Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Tale of Two Startups

The Bust
Recently I got a call from a woman who needed to talk about health insurance for her family.

“My husband’s company is folding, so we are not going to have health insurance through the company anymore. It was a high-tech, mobile communications company, and he helped to start it. They have a great product, and they were doing well, but the economy just hit them hard.”

It turned out that she was not as worried as I thought she might be. He had been doing these types of ventures for 15 years, and she was used to the changes. Also, he knows a lot of people in the industry so she sounded confident that he would land on his feet somewhere.

However, we did have to do a bit of research to find a solution to their family’s health insurance. She needs certain prescription drugs, but to get a family plan that has a rich prescription drug coverage would cost double what she was budgeting to pay. We found out that she could order her medication from Canada at a fraction of the cost of covering it here, and her doctor confirmed that this would work fine. The important thing was that her family did not have a gap in coverage, so there won’t be any questions of pre-existing conditions.

The Boom
Soon after that, another call came in, from a friend involved in a new startup.

“Bengt, I volunteered to be the one in the group to take care of the health insurance. Can you look into it for me?” he asked.

“Sure,” I answered, “I’ll do the work for you. And it doesn’t cost you anything extra!”

These are six guys on the other end of the cycle, with a big idea, full of hope, some angel financing already in, and working out of the founder’s home. While some companies are cutting back on health insurance, they are setting it up before they had even turned a profit.

Their big idea is to help people maximize the profitability of their websites (check them out at ). Since they already had become members of the Washington Technology Industry Association, I was able to get them a great deal for their health insurance through the employee benefit trust run by the WTIA. So now all these young guys have great health benefits and some life insurance as well.

With all the other challenges and changes they are facing to build their new startup, at least they have the peace of mind that having health and life insurance provides. I look forward to them doing great things in the near future!

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