How two Cleveland boomerangs are making waves on the med tech scene with MedPilot

Who says Cleveland isn’t a tech hub, let alone a medical tech hub? Not Matt Buder Shapiro, Nate Spoden, and Jake Myers, co-founders of MedPilot.
 

In fact, the team believes so much in the city’s potential for business growth that they relocated MedPilot from New York City to Cleveland last year, where they set up shop at 5500 S. Marginal Road. Both Buder Shapiro and Spoden are Cleveland “boomerangs,” having grown up on the city’s east side, moved to New York, and built successful careers—Buder Shapiro in marketing and advertising; Spoden in revenue cycle management consulting.

 

In 2014, they joined forces with Myers to launch MedPilot—a web-based platform that combines healthcare practice management systems with MedPilot’s data science and behavioral targeting to recommend effective patient engagement methods, personalize communications, and resolve outstanding balances. 
 

While the first several years in New York City went well, they knew Cleveland was the place to grow a company like MedPilot.

 

“Cleveland is the healthcare capital of the world,” says Spoden. “I like to think Cleveland is becoming technology-focused in general, but moreso is becoming healthcare-focused.”

 

Spoden's instincts were on track. In the year since MedPilot moved to Cleveland, the company has grown to 30 employees and raised $1.7 million in funding. Upon arrival, they "received a flood of inbound requests from Cleveland investors,” according to Buder Shapiro; among those investors were Valley Growth Ventures; Jon Pinney, managing partner of KJK; and Plug and Play Cleveland.

 

“It’s been a really nice year of growth for us,” says Buder Shapiro. “We’re trying to do our part to change the narrative that Cleveland is not a good place to start a company or grow a company.”

 

Since launching, MedPilot has helped over 350,000 patients have a better experience with their healthcare provider. “Patients find it helpful to work with MedPilot because we navigate them through the confusing healthcare process,” says Buder Shapiro. “Providers like working with us because happy patients make for better customers.”
 

Those who have invested in MedPilot say they see both the company’s potential and the benefit of having MedPilot in their Cleveland portfolios.


“We are very excited to be investors and even more excited to see some of our talent return home,” says Pinney, who met Buder Shapiro, Spoden, and Myers through Chantel Moody, platform director for Plug and Play Cleveland. “We invest all over the world and I would put this management team up against any startup.”


According to Moody, MedPilot is Plug and Play’s third investment in a Cleveland-based startup since last year. She agrees with Pinney’s assessment of the team, describing the MedPilot founders as forward thinkers who have transformed a complicated, outdated billing system into a process that benefits both patient and provider.


“MedPilot navigates patients through what they owe and why,” says Moody. “They provide explanations of complicated healthcare terms, a hub where they can view all their bills in one place, and a support center to answer any questions that people might still have. Healthcare is confusing for everyone. MedPilot set out to try to improve this.”


Instead of employing the outdated collection practices of paper statements and reminders via snail mail or recorded messages from bill collectors—which can confuse, alienate or intimidate the patient—MedPilot combines information from the client's practice management system with internally-derived insights and analytics to personalize the approach to collections.


Using machine learning, they continue to optimize their outreach strategies based on the patient's interactions—tailoring communications down to time of day and tone of voice used. MedPilot also powers the healthcare provider's administrative department by giving the provider a tool to more effectively track patients, manage their experiences, and monitor financial activity.


“We’ve created a process that is a lot more streamlined for not only the provider, but for the patient,” says Spoden. “It reduces the overall costs for the provider while personalizing communications between the provider and patient.”


Spoden says the goal is to make every customer feel taken care of. “We really are a patient engagement company,” he says. “We do try to make people feel they’re heard and they’re getting what they need.”


This month, the company launched MedPilot Gives Back to provide support, funding, and technology to Circle Health Services (formerly the Free Medical Clinic of Cleveland) and the Centers for Families and Children.


“Unfortunately, a large segment of the population can never afford quality care,” says Buder Shapiro. “We want to raise awareness, and it’s incredible to get to work with a nonprofit as prestigious as [Circle Health].”


Both Spoden and Buder Shapiro are glad to be back in Cleveland and see big potential for MedPilot here as they grow. “I’ve been very impressed by the resources Cleveland’s startup community has to help facilitate growth for businesses like ours,” Spoden says. “I’m excited to be back home in Mentor with my wife, Jenny, and twins on the way.”


Buder Shapiro adds, “It’s been incredible seeing how much Cleveland has changed since I was living here as a kid. You can truly feel the energy downtown, it’s palpable.”

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.
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