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Welcome to another episode of Category Visionaries, the show that explores the future of tech with innovative B2B founders. In today’s episode, we’re speaking with Joe Gagnon, CEO of 1upHealth, a healthcare data platform that has raised over $75 million in funding.

  • Joe’s passion for endurance sports and pushing the boundaries of human potential, epitomized by his experience running a marathon on six continents in six days, covering 157 miles and 37,000 miles of travel.
  • The importance of embracing challenges and discomfort to develop problem-solving skills and resilience, both in endurance sports and in business leadership.
  • 1upHealth’s mission to build a cloud-based, modern data platform for healthcare, enabling interoperability and computation across payers, providers, patients, and pharma companies.
  • The historical and structural reasons behind healthcare’s lag in adopting technology and data standards, leading to inefficiencies, high costs, and poor care quality.
  • 1upHealth’s focus on selling to payers (insurance companies) as their primary customer, leveraging the need for compliance with federal data standards and communication requirements.
  • The company’s impressive growth trajectory, ranking 35th on Deloitte’s Fast 500 list with 5,100% growth from 2019 to 2022, along with 10x employee growth and significant funding rounds.
  • The challenges and learnings from transitioning from a founder-led company to a professional CEO, and the importance of aligning skill sets with the stage and needs of the business.
  • The competitive landscape in healthcare data, spanning cloud providers, health application companies, and data warehouse players, and the value of having competitors validate the market opportunity.
  • The shift in market category from a regulatory compliance solution to a data lakehouse as 1upHealth scales and accumulates billions of records and trillions of resources.
  • The impact of the macroeconomic slowdown on enterprise selling and the need for tighter operational control and market responsiveness.


Cultivate Investor Relationships Continuously:

Joe emphasizes the importance of engaging with investors consistently, even immediately after closing a funding round. By building rapport, demonstrating progress, and proactively addressing common questions, founders can establish trust and credibility long before initiating a formal fundraising process.

Leverage Industry Events for Investor Connections:

Contrary to the perception that investor "speed dating" events are a waste of time, Joe highlights how a brief 20-minute meeting at such an event led to 1upHealth's Series C lead investor. Founders should view these gatherings as valuable opportunities to make multiple investor connections efficiently.

Know Your Target Customer Intimately:

In enterprise sales, deeply understanding your ideal customer profile, their buying behavior, budgets, and decision-making process is crucial. Founders should prioritize developing this customer knowledge to improve sales effectiveness and avoid chasing the wrong opportunities.

Embrace the Value of Competitors:

While it may seem counterintuitive, the emergence of competitors can actually validate your market and help educate potential customers. Founders should view competition as a necessary part of market development and an indicator that they are on the right track, rather than a purely negative force.

Align Personal and Company Mission for Maximum Impact:

Joe's personal commitment to health and wellness through endurance sports dovetails with 1upHealth's mission to transform healthcare through better data. By finding alignment between their individual purpose and their company's objectives, founders can tap into a deeper source of motivation and inspire their teams to achieve ambitious goals.

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