When Kansas City-based Infusion Express closed a $13.5 million Series B round earlier this month with McKesson Ventures as its lead investor, the move wasn’t a fluke, Don Peterson said.
“If you build something really great, the money will find you,” said Peterson, CEO of Infusion Express. “I didn’t call McKesson, they called me. When the largest healthcare company in the world who touches every corner of the industry decides they want to invest in you, I think that says a lot about what we’re doing.”
Launched in 2013, Infusion Express is medical services provider that offers IV drug therapy to patients with chronic conditions requiring regular treatment. The firm currently has three Kansas City area locations — Overland Park, Independence and Briarcliff — as well as locations in Chicago, the San Francisco Bay area and Pennsylvania.
In addition to McKesson, Health Velocity Capital also invested in the round. With the recent funds, Peterson plans to add about 20 new locations next year. By 2020, he hopes Infusion Express will expand to 60 locations.
“The round definitely accelerates our national expansion,” he said. “Like any company, we need to build our infrastructure so we can support the expansion. Everything has to be scalable. Every process, every policy, every department and every service. This requires a great deal of discipline.”
Patient-aligned business model
Infusion Express received a No. 60 ranking on 2017’s Inc. 500 fastest growing companies list, touting a growth rate of 5,549 percent with $7.1 million in revenue. One thing that helps the medical service provider stand apart is its customer experience, Peterson said.
“In many ways, we run Infusion Express as if it were a high tech startup,” he said. “The culture is very similar and our attitudes toward our customers is similar. We take ‘patient-centric’ a bit further and we call our approach ‘patient alignment.’”
Think of the last time you set an appointment with a healthcare provider, Peterson said. Chances are, you flexed your schedule to fit theirs and not the other way around, he added.
“We’ve completely inverted the alignment,” Peterson said. “We don’t even post hours on our site. It’s by appointment only, whenever you need to come in we’ll move heaven and earth to make sure you can come into that appointment when you need it.”
Infusion Express isn’t Peterson’s first time running a company. A previous firm, DeskStation Technology, sold to Samsung in 1998, he said.
When launching Infusion Express, Peterson wanted to bring a forward-thinking, entrepreneurial spirit to the medical services industry.
“Health care has no price transparency and the industry is designed where the patient fits their lifestyle around the needs of the provider and not the other way around,” Peterson said. “In what other service industry could you get away with that? What we’re doing isn’t common in health care. It seems simple and straightforward, but it’s not.”
In addition to offering convenience for its customers, Infusion Express facilitates clearer communication with doctors and collaborates with insurance companies to keep costs lower.
Get real, Kansas City
Peterson hopes that Kansas City entrepreneurs can gain inspiration from his experience and begin to take action on their own endeavors, he said.
“Great things can be done here,” Peterson said. “It doesn’t happen as often, given the relative size of our community and the relative expertise of people. But I think we are doing OK. If I can help people understand that it can be done here, I will.”
Simply put, Kansas City shouldn’t try to be the most entrepreneurial city in America, he said. It should instead just focus on being “more” entrepreneurial.
“It’s an unattainable goal,” Peterson said. “There are three areas of high capital concentration in this country and we’re not one of them. Let’s accept that and then move on to what we actually can do, instead of clamoring about what we can’t do or won’t do.”