When COVID-19 struck, Lauren and Greg Hanson found themselves weighing two options that could change their small family’s future: They could buy an RV and travel the country with their daughter, or start a business to expand on Greg’s side gig.
They chose the business. The result was flipMD, a marketplace for physicians to find consulting work as medical experts for startups and other health businesses. In less than two years, the Hansons sold flipMD to digital health company GoodRx for $7 million.
Pursuing their idea for flipMD may not have offered the same excitement as a road trip. But their quick path to selling has opened up even more opportunities for the Hansons.
How FlipMD went from idea to live marketplace in six weeks
The idea for flipMD came from Greg’s experience as a physician completing his residency, Lauren explained in a LinkedIn post. He had started doing medical consulting on the side so he could increase his income and help meet the family’s goals. Some of his gigs included ghostwriting medical articles and performing data analysis for new health technology companies.
Greg and Lauren wanted to bring that same opportunity to other doctors who wanted to make more money. In the U.S., the typical first-year medical resident has $200,000 in student loan debt and makes about $60,000, according to a 2022 survey by MedScape.
The couple started working on their idea in June 2020 and launched the platform in late July. Greg worked on sales and outreach, while Lauren, with a background in technology management and publishing, worked on the buildout, marketing, and customer service, she said on the Slice of Health Care podcast.
By October, flipMD had 850 physicians and about 30 employer clients signed up.
By February 2021, the marketplace boasted 2,000 physician users. They raised $100,000 that spring in a seed round to help them continue to build the platform.
“If we do not have the perfect physician for your project, I will go out and find them for you to work with,” Greg said at the time about his interaction with employer clients. “We use every job that gets posted to go out and recruit an additional 20-50 physicians that meet your specific criteria.” Gigs ranged from brand ambassador roles to testing new medical devices to serving as a medical expert witness in a legal case.
Clients who were successful on the platform, Greg told Med City News, tended to return for further consulting needs.
Each successful hire could bring in $7,000 to $25,000 in revenue for flipMD. The company was a major competitor to traditional recruiters because its fees were cheaper, Lauren told Med City News in summer 2022.
Selling the business created space for new passion projects
The Hansons didn’t expect to sell their new company so quickly. But when Greg pitched flipMD to an investment bank, he was surprised to learn they weren’t just interested in using the platform — they also had clients interested in buying flipMD.
The Hansons didn’t want to take the first offer they received, so Greg spent a few months in fall of 2021 contacting potential buyers he thought would be interested in what flipMD was doing. They received two offers within three hours on the same day, he recalled on the Doctors Building Wealth podcast, which gave them leverage to negotiate with the potential buyers.
They went with the offer from GoodRx, which acquired flipMD in February 2022 for $7 million in cash. GoodRx was founded in 2011 as a website and app to track prescription drug prices, and it has since expanded to offer telehealth services. The company went public in 2020.
Lauren stayed with the company and serves as head of product for flipMD. Since the sale, flipMD has added features to allow physicians to seek full-time employment in clinical and non-clinical roles. The platform has also expanded to serve large clients in pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and market research.
She also works on the Maternal Health Project, a think tank she started with a focus on advancing women’s health.
Greg finished his residency as the sale was being finalized. He stayed on as a director for eight months after flipMD got acquired, and now runs The Physician Syndicate, a physician-only angel investing syndicate.
Starting and selling a business was harder than taking that 2020 road trip would have been, Lauren wrote on LinkedIn. But selling flipMD “paved the way for new opportunities for us professionally and philanthropically, and it’s helped us to realize that we can do anything we set our minds to—and there is more to come, just wait,” she wrote.
The Hansons declined to comment for this story.