You know how they always say that in venture capital and private equity investing, great management is even more important than a great idea? Well, when you get both together, it’s like finding a rainbow-colored unicorn.
So please meet our unicorn du jour, Bryce Williams, CEO of ExtendHealth. Bryce is the poster child for dedicated, performance-oriented CEOs and has the unusual attribute of also being a pretty great guy. And for all that, Bryce has just quite deservedly been named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2011 Northern California award winner in the category of business services. Williams and other category winners (a parade of stars that includes the Chairman of Linked In, and the CEOs of PayPal and Cepheid, among a few others) were honored at a gala event on Saturday, June 25 in San Jose. I know that “gala in San Jose” seems like an oxymoron, but hey, you eat your rubber chicken where it’s served.
Extend Health, which operates the largest private Medicare health insurance exchange in the country, is a Psilos portfolio company, natch, and is knocking it out of the park on a regular basis. A health insurance exchange is a marketplace where people, armed with the funds from a defined contribution health plan, can securely and smartly purchase a highly personalized health insurance plan on an individual basis. Psilos has written extensively about this topic, as have others, but you can read our piece HERE.
Health insurance exchanges, unheard of several years ago, have proven to be a key means of delivering high quality health insurance options to retirees covered under company-sponsored retiree benefit programs at a more affordable price. Because of their efficacy in improving quality and reducing costs, health insurance exchanges will soon be expanding to serve the active employee market as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA aka the health reform bill). As a result, Extend, as the largest functioning entity of its type, is poised to realize even greater opportunity as certain portions of PPACA go into effect in 2014. To augment their thriving Medicare exchange business, the company is poised to address the PPACA opportunity through a partnership recently signed with Microsoft to bring the exchange platforms to all the states that want it.
Extend, a profitable company, already has 135 employer clients (their blue chip clientele includes Ford, Chrysler, Fedex, Kellogs, Whirlpool, Caterpillar, Eastman Chemical, the State of Nevada and a myriad of others). Extend’s exchange offers about 300,000 of those companies’ retirees more than 3500 health plan product choices from 70 carriers. On average, retirees get an equal or more robust health plan, pay less money out of pocket and report satisfaction with the services received at an enviably high rate. At the same time, the companies that pay for Extend’s services have literally realized over $1 billion in savings in the last few years as a direct result of these programs. You can read about that HERE. $1 billion here and a $1 billion there and soon you’re talking real money. If this exchange approach were spread broadly across the healthcare economy, as it is expected to be, maybe we all won’t have to get our paychecks from China.
So, as a U.S. regional winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2011, Bryce will continue on in the competition (I do not believe there is a swim suit portion of the competition), with national finalists and winners being announced at the close of the annual Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum in Palm Springs, California on November 12, 2011. The Entrepreneur Of The Year® Award is considered to be among the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs and is designed to recognize men and women around the country for their exceptional entrepreneurial achievements. 2011 is the 25th year of this awards program.
Oh, and lest I forget to mention, this award comes on the heels of Extend recently being named 94th on the Inc. 500 list of America’s 500 fastest growing companies. They are a pretty studly crowd over there at Extend headquarters in San Mateo, CA.
And Bryce, if you are reading this, congratulations to you and to your entire team on this much deserved recognition. We at Psilos are thrilled for your success and so proud to be your colleagues and supporters.