Howdy friends! I'm Spiffy, your interplanetary journalist bringing you stories of courageous entrepreneurs from Planet Earth. Today, I bring to you my chat with Jo Schneier (he/him), Founder & CEO of Trusty.care.
SPIFFY: Hi Jo, I’ve heard a lot about you! What challenges are you addressing on Planet Earth?
Jo: First, thanks for having me Spiffy. For the last 20 years, I have been lucky to have been able to participate in solving complex problems we face as a society in the education, future of work, and healthcare sectors.
SPIFFY: You’ve made the most of two decades! I hear you’ve started a company recently. Could you talk about that?
Jo: Two years ago, I founded Trusty.care, a company focused on solving the second largest expense in retirement – out of pocket healthcare costs. What gets me up in the morning is contributing to making the world a little more decent for the average person.
SPIFFY: And what motivated you to take up the challenge of healthcare costs?
Jo: Four years ago my brother was in a car accident and he didn't have health insurance. When I first saw him in the ICU, the fact that cost was one of the first things that went through my mind killed me. He didn't have insurance and experiencing what that kind of risk can be like was terrifying. It is my goal to reduce that risk for vulnerable populations, like older adults and the chronically ill.
SPIFFY: Sorry to hear that you and your family had to go through that experience. Tell me how are you using it and your startup to build a more equitable Planet Earth?
Jo: Older adults, pre-COVID-19, were the most at-risk population for going through bankruptcy and healthcare costs contribute over 70% of those bankruptcies. At Trusty, we realized we could make a sizable dent in that problem by making sure people have the right coverage to adequately cover their health needs. We also realized there are hundreds of thousands of brokers that could be empowered to provide better information. So we are bridging that gap with a data-driven platform that also helps brokers.
SPIFFY: I’m glad there are smart humans like you working on this. So, what's a recent benchmark for your company?
Jo: We launched our broker product as a commercial product in the market two months ago and we are already reaching over 4000 lives. By the end of 2020, we project that our platform will touch at least 500,000 older adults. Each one of them will be measurably impacted by using our product.
SPIFFY: That’s a lot of people!
What about an experience where you faced failure and didn't give up? How did you learn from it and come out stronger?
Jo: Pre-COVID-19 we turned down a term-sheet that would have financed the company but really crushed our early investors. I lined up a seed-extension and then COVID-19 hit and every investor walked away from the table in one week. That weekend I had to call each employee to tell them that we needed to reduce their salary. It was frankly one of the hardest days of my life. The next week I realized that no one was coming to save us and if we want to make this company work we needed to make it happen. We were able to raise enough for 18 months, but I really learned how important it was that the team was in it for the right reasons. It was tough, we were stressed, but they all stuck it out. I also learned that current investors are on your team and that you can lean on them in those moments.
Image Courtesy of: Jo Schneier
SPIFFY: That's beautiful, y’all made it work together. :’) Is there anything unexpected you’ve learned from someone recently?
Jo: It shouldn’t be a surprise! :) My wife is smarter, kinder, and more ambitious than I could ever hope to be! I learn something from her every single day, but the main thing I have learned from her is what it truly means for someone to have your back.
Also, come to think of it! At work today, I learned something unexpected from a call with one of the heads of US Bank – you should always design for edge-cases, for the complex customer. It was a revelation.
SPIFFY: Of course! When you design for the edge case, everyone benefits. Thanks for a great conversation, Jo!
Jo: Any time, Spiffy, talk soon!
Joseph Schneier is a serial entrepreneur who exited two companies in the educational technology space. In 2013, he co-founded Cognotion – a company focused on solving the talent shortage of healthcare workers. In 2018, Mr. Schneier founded Trusty.care, an insurtech company for the retiree population. Mr. Schneier sits on the board of Superbia Credit Union, an LGBTQ credit union, and the advisory board of Stonewall Community Development Corporation, a non-profit focused on LGBTQ senior housing. (Nominated for Spiffy's interview by: Gaingels)
Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse stories with the mission to inspire kids and youth around the world to become entrepreneurs with empathy. This series features interviews of inspiring founders by our very own Spiffy to introduce young readers to innovation, inclusion and entrepreneurship. Check out Spiffy's tales from Planet Earth and other planets HERE.