MEET ALISON HARDACRE
Alison Hardacre is a One Roof member and the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of HealthKit, a global health platform for practitioners, patients and people everywhere used in over 50 countries around the world, that makes healthcare efficient, effective and accessible.
In 2015 Alison received the Victorian Pearcey Entrepreneur Award and the following year she Alison was named one of the Top 50 Australian and New Zealand Women in Tech. In the past few years Alison has raised $4.5M from investors to expand overseas and fulfil its goal of becoming making healthcare better for everyone across the world.
Tell us about your business is and why you started it:
HealthKit is a global tech platform, operating in 50 countries. It’s for both practitioners (GPs, medical specialists and allied health practitioners) as well as patients and consumers. For the practitioners, we run their whole practice from appointments and patient records through to invoices and financial reports. Our product streamlines their practice, and they get back a couple of minutes per appointment which adds up to an hour a day that they can use to treat more patients.
For patients and consumers, our directory helps them find the right practitioner for them, and they are also able to get in to see practitioners more quickly because the practitioner has more time for appointments. Our single patient record system for consumers also means more effective healthcare because the patient can share records around their care team and integrate medical devices so their health can be tracked remotely.
I started HealthKit with my business partner Lachlan Wheeler 6 years ago and we now have customers all over the world. We are solving a massive structural issue in healthcare – that doctors don’t need more patients but patients need more doctors.
Is there anything exciting you are working on over the next 6 weeks?
Yes! At the end of July we are setting up our European headquarters in Ireland. This will allow us to provide real time customer services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
What is your biggest tip for someone starting a business?
Just do it! Everything is all about action. Think about what you can do today to move the business forward? Everything else is distraction.
What do you find beneficial when it comes to working from a co-working space such as One Roof?
Sometimes having your own business can be a lonely and isolating experience. Being located with other people achieving goals in other sectors, helps you see that we all have similar but different challenges. Sometimes people have even had same experience so we can help each other. It’s about community.
Tell us about YOU, what do you like doing when you unplug from work?
I actually just started martial arts and got my motorbike leaners permit again. In September I am climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. I also enjoy sewing, learning languages and travelling, and generally talking to people.
Starting a business can be a big financial investment, we'd love to hear how you got started?
I started HealthKit with Lachlan and this is our second business together. In our first business we bootstrapped for a long time and understood a lot about the sector. For HealthKit it was self funded at first but needed we investment over time. We sought investment from people who shared our vision and can offer expertise for particular aspects as well as helping us to go global.
How do you know the right time to seek investment?
I think you know when you see you want to do more than you can with existing resources, and you want to bring on others that can benefit from the journey. It ends up being timely for them and for us.
Did you seek an investor after your launched? If so what made you make this decision and were you successful?
Once we launched we got investment. At this time we had customers and revenue as well. We are in a pretty complex sector do we have to build a much better product to even get one customer compared to other sectors. Lachlan and I lived on air for years until we could prove product. But then it became easier to get investors and it continued to get easier as we grew.
How did you go about finding the right investor for your business?
So much is gut feel. It’s a marriage. You need to make sure you have the right investor for vision, their roles, and ensure you connect. Persistence is the key and finding the right investor. It becomes easier over time. Even if you have a difficult meeting you still learn from that, which you can apply to the next investment meeting.
What is one piece of advice you would give to women wanting to raise capital?
I always start by establishing my background and credibility first so investors know they are speaking to someone with a strong business background that understands the sector very well and has built the business; this is critical for all entrepreneurs to be able to do, and really works very well for women to help overcome some unconscious assumptions. Only then do I explain the problem and opportunity that the business is solving. This can be very complex (especially if you’re in our sector or have a product like we do) but if the investor doesn’t understand that then they’re possibly not right investor for you.
Anything else to share
The most important thing for women running businesses is to focus on scale so that you can have as much impact as possible and think as big as possible. It’s a mix of terror and euphoria all at the one time, but over time, the terror goes and confidence grows from having achieved things that matter.