We’re excited to announce our investment in Goodbill, a new consumer advocate that spots and fixes overcharges in hospital bills. We’re even more excited to be sharing this investment with our friends at Maveron, a Seattle-based venture firm with an amazing track record in consumer-first investing. And we’re over the moon to be working with Goodbill co-founders Patrick Haig and Ian Sefferman for the second time.
We named our firm Founders’ Co-op because we believe that extraordinary founders – not clever ideas or VC cash – are the bedrock of startup value creation over time. The highest compliment we can ever receive is when a team of founders we’ve had success with in the past – and who because of their success could raise from any investor they choose – decide to partner with us again on their next company.*
I met Ian Sefferman back in 2008 when he was a developer at Amazon and we had just started Founders’ Co-op. He’d built a side project that he thought might be a company and wanted feedback on his idea. I backed him as one of our first fund investments and together we learned what it means for founders and investors to build a company together.
Along the way I was introduced to a second-year UW Law student who was growing disillusioned with the idea of practicing law and was interested in startups. I introduced him to Ian, and before long Patrick Haig had dropped out of law school to join Ian as a co-founder. Their company was ultimately acquired by TUNE, which was in turn acquired by Toronto-listed Constellation Software, a happy outcome all around.
Ian and Patrick’s next project was a startup studio – Undefined – focused on health and wellness opportunities. As much as I loved working with them both, our founder-centric worldview makes us wary of the studio model, so we stayed in touch but didn’t invest (a choice that can sometimes sour a relationship for obvious reasons). But when Patrick reached out just before the holidays to say that he and Ian had fallen in love with one of their studio research projects and decided to go all in again as co-founders, we said yes without a second thought.
Healthcare payments in America are a Byzantine mess, and customers are regularly hit with surprise bills for thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars. Medical bills are reported to be the number one cause of U.S. personal bankruptcy; they’re also rife with mistakes and overcharges that are difficult for consumers to spot and even harder to challenge.
Goodbill uses the power of software and machine learning to spot inaccuracies in medical bills and negotiate on the customer’s behalf to have those charges reduced or removed, saving hundreds to thousands of dollars per error. It’s still early days for Goodbill’s offering but their solution is already sparking excitement from customers and consumer medical advocates alike.
We’re thrilled to be working with old friends to solve this important problem. You can add your name to their waitlist here or take advantage of their first product here to help you get reimbursed for at-home COVID test purchases.
* We were curious so we looked it up: over 25% of our investments over the past few years have been with founders we’d backed previously – higher than we thought, and a number that makes us feel good about our repeat rate while also leaving plenty of room for new people and ideas.