Rishad-Usmani
IMPACT INVESTING

Rishad Usmani

#151

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Founder @ HealthTech Investors | Physician | Artist

What is the toughest lesson as an investor? – Rishad Usmani

“Design your life with purpose”

ABOUT

With over 8 years of experience as a physician and a healthtech entrepreneur, Rishad is passionate about improving healthcare outcomes and access through innovation and collaboration. He is the founder of HealthTech Investors, a network of angel investors and mentors who support early-stage healthtech startups.

Rishad is also a mentor at Techstars, a board member at HaloHealth, and an angel investor at SOAP Health, Auctify, Vena Medical, and MobileMSK. He has a certificate in Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare from Stanford University School of Medicine, and a MD from Saint George’s University School of Medicine.

He is an expert at MDisrupt, a platform that connects healthtech companies with medical and scientific experts. Rishad is also an attending physician at Urgent Care, and a former hospitalist at Grand River Hospital and Fraser Health Authority.

He co-founded and led ClinicUp, a digital platform that connects patients with primary care providers and psychiatrists. Rishad is driven by the mission of health for all through primary care, and they bring diverse perspectives and experiences to the healthtech ecosystem.

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THE FULL INTERVIEW

Rishad Usmani

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery: Welcome to the Supporters Fund asking investor I’m your host, Jeffery Potvin. Let’s please welcome Rishad Usmani healthtech investor as our investor for today. Welcome, Rishad. It’s a pleasure having you join us today.

Rishad: It’s great to be here, Jeffrey.

Jeffery: Well, I’m pretty excited, Rishad, because not only are we having a little conversation prior to jumping into this, but what I what I love about the health tech space is that it’s like every space anybody can jump in and make magic happen. And it’s just how hard you work and everything you can do from a startup entrepreneurial side. But when it comes to health tech, there’s 8 million security, governance roadblocks, Apple billion people that don’t want to hear what you have to say because they don’t want you to affect their world. So I’m excited to kind of dive in and learn a bit more about how you see this world. And of course, now that you’re an investor, how much you’re able to change inside this world that you operate in every day. So the way we like to start off our talks is we want to hear a lot about you. So maybe you can share a bit about your background, you know, from your schooling all the way to your entrepreneurship days. You know, dive right in and then, of course, one thing about you that nobody would know.

Rishad: Yeah. No, happy to. The one thing I would add to that is after you get through all the regulation and compliance, then you have to deal with physicians and patients and payers and at times politicians. And each one of us has different wants and needs. I’ll start after medical school. I graduated medical school in 2012. I went to a Caribbean medical school. I did my undergrad in inner city of Toronto, you know, then takes undergrad seriously. I think my second year was in the twos and then kind of brought it up to the threes. By the time I was done, but not enough. Not good enough for medical school in Canada by any means. So I did med schooling in the Caribbean, still wasn’t really interested in being a physician, which is a funny thing to say. Being in medical school, but it was more I didn’t know what else to do. And partly my background is Indian, so there’s some societal expectations there as well. So as you know, I kind of make sense looking back at this, but I didn’t know much into residency after medical school. It took me three years and within those three years was a very transformative period where I learned lots of life lessons and it humbled me to an extent. Learn the power of cold calling, which is something I tell every founder. If you are not cold calling, it’s it’s your playing life on hard mode. So after medical school, I joined St Luke’s Roosevelt, which is a hospital by the Columbia University in New York. I did cardiology research there for one year and learned, you know, it was more a stepping stone to get into residency, which didn’t pan out, but got published in some good journals and learn more about clinical research in that field. As I was returning back to the States, my visa got denied because I did not have strong ties to Canada. My folks were in New York as well, so I stuck in Canada. A couch surfed about a few months. You know, I sleep in a friend’s couch and I could tell their partner was getting sick on me. And I was like, okay, I’ll go to a different Prince coach and called essentially all the medical schools in Ontario. What I knew is I had to stay clinically relevant. So to call that our stay in clinic in some capacity, thankfully Western gave me a chance and I did observer trips there, which is essentially follow physicians around. A lot of people or high school students do it, but it was a way for me to get and eventually one of the exams I wrote I did really well on and that landed me a residency at UBC who initially rejected me. And I’ve learned to respond to every rejection and just a simple thing. So, you know, thank you for considering my application and I think I’d be a great cultural fit and it would love to have the option to work with you or it doesn’t have to be anything. Eventually, they invited me for an interview. My first time in B.C. was for my interview for residency at UBC. I matched their I did Family Medicine residency, graduated in 2017 and kind of flitted about thinking what kind of physician I wanted to be and did different settings like Clinic, Hospital, Nursing Home eventually landed on hospitalist. So I was taking care of patients in the hospital, took care of the very first COVID patients in Canada as well out in B.C., but found my life monotonous to an extent. Medicine is a field where you struggle a lot long hours, lots of work, but when you get there, there’s little growth after. So it’s not a field that really incentivizes people to stay. People especially who were looking for growth continuously. So I thought, okay, what can I do to give me this feeling of growth? And we can talk about success and happiness and achievements and how they’re different things. And before I would equate them, but now I have a different understanding of the concepts. So I thought, okay, startups look interesting. I had no idea what a startup was, You know, I didn’t know what a safe node was. I did not know what an MVP was. Essentially, no business knowledge, but I thought I would. There are things we do in medicine that are algorithmic that I can automate here. So I started a clinic with the intent of automating travel medicine concepts because you don’t need a physical exam for them. It’s just a history. And then based on the history, you recommend treatment. Corbett happened, so that didn’t pan out. Pivoted to mental health in general medicine there. But now I was in an industry where I’m a service provider with low barrier to entry and essentially I’m a loss leader, which is the way to compete and to reduce your prices. If you keep doing that, especially as a startup, unless you have significant funding, it’s not a good way to achieve product market fit or adoption or success in startup. It’s a realize that and again, being a new leader in a startup, I had no idea what I was doing, so I was kind of learning the role as I go, made tons of mistakes, didn’t pan out, closed clinic up last year and wanted to stay involved in this in the startup ecosystem and the innovation ecosystem. And I also got married and had two kids in this and this time where we can talk about how to balance life and work as well. So I joined a friend of mine connected to Halo, Halo Health, which is a Physician Angel group and joined there and I sit on the board there. So a market of Halo health for more international or more for Canada and the US and a focus on teaching physicians to invest launch health like investors. It grew to about 500 physicians in a couple of weeks and we angel invest in startups. We had our first place competition closing in our on our first two investments right now and then have a podcast and newsletter as well. So kind of at a crossroads. I think I’m finishing on my fifth Angel investment and the plan is to continue investing in 5 to 10 startups. Maybe average check size around 50 to 100 K as a group for the next five years. And I think as most people in my shoes debating whether to raise a fund in some capacity, would that be a better way to go about this or not. I’ll puzzler Jeffrey.

Jeffery: Rishad that’s a great story. I’m going to ask you to say one thing about you that no one would know. Now, you did share a lot, so there is probably a few things in there. But one great nugget.

Rishad: I’ll say I’ll say a couple of things which are personal. What is I paint now? I do paintings and abstract art. Growing up, I was always told I’m not creative. I was always told I’m analytical. So I think we have the tendency to put ourselves in these boxes, you know, introvert, ex