By: Sherry L. Dale, CPA – Partner, The Mettise Group
What is SendaRide and how did it start?
The transportation barrier – a significant hurdle to accessing health care. Annually, seven million people do not receive medical care because they don’t have transportation to the hospital or doctor’s office. In addition, 43 million Americans care for a non-driving senior.
I co-founded SendaRide in 2016 to provide non-emergency medical transportation. As a healthcare attorney for over 20 years, I designed SendaRide for the healthcare industry with HIPAA compliant technology, understanding of the complexities of the regulatory environment and security features protecting the patients and providers.
SendaRide provides the technology to allow a hospital, provider, health plan, independent living center or family member to book-on-demand or scheduled transportation for someone who cannot do so themselves. We have a network of drivers that provide a concierge service for our riders. The drivers greet the rider/patient at their door – or hospital room – and escort them to their car. They also escort the rider safely inside their destination. Our drivers go above and beyond every day, making sure each rider feels safe and comfortable during their ride.
While the medical community uses our web-based client portal to schedule their transportation our individual customers use our App. We also recognized a significant need, based on our own experiences, for families to enable their loved ones to have safe transportation when they may be unavailable. Whether their children need a ride from school to extra-curricular activities or their elderly parents want to maintain their independence even though they are no longer driving, we provide a safe, affordable solution.
Our customers select their driver rather than having one assigned to them. Through the app the customer can “share” all of the ride details with anyone they choose. They can share it with the rider so they know exactly who is coming to pick them up, what they look like, what their car looks like and their license plate. They can send the details to their spouse or even their child’s school. Our most convincing safety feature by far is the ability for family members to activate the real-time audio/video inside the car interact with the passenger during the ride.
What are the growth plans for SendaRide?
We are currently contracting with hospitals, providers and health plans in Oklahoma City and Tulsa with plans to expand outside the state beginning in early 2018. The medical community has not had a customizable, affordable non-emergency medical transportation solution before that also ensures they are compliant with the complex framework of privacy laws and regulations governing the healthcare industry. Once we introduce our features to hospitals and providers they are genuinely delighted and relieved to have a viable solution. Our growth is limited only by how quickly we can present our solution to the healthcare industry!
Who is your ideal customer?
We have two ideal customers: individuals and businesses.
We have found a tremendous interest in SendaRide by individuals that are trying to manage a busy career and their family’s complex schedules. Many times, their children are going in different directions – and at different times – to sports, tutoring, music or dance lessons, etc. It is so difficult to ensure each child has the same opportunities when a parent is stretched in several directions. SendaRide allows the parents to manage their children’s transportation needs so they can experience life.
The “sandwich generation” is also an ideal customer for SendaRide. Many of our aging parents are non-driving seniors – but adamantly want to maintain their independence. It is very difficult to take our parent’s keys away. Having a viable alternative like SendaRide allows our parents to maintain their lifestyle with dignity and independence. For those of us with elderly parents that are in declining health, the multitude of doctors’ appointments can become overwhelming. This, too, is an opportunity for SendaRide to alleviate the stress of leaving the office to escort your parent to a medical appointment.
Lastly, providers, clinics and hospitals are also great partners for SendaRide. The medical community has not had a safe, efficient, affordable transportation provider that will not only bring their patients home from the hospital – but also make sure their patients can get to their appointments. Medical providers strive to keep their patients happy and healthy and integral to those two goals is the ability for patients to receive preventative care, follow-up care and therapies.
What do you love about what you do?
I have always been a “problem solver”. As an attorney and lobbyist, I have been able to tap into that talent for my clients. SendaRide has allowed me to solve problems on a much bigger scale. It is incredibly rewarding to know you created a company that is changing so many lives for the better.
Describe your recent experience at the Women’s Start Up Lab.
The Women’s Startup Lab is a life-changing opportunity granted to just twelve women from around the world. I was fortunate enough to be included as one of those women in Silicon Valley this summer. The lab is an intense, hands-on accelerator course that introduces female founders to the best of the best in Silicon Valley. We toured and learned from the founders and executives at companies like AirBnB, Evernote, LinkedIn, Apple, Match.com, Honest Company, NatureBox and Caring.com. We were paired with an Advisor from one of these companies or a Venture Fund to help us prepare our company for meetings with investors and navigate the complex ecosystem that is “Silicon Valley”.
The intense pressure of the course builds over two weeks and culminates in a “pitch event” the last day where each female founder is given 3 minutes on stage to pitch her company to over a hundred investors and then answer questions from professional panelists. It was definitely one of those “sliding-door” moments that forever changes the direction your life takes.
What advice would you give to a start up entrepreneur?
If you aren’t invested 100% don’t expect anyone else to be either.
Secondly, surround yourself with people smarter than you are. I have learned so much from those entrepreneurs who have gone before me. It is incredible how willing people are to be honest about what they did wrong and guide you in the right direction if you just ask.
Third, take advantage of companies that are designed to help entrepreneurs. For example, some attorneys will defer a portion of their legal costs for startups until they have received funding from investors. In addition, companies like The Mettise Group offer a one-stop source for most, if not all, of the critical functions you will need help with until you can hire full-time staff. I was able to contract with The Mettise group to provide CFO, Human Resources, Strategy and Operational resources. There is no way I would have been able to afford each of these individuals on their own but they are critical when expanding and explaining to investors who your team includes. The Mettise Group gives entrepreneurs the necessary clout, confidence and capability to move forward.
How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
At the Women’s Startup Lab I was asked to come up with one word that best described me. I chose resilient. Each one of us experiences circumstances in our lives that will break us or make us stronger. One of the precious liberties we each have is how we choose to respond to those circumstances. I have chosen throughout my life to find a way around any barrier put in front of me. It is interesting that my life path of breaking down barriers has led me to create a company that breaks down transportation barriers for others.
What is your favorite quote?
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. – Theodore Roosevelt
What was the worst job you ever had?
Beginning in high school I was committed to my passion of horseback riding. Many of my friends were fortunate to have private lessons. I wasn’t able to afford private lessons but one instructor gave me the opportunity to “earn” my lessons. In exchange for mucking stalls, cleaning tack and cooling down the horses in the unforgiving Texas heat, I was given one hour of private lessons each week. It was the worst job but it provided a great reward.
The Mettise Group (mettise.com) is a management consulting firm dedicated to helping high-growth entrepreneurial companies gain clarity and capacity around planning, execution, building high performance teams and financial resource management.