(as presented on Nashville Medical News on January 8, 2016. Article written by Melanie Kilgore-Hill.)
If the name “Lucro” is new to you, it won’t be for long. Backed by Nashville-based Martin Ventures, Lucro is an online marketplace for buyers and sellers of healthcare solutions with the potential to truly disrupt the status quo in an industry overwhelmed by financial and regulatory pressures.
Lucro officially launches spring 2016 but is already being utilized by more than 1,000 early adopters including HCA, Community Health Systems and Tenet Health where decision-makers have embraced the new outlet to discover, compare and collaborate with peers around innovative industry solutions.
New Ideas for a New Marketplace
Lucro’s groundwork traces back to 2009, when company founder and CEO Bruce Brandes found himself on the West Coast as a keynote speaker behind Steve Jobs. Soon, he was collaborating with Silicon Valley’s top techies. Brandes later teamed with Martin Ventures – which provides capital, operational support and mentoring primarily for healthcare and technology entrepreneurs – as a managing director and served on the company’s investment committee.
“Through my experience, I made a couple of observations,” explained Brandes, a healthcare IT veteran. “Healthcare is a market that has been oversold and under delivered, and the industry has the scars to show for it.”
Brandes regularly saw companies approach Martin Ventures in need of capital – not to invest in a product … but to hire pricey sales execs. Brandes contended a better way for companies to grow was to redirect those dollars to help products and clients succeed.
Then, he made another observation. “As we went around talking to major healthcare executives about Martin Ventures, everyone had the same question: ‘Can you help us filter the universe of shiny things?’ There’s an explosion in the number of new vendors out there, and no one knows how to filter through it all,” Brandes said.
“Either they’re wasting a lot of time in meetings with companies that aren’t a fit, or they’ve put up a wall to keep them out and then worry about innovations they might be missing out on,” he noted.
Simply put, they needed help executing innovation with greater clarity and lower risk. It became clear the industry-disrupting task ahead was bigger than Martin Ventures itself. Brandes approached his West Coast comrades to see what could be learned from other multisided platforms – top websites that shift the advantage to the buyers to make decision faster and cheaper.
“We know the way in which we buy a car or plan a vacation is radically different now than a couple years ago,” Brandes said. “How do we take those principles and apply them to healthcare where the mission is much more important than saving $10 on a hotel room?”
Conversations took place between world-class web developers and the nation’s top healthcare executives to identify missing links in the healthcare marketplace. Before long, Brandes had a well designed website and a network of early adopters eager to help bring vendors on board.
“Vendors want to grow their business but can’t get in front of the right people,” Brandes said. “We’re giving them a vehicle to raise visibility and access solutions. It’s a new ecosystem with advantages to both sides, helping healthcare organizations to innovate faster with lower risk and giving the companies that should succeed a chance to build better solutions and be shared.”
So, What is Lucro?
In a nutshell, Lucro is an online marketplace where providers, vendors and third party associates have a voice. It’s a single site where vendors can be rated and reviewed, ideas can be pinned and private groups can be created for peer discussion.
Lucro’s capabilities include:
- A comprehensive catalog of established and emerging companies and their products for healthcare,
- The ability to organize individual products within project boards, enabling the pinning of individual products to be grouped into a comprehensive solution,
- Insights from colleagues through ratings, reviews and polling,
- Private group collaboration to raise consistent best practices enterprise-wide, and
- Aggregation of specific, valuable third party insights into a fuller context to inform more comprehensive decision-making.
“We found most buyers don’t care about vendor websites. They care about what their trusted peers in their role at other hospitals are doing,” Brandes said. “’They want to know, ‘How are you solving this problem?’ Right now they’re doing that through hallway conversations and trade shows, which aren’t comprehensive.”
A Call to Vendors
To that end, Lucro’s staff members are attempting to create a vendor profile solution card for every company selling into the healthcare marketplace. Of the 22,000 vendors identified, more than 10,000 cards have already been entered based on publicly available facts.
Now, Lucro is putting a call out to vendors to connect to the marketplace, curate their solution cards, and provide details about specific services and capabilities – information that will expedite buyers’ searches. There is no charge for buyers or sellers to participate, which Brandes hopes will avoid friction in building out the Lucro community. He also hopes to reach out to third-party professional organizations, industry analysts and other experts who have earned a trusted place as advisors in the healthcare community.
A Community Effort
In building a truly comprehensive, non-biased healthcare marketplace, Lucro has compiled a diverse board of advisors that includes Scott Becker, publisher of Becker’s Hospital Review, and board members and executives from RAND Health, Tenet Health, Oxeon Partners and Ascension Health.
“This is a community effort. It’s not taking the place of something that already exists and is working,” Brandes said. “We’re well positioned to do something very significant in the industry, but it will only succeed if people look at how to align rather than protect their own turf on a legacy piece. The problem we’re striving to solve is a problem for everyone.”
For more information or to become a part of the Lucro community, go online to lucromarketplace.com