Coachfrog – enabling democracy in the secondary healthcare market

Interview with Kathrin Lehner, the founder of Coachfrog

At SEIF we have the privilege of getting to know many dynamic entrepreneurs who are creating change, and we follow and support them during various phases of their entrepreneurship journeys. Kathrin from Coachfrog is an inspiring and driven entrepreneur, and we got to know her in 2014 when she participated in SEIF’s business creation course. We have supported the development of her enterprise Coachfrog from its early conception.

Coachfrog is an online platform that helps people to find the right practitioner for their individual health concerns in the secondary healthcare market. Through informative profiles, customers get an idea of who can help them, choose the right practitioners and contact them. At the same time, practitioners profit by more online presence, new customers and an easy administration tool. Kathrin studied political sciences at Zurich University, and one of her main interests during her studies was the question around how to make the healthcare system more efficient. After graduating, she spent two years in product management and marketing, but continued to think about ways to improve the healthcare system for general public in Switzerland:

Much later, at a triggering case, I wondered why there was no kind of a Tripadvisor in the therapy market which supports customers actively finding the right practitioner.

Kathrin and her team believe in the democratization of the healthcare system. They want consumers to be able to move to the center of their personal healthcare decisions, and Coachfrog aims to enable them to decide for themselves which kind of treatment they want to pursue.

We interviewed Kathrin to find out more about her journey, and what challenges she faced along the way.

What first steps did you take when you had the idea to start Coachfrog?

In 2014, we made some first efforts – today I would describe this as a learning phase. The idea and the vision we had were the reasons why I quit my job. SEIF believed in us from the very beginning, and their business creation course helped us to create a first draft of our business plan.

What were your next steps after the initial idea was in place?

In 2015, we wrote the real business plan and started to push our prototype of the online platform. In summer 2015, we created a new website based on our experience from the market feedback and exchange we had with multiple practitioners. We’ve strengthened our team, found investors and have proven our business model. At SEIF we did the corporate coaching program with UBS and PwC; eventually, we received the SEIF label.

Did you have trouble finding co-founders, partners and employees?

It took time to find the right people who are deeply passionate and committed to the project and who have a lot of experience that pushes the project into the right direction. Now, we have a highly engaged core-team of 4 people: a CTO with longtime IT experience, a young ambitious doctor, a marketing professional and data specialist and me.

Is it a hard decision to give away part of the responsibility of the business? Do you find that difficult?

No. I like to be in a team and have visionary people around me. But it’s important to be on the same level and give the same input and energy into the project.

Are you looking for investors now?

We are closing our first investment round by the end of March, and we are in touch with potential investors in prospect for our next round.

Where are you now, and what will you be focusing on during the next months?

We have a solid and good product for the practitioners, and we just doubled our traffic as well as customers conversions in the last month. Now, we need to continue to increase our traffic and build a strong sales team. As soon as we have reached certain milestones, we will focus on our expansion plans.

What are the main drivers for you to build this business?

In today’s population, chronic diseases as well as stress related health problems are increasing. These people often have a long healthcare journey behind them. At the same time, awareness of health and prevention is changing. People want to decide for themselves how to solve their problems: they pay attention to quality and other criteria, also for their health concerns. The market provides, alone in German speaking Europe, over 500’000 qualified practitioners and grows over 4% every year. With Coachfrog we help people to get access to a great variety of different solutions for their health concerns. So, one of the main drivers is to strengthen personal responsibility and to raise awareness of an integrated approach to health.

How do you help people to make their choice?

We provide a big network of qualified therapists, coaches and trainers and support people actively and personally to guide them to the right one. Furthermore, we provide transparent information about which practitioners are able to address a particular problem and what kind of treatments they provide. Therefore, customers can rate their experience with practitioners and endorse individual treatment fields and methods online and in public. In addition, we share people’s individual cases with our practitioner pool and ask for expert opinions. Just yesterday, we helped a man with a rare disease and a painful long medical journey to locate an alternative way of a possible treatment – his word of thankfulness is exactly what motivates us to keep on pushing every day.

Seif thanks Kathrin for taking the time to sit with us for this interview, and we with Coachfrog success with their future growth. Would you like more information about SEIF’s business creation course, impact boost program, or impact investment readiness program? Contact us at info@SEIF.org.