a shout out. This is, talk about market research for something which is going to change the world. We have Neuro Science technology where we work with the lead performers like athletes and hedge fund traders and the like, and our technology rewires and dramatically upgrades their brains, so they improve their cognitive performance, and it directly translates to things like, more points on the scoreboard and more profits in the hedge fund.

David Bach:                       And this is another industry where, after market research, it just became clear, it’s going to be an explosively large industry over the next five or 10 years, and it’s not going to be quite the Leprechaun story, other people have caught on to the opportunity a lot sooner than they did with Leprechaun, but it’s going to be a very, very big industry, and it’s a really, really exciting ride.

John Warrillow:                Well, you got me curious., Dr. David Bach, thanks for joining us.

David Bach:                       It’s a pleasure. Bye.


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