Today’s featured Indiana startup business is PolicyStat, LLC, a Mira award-winning software-as-a-service company which provides healthcare document management solution for hospitals, outpatient clinics, labs and integrated health systems. It is led by a ridiculously strong management team, starting with President Steve Erlich, who gives some great insight in this interview.
Tell us about your startup…your words…whatever you want to say.
PolicyStat, LLC is the manifestation of most economic development leaders’ visions of how a high tech industry will be built and sustained in Indiana. It is a company founded and managed by a group of people who developed essential skills while building other successful high tech companies in the state (e.g. Software Artistry, Aprimo, Pan Testing, Exact Target, Interactive Intelligence, Angel Learning and Autobase); it is a company with capital that was reinvested from liquidity transactions at many of the same companies; it is a company that is in one of the hottest technology spaces today (healthcare IT), attacking the opportunity with current technology (cloud computing, open source technology, and offered software-as-a-service); and it is a company whose software engineering efforts are led by a 2007 graduate of Rose Hulman Institute of Technology. We are the prototypical Indiana early stage company with the credentials to serve as the poster child for many of the economic development efforts around the state.
How did you come up with concept for your business, and how/when did the business model for that concept become clear?
The founders of PolicyStat established the company to commercialize a product concept developed during a consulting engagement they performed for a hospital in northern Indiana. The original business plan was developed by one of the founders in a class at IUPUI. Its expressed intent was to transform the Intranet site developed in the earlier consulting engagement into a software-as-a-service offering designed to manage the lifecycle of important reference documentation (e.g. policies and procedures) for healthcare facilities.
What made you first believe that starting a business is right for you (i.e. as opposed to working for someone else)
My entire career has been spent in entrepreneurial software companies. Almost without exception, each move I’ve made in my career has been to a company that is smaller than the prior one when I joined it. I realized early on that the thing I am most passionate about is creating something and fostering its early growth. Startups are where the “rubber meets the road” in the free enterprise system, and they are a great place to be applying my talents.
What challenges have you encountered?
Every early stage company encounters its own challenges. Challenges can come from all angles – the marketplace, the economy, technology, employees, etc. Some of the biggest challenges I’ve encountered include: deciding how to shrink a company’s workforce when market conditions or business models change; getting stock option-holding employees to realize that an IPO is not an end, but rather a means to an end; and raising money during the months following the Lehman Brothers collapse.
What sacrifices have you made to start your business?
Cash is king in a start up. Continuously moving to smaller companies has meant that strict salary growth has had to receive less emphasis in my overall view of compensation. Almost without exception my cash compensation has decreased each time I have accepted a position at a new early stage company. I received no monetary compensation at PolicyStat for my first nine months here, and even after three and one half years my overall cash compensation is still less than what it was when I left my last company.
In your opinion, what makes Indiana a great place to start your business?
Mitch Daniels and his administration have done an exceptional job aligning the tax policy, incentives, and logistical support within Indiana to foster small company success. The State of Indiana’s efforts are further helped by a sense of community among the majority of Indiana’s high tech industry participants who all seem to realize that when one company wins we all win.
If you could give an entrepreneur looking to start a business one piece of advice…what would it be?
Great companies are bought not sold; so make it your priority to build a great company if you want to maximize your personal investments in it. When you set out to build a great company, make sure to do so for all of your stakeholders – customers first, employees second, community third – and the rewards will come for your shareholders. There is no guarantee of success when you set out to build a great company, and it takes infinite patience and a lot of faith to get there
Stat Sheet: PolicyStat,LLC
- Business Name: PolicyStat, LLC
- Website: policystat.com
- Facebook Fan Page (if applicable): http://www.facebook.com/pages/PolicyStat-LLC/123331444358877
- Twitter Account (if applicable):@policystat
- Your title at the business: Steven M. Ehrlich, President
- When was the business founded: 2006
- Business Description in 140 characters or less (or not): Located in Indianapolis, Indiana, PolicyStat is an award-winning policy management software company which provides an industry leading healthcare document management solution for hospitals, outpatient clinics, labs and integrated health systems. PolicyStat’s mission is to enhance healthcare through simple, powerful and reliable web-based solutions that help people manage and disseminate vital information.