Welcome back to The Room Podcast!
In this episode, we have the privilege of sitting down with Dr. Iman Abuzeid. Formerly a medical doctor, Iman pivoted her career journey to become the CEO and co-founder of Incredible Health — an innovative healthcare career platform connecting nurses with permanent roles.
Iman was born and raised in Sudan, where she was surrounded by entrepreneurial influences from her grandparents. Simultaneously, her admiration for healthcare workers — stemming from her father’s and brothers’ medical pursuits — nudged her towards the path of medicine. Iman ended up following the doctor path and moved to the UK to pursue her medical education at UCL. Her journey through medical school exposed her to healthcare system dynamics. However, she began seeking a larger-scale impact beyond individual patient care. This inspired her pivotal move to New York City where she transitioned to management consulting, focusing extensively on hospital operations and strategy. Later, she attended Wharton for her MBA, encountering a hub of entrepreneurial minds, before settling in the tech-centric SF Bay area where Iman worked at an early-stage healthcare technology startup as a product manager.
Leveraging her array of professional experiences, Iman co-founded Incredible Health with a resolute mission: to enhance the lives of healthcare professionals and streamline the nurse hiring process. Today, Incredible Health stands as a living testament to her unwavering commitment, commanding a remarkable valuation of $1.65 billion and over 700 hospitals using the platform.
In today’s episode, we explore three key themes: the three part framework Iman used for starting Incredible, when to bring on strategic investors to your cap table, and the future of the nursing industry.
Let’s open the door.
Key Theme 1: The Three Part Framework Used For Incredible Health
Iman highlights that the foundation of Incredible Health rests upon a strategic framework comprising three key elements: market size, unique insight, and competition.
Demographic trends project a growing aging population, leading to increased demand on the US healthcare system. Yet, the response to this demand has proven insufficient, resulting in a labor shortage. This gap is the very void that Incredible Health strategically targets. Additionally, Incredible Health’s remarkable distinctiveness and resilience against competition come to fruition through its deliberate focus on permanent employees rather than contractors and a unique system where hospitals imitate contact with nurses, reversing the traditional dynamic. These strategic decisions carve a unique niche within the landscape as it aligns incentives for hospitals and healthcare workers. It optimizes the hiring process for hospitals while offering nurses a more efficient and streamlined job search experience.
Aspiring founders can draw valuable lessons from Iman’s framework. Recognizing the importance of identifying a substantial market ripe for disruption and honing in on a unique differentiated edge can be mission-critical when venturing into the entrepreneurial realm.
Key Theme 2: when to bring on strategic investors to your cap table
Iman provides a nuanced perspective on the strategic timing of bringing on investors to a company’s cap table. She emphasizes that it is imperative for founders to have a clear vision of the kind of partners they seek during each financing round and find investors who share similar philosophies. In Iman’s case, the seed and early rounds for Incredible Health were exclusively reserved for technology investors. This deliberate choice was driven by her desire to collaborate with risk-taking and highly ambitious investors, attributes she found were particularly aligned among technology investors.
As Incredible Health progressed, Iman’s approach evolved. When it came to the later Series B round, she introduced strategic investors into the fold. She explains that “the number one reason I added strategic investors was because “it’s a signal to the rest of the US healthcare system that Incredible Health is here to stay as Kaiser and John Hopkins were already customers but it’s a whole other thing to say that they also invest in you.”
Iman’s insights delve into the crucial nuances of shaping a company’s cap table. The choice of investors isn’t just about financial support; it’s about aligning with partners who share your company’s vision and can amplify its impact.
Key Theme 3: the future of the nursing industry
Iman predicts that healthcare might be one of the slower industries in adopting artificial intelligence given the sets of constraints around implementation of new technology in the field. However, notable unlocks are unfolding, such as virtual nursing,. As a business, Incredible Health is very bullish about AI and has already integrated it into some of their processes within matching.
Iman also detects a noteworthy shift in the urgency to address the nursing shortage. As senior leadership and C-suite executives dedicate increased focus, a steady trajectory of progress for nurses has become evident. It is already apparent in the increasing adoption of career development programs by hospitals, which aid in enhancing retention and recruitment efforts. These initiatives align with other improvements, such as flexible scheduling leading to better longevity and lifestyles, growing openness to relocation, and advancements in wages.
Thank you for listening to our season 9 opening episode of The Room Podcast!