EPISODE 435

Creating Positive Social Impact As A Physician Entrepreneur - Dr. Navin Goyal, Co-founder of LOUD Capital

11-30-2023

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Shiv Gaglani: Hi, I'm Shiv Gaglani, welcoming you to the Raise the Line with Osmosis from Elsevier, an ongoing exploration about how to improve health and healthcare. 

 

Today's guest fits into one of my favorite categories of people: physician entrepreneur. We've talked before on the podcast about the overlapping qualities of drive, curiosity, and desire for impact that both share. That last trait is the core interest of my guest, Dr. Navin Goyal, who co-founded and manages Loud Capital, a purpose-driven investment firm that has raised and partnered in six funds with over seventy portfolio companies, some of which have been started within the organization. 

 

He's also the co-founder of OFFOR Health, a mobile healthcare company that provides care for children who face long waits at traditional medical systems. Dr. Goyal started his professional life as an anesthesiologist, so I'm curious to learn about his journey into venture capital, which he describes in his book, Physician Underdog.

 

So, Dr. Goyal, thanks for taking the time to be with us today.

 

Dr. Navin Goyal: Thank you for having me, Shiv. Appreciate it.

 

Shiv: For sure. I'd like to start by first asking you in your own words to describe what got you interested in a career in medicine and then ultimately anesthesiology.

 

Dr. Goyal: Yeah. I mean, I think growing up, we don't really know what we want to be, or we have this image of becoming something, and being an Indian American, physicians are top of mind when it comes to, ambition and trying for something. So, I think I fit in that category where I was like, “Hey, a doctor seems really cool. They help a lot of people. They seem very important and contribute to society. And it seems really challenging because that's all my parents are talking about.”

 

So, I studied hard and through a lot of help and a lot of studying, a lot of encouragement and support, I got into medical school. I tell a lot of kids this, that it's really stressful to try to figure out something that you have no idea what the career is like. So, fortunately, I did enjoy it and like it and it was challenging as heck, as many people will say. Eventually, I got exposed to anesthesiology early in my medical school rotations. I really liked physiology and pharmacology -- how the body functions and the various chemicals and pharmacokinetics and drugs that are out there that affect the function of our body -- and when I described that to a few folks about these subjects really interesting me, they suggested anesthesiology. 

 

Just like many of our first impressions where if you really connect with a teacher or connect with a role model in that industry, it presents a positive light, for anesthesiology, my mentor --who took me around for two weeks and taught me really reminded me of how much I don't know -- also reminded me of how much you can know as an anesthesiologist, and the fact that there were a lot of procedures to be done but behind those procedures, there was so much thought of ‘this can happen,’ ‘that can happen.’ 

So, I just got a really positive impression of the field that you do a lot, you think a lot and also there was a balance that this teacher had of a personal life as well. Those are kind of the things that were going through my head so I was fortunate enough to match into anesthesiology and became an anesthesiologist. 

 

Shiv: Yeah, that's awesome. A theme that continues to come up on the Raise the Line podcast is the importance of maybe that serendipitous encounter with a mentor who happened to be helpful and interesting and they had their stuff together in a way that made you want to maybe pursue that specialty too. Because I'm sure if you meet certain mentors, maybe they're having a bad month or three months or whatever it may be during a rotation and they aren't the best mentor, it can turn you off of a specialty. 

 

Do you want to comment more about mentorship? Because that's also something we're going to ask you about advice for students. How did you cultivate this relationship with your mentor, and have you kept in touch with them since then? 

 

Dr. Goyal: Yeah. So, I have not kept in touch, unfortunately. But when I did match into anesthesiology, I wrote him a letter and a note saying, “Thank you so much. You influenced me to go into this. I'm very happy and very proud, and you have a big part in that.” What I feel about mentorship is, again, I think it's so powerful and so I tell myself all the time and I tell a lot of other peers and colleagues that it's so important to mentor others. 

 

Number one, I think it reminds us of how much we have learned along this journey because I think a lot of us are in this routine where we just think, hey, are we really learning much? Are we doing much? But to a young high schooler or college student or whoever you are in your journey, you are that person you wanted to be. So, I think it's good for us as a reminder to ourselves as...let's call it responsible adults, but I also think these are the gifts we can give many people and influence many people. If we can lean towards what really lights us up as an individual, whether it's at work, personal or anything, and pass that on to someone, I mean, I think that's education. That's the real stuff that we don't really talk about. I didn't just tell you anything about really learning in the classroom. I talked to you about the people and my impression and how influential that was. That to me is the real experience in education that is so influential to minds. So, I absolutely believe in mentorship. I try to do it. I try to give

little tidbits to kids and adults and folks like that and I learn a lot as well.

 

Shiv: I'll just double click on what you said there and make sure our audience hears this message. I do think that the role of higher education institutions, whether it's a med school or business school or residency, is that connecting with other people because the content itself is fairly commoditized. We put hundreds of videos from Osmosis free on YouTube and so, the content you can learn and now with AI -- we'll talk about AI for sure, don't worry about that --there's so much more commoditization of this content. So, ultimately, it'll come down to the people you meet and build relationships with. 

 

So, let's get into your career transition going into entrepreneurship and investing. Was that always an interest of yours? Were you a med student who created things or clubs or how did you get into entrepreneurship and VC? 

 

xxxDr. Goyal: So, first of all, no. I was not that creative kid or curious kid. I was literally heads down thinking about, ‘I'm going to be a doctor and what do I need to do for that?’ I had tunnel vision and I tell folks that one of my regrets is I didn't ask enough questions about what other things were happening. I didn't ask people when they were in a different job what they did. So, I wasn't that curious kid. I never built a business. I wasn't that cool person who sold stuff in high school and always made money. None of that. 

 

And so, when I was practicing in anesthesiology -- I'm in Columbus, Ohio right now -- I joined a practice. After a couple years of your learning curve it's just stressful being on your own, you're still learning how to do things. You're learning a bunch of new names and people you're working with. After that, the learning curve went a little more flat. I started reading books because I had time now. I'm not studying for any boards. I'm not studying for anything for the next stage, which is interesting because I think my mind was molded to continuously learn and learn and then I was like, “Hey, I don't feel this crazy stress as much. I don't feel like I need to learn much more because I've learned so much of the field and I'm practicing it every day.” So, I started reading. 

 

I started getting curious and then had an opportunity to start a company with two other very close friends who are anesthesiologists that ended up being OFFOR Health. It's a mobile anesthesia company. So, it's enabling procedures in offices. The bread and butter of anesthesiology, we knew, but everything else around it -- the business, operation, structure, marketing, you name it -- we knew nothing. So, now it's like, ‘hey, we got this thing to try to learn,’ and so, slowly, I really appreciated entrepreneurship because it was really hard. It was challenging, but it was our own. 

 

It really, I think, enabled me to explore more, to read more about entrepreneurship. I was reading the Wall Street Journal every day anyways, and I started really paying attention to what entrepreneurs were doing and what they could do and impact, and I started becoming empowered as an individual: that you don't need to know everything, but if you start something, you can complement yourself with other people and other skills and other sources of knowledge. That's where I feel like my second career started brewing up, even though I didn't know that was happening at the time.

 

Shiv: Yeah, absolutely. That's a common theme we get on the podcast, too. We've had friends of mine like Justin Barad, who started Osso VR. He's a big surgeon. You may know him. And David Canes, a urologist, who started WellPrept, a patient education platform. When they were on the podcast, they described finding new life, new passion for their work, professional lives, as well as for medicine. I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I feel like OFFOR Health was probably born out of a problem that you experienced, the frustration that if you're experiencing that, there's three paths, really. You just deal with it and same old, same old; you just continue getting frustrated so you quit to stop exposing yourself to frustration, so you burn out, you're out of medicine; or you work to change it. Then, if you get some traction while you're changing it, like you have it OFFOR, then it can be very gratifying and doesn't feel like work. Does any of that resonate? Or are there other things you want to share about that experience?

 

Dr. Goyal: It does. And it's not one of those sexy categories, to be honest. It's not the “I woke up and said I wanted to take care of kids who have long waits and I want to solve that problem” because I didn't even know that problem existed. The truth is it was more of a cosmetic dentist who came up to us and said, “Could you do anesthesia for these high pain patients?” Okay, that's how it started. Now, I'm proud to say that because number one, that's the truth. That's what got us interested. 

 

Then as we started exploring -- one of my co-founders is a pediatric anesthesiologist -- he said, “You know, we can start here, but I can tell you there's a lot of kids who come into our dental surgery centers and they have long waits. We don't have enough staff or rooms to even support them. So I think there's a big thing here.” So that started getting incorporated into our minds and as we get excited and invest time and some capital and resources into it, we did feel that was coming and lo and behold, a year into it had an insurance company reach out; two years later, have an insurance pilot; and now we have over eighteen insurance companies we work with in five States. 

 

If you’re a four-year-old kid who has dental disease and you're on Medicaid, you have an average nine to twelve month wait to get into an operating room in this country, in the U.S. If you're in the city of Chicago, which we also service, you're waiting twenty-two to twenty-four months. So, our value proposition is we go into an office, and we enable that procedure within one month. The insurance companies save money because they're not paying for the high-cost centers of an operating room. And then we're taking care of them, and we found a for-profit model that supports the impact of kids. Then that kind of goes into where my head started going into, which is creating a business model that is socially impactful, taking care of a real problem, but it's for profit. Like, there's money to be made. There are investors who get excited. There are stakeholders that can get excited. 

 

That's what has shaped my lens of entrepreneurship, which is to build and invest in businesses that help me sleep well at night, which is really taking this experience from a physician perspective and all the great people that I work with -- all this high intellect, high ambition, high experience, and a lot of, let's say, capital that's sitting there on the side -- and problem solving for stuff that we care about. 

 

You know, I'm a father. I have two girls and, you know, I think we evolve as we get older on our legacy and what we really want to do in the world. Find that purpose. And that's the purpose that I've found is to drive impact for people inside my home and the people that I touch or don't even know about yet. Because I see a lot of capital and experience and time spent on businesses or things to just steal market share, or just get your attention and monetize that. Hey, I respect people who build successful businesses, but that just doesn't drive me, and it doesn't drive the people that I work with.

 

Shiv: Yeah, no, absolutely. The passion is evident in your voice. So, we'll definitely click on LOUD Capital next, but on OFFOR Health, thanks for sharing the origin story. I think that's important for people to hear because a lot of people have this glamorized view of entrepreneurship that someone had that epiphany moment and their vision was like large companies like Airbnb and Uber now, but the vision is oftentimes much smaller, a much more personal problem. Then as the company seeks product market fit, and as the market itself changes, you shape a new vision.

 

Like in our experience with Osmosis, we were just trying to build a product for my classmates and myself at Hopkins med, you know, make med school more efficient, more active learning. It was only over a couple of years of working on it and getting more and more traction that then the Khan Academy medicine team joined us, and then we started building these videos that replaced a lot of lectures. And then we went from Hopkins med students, which are very specific audience, to now a global audience of nursing, PA, pharmacy, dentistry, and now even patients. So, the vision changes over time as it seems to have with OFFOR. 

 

And one other thing on that is I didn't make the Chicago dental practice connection at first, but two other guests we had on the podcast were my sister, Dr. Anushka Gaglani, and her husband, Dr. Abhishek Nagaraj, who have six dental practices in Chicago and Indiana and they could be a really good connection, which I'll make sure to make after this podcast to see if that could be a good collaboration at some point. 

 

Dr. Goyal: Oh, that's great. No, yeah. Always making connections, even on a show. Of course.

 

Shiv: So, let's talk about LOUD Capital. You do a lot of these investments. I mentioned in the introduction, you've partnered with six funds, over seventy portfolio companies. Tell us about the origin story of LOUD, what sets you apart and then maybe some of the investments you want to share with our audience that gets you most excited right now. 

 

Dr. Goyal: Yeah. So, as this entrepreneurial journey is building and OFFOR Health is growing, I continued to invest personally in some companies. I was an angel investor a few years into working my real job as an anesthesiologist, so I got exposed to various entrepreneurs, which were very inspiring to me. You know, for people to leave a place of comfort and pursue a passion or a higher purpose, to really go all the way and put everything into it - that's inspiring to me. 

 

It was very foreign to me because if you think about the physician journey, which is challenging in itself, it's kind of quite the opposite. If you can get into the structured model, you are kind of mitigating risks and being a thought leader and an expert in a certain field. As an entrepreneur, number one, you're never an expert. You're always humbled -- although in the physician world, you're humbled many times as well -- but it's just the wild West. 

 

So, I started investing. We co-founded this company and so suddenly people were asking me at work and beyond, “Hey, Navin, number one, all you're doing is talking about this other stuff. You're not talking about work anymore, you light up. You're very excited about it. Let me know if I can invest in the space or if there's any deals you're seeing.” I said, “Absolutely. Here's a couple of deals I invested in. I can introduce you to this person, blah, blah, blah.” I started doing that. And eventually people were like, “No, actually, I'm not really that interested in it. Or can I just park some capital with you, and you figure it out?” 

 

And I never thought about that because initially I was just “here you go,” you know, and that's when we started an angel fund. This was in 2015. My co-founder of LOUD Capital is a serial entrepreneur and me and him are just collectively a great team, and so we started an angel fund and that angel fund became a few funds. 

 

A few years later, there was some emerging fund managers who said, “We love what you're doing. We see that you have a brand and a philosophy that's more of a firm, not just a fund. So could we do this with you?” And so that kind of explains why we have multiple funds, but in the end, our thesis is kind of continuing what I said on a social impact...like a true purpose in the company. I think the word purpose gets thrown around a lot, so purpose is maybe too broad, but a purpose that does end up with a social impactful outcome. So, that's the main focus that at least checks a box that, “Hey, we're going to look into this because we care.” It's all about caring and being motivated. 

 

If you have a team that sees this amazing company that you can predict and say it's going to yield ten times your money in one year, that's great. That's exciting. Okay. That's cool. Adventure. Yeah, sure. But if there's really not a purpose behind that, I can tell you, I don't get that excited. There's a lot of deals that come on the table that I don't get that excited about and I don't think my team members will either. We wouldn't probably go into that because we don't feel energized and supportive of that because we are very personal people. We like to know the founders and team members, and we're very entrepreneurial and I think that's also a commonly used word, but I will tell you in the venture capital industry and the venture space, there's a broad array of people, but a lot of folks with financial backgrounds, some of whom have not started a company or been part of a growth company. So, I feel like there's a bit of a lack of experience and a lack of empathy when investments occur. 

 

So, here's an investment. I can be helpful in this bucket, but not necessarily in these buckets and I'm not sure why there's so much attention being paid towards this when we're

trying to grow this company. Well, guess what? The company incorporates so many things, right? From a lot of these soft skills of culture, and people development, leadership development, talent retention. I just think there's just so many things that are not discussed in the venture world. So we try to incorporate a more comprehensive model where you invest because we're interested in so many things. 

 

Then post investment is the opportunity to be able to help refer or network. I know that was a lot, but obviously you can tell I think about this a lot. 

 

Shiv: No, it's awesome and a really cool backstory of how you got started. We've had a lot of physicians in our story. There was a group of investors that were really close with FundRX -- Zeshan Muhammedi and Gurdane Bhutani who now are MBX Capital -- but they had basically a syndicate of a lot of physicians who would invest in companies and we had several. We had an orthopedic surgeon, Veronica Diaz, we had a dermatologist, we had neurosurgeon, Jordan Grable, all invest in us early on and help shape the product too, which was a kind of a cool, cool thing. 

 

So LOUD Capital has been through several funds. You've made a ton of investments as mentioned, over seventy. I'd love to hear right now, what's a recent investment that gets you excited that you maybe want to plug with our audience? We also have a lot of people who listen to this podcast who are med students turned entrepreneurs or they are physicians who are interested in this space. You know, if they were to pitch you, what are you looking for?

 

Dr. Goyal: Yeah. So, we are industry agnostic. We have a very heavy healthcare focus, but we have invested in multiple things. One of them is a hydrogen technology called Hyperion Motors. A quick story there, the entrepreneur came up to us several years ago and said, “I have a design of various technologies that I'm going to integrate, and I'm going to build a car that goes a thousand miles on one charge.” After we laughed for like, ten minutes, we listened for a while. A few of us actually angel invested in it and a year, two years later, we invested from one of our funds. A few years ago, he made it happen: 1,017 miles on one charge. It's compressed hydrogen. 

 

If you know Supercar Blondie, who reviews a lot of cars... there was a big awards show out in LA, and that car was driven by her to the award ceremony. So, we've kind of seen it truly from seed to actually a product. And now there's a lot of great excitement around it. Not only is hydrogen energy just a next level of the electrical car economy, but there's a lot of excitement on the technology and on the ways to apply it for trucking, commercial and all these kinds of different aspects. That's one. 

 

Two, going into healthcare, is Medzoomer based out of Tampa, Florida. It's essentially an Uber-esque model for prescription drugs. One of the co-founders was an athlete who had back surgery and didn't have anyone around him at the time, so had to Uber it to the pharmacy and wait in line for his pain medication. He has created a company that would serve him and so many people who don't have access to medications that they need because of logistics, because of access...all these things. They're getting a lot of traction. 

 

But what excites me as a co-founder of OFFOR Health looking at Medzoomer or looking at all these things is one thing I've realized is so many people do not have access to things that I take for granted. Whether we're talking about prescription medications, we're talking about internet, electricity, safe environment, or clean water. We've heard about these, but truly here in the United States, there are so many people who don't have access to things that I take for granted. If you can help solve that problem -- and that doesn't mean you just build a technology platform and you want people to jump on it because some people don't have access to electricity or WIFI to get on your platform -- then I get excited.

 

Shiv: That's awesome. That's really cool. Again, the motivation is so clear in your voice. And so I'm curious...we've had some other people on the podcast who are med students or physicians turned VC as well or entrepreneurs. A couple of examples: Morgan Cheatham, who you may know, he's a fellow med student and friend of mine who's at Bessemer; and another good friend from Hopkins, Robert Lord, is doing I think a second year of emergency medicine residency at Hopkins, but works out of LionBird VC. What are some of the commonalities that make you a good physician and a good VC or investor or entrepreneur? Any commonalities? But then also some differences. One of which I'll share is generally risk aversion, right? Generally the culture of medicine is one of being risk averse. A lot of people go into medicine because it's recession proof and it's a great career, so to take time to build a company while being a med student or physician is a very risky proposition generally. So, that's typically where that tends to break, I find, but yeah, what are some similarities and differences in your opinion between these different hats? 

 

Dr. Goyal: Yeah. Number one, the risk aversion gene I never got because I do not act like, I would say, what you described as traditional physicians with being risk averse and going down this pathway. I think the field further makes you risk averse because you see all these things and you become an expert. And then you realize, “Hey, if I go in this world, I'm not even close to an expert. So should I even start? Should I even try?” I mean, that's one of the biggest things is to unlearn the expectation of being an expert somewhere because medicine is one of the few fields where you have to be an expert, but most of the world is not like that and I think that's a truth that many don't know. I didn't have much to unlearn because I, again, I don't think I have that gene, which is interesting upon reflection.

 

Number two, I think there's an ethical component. I always like to talk about, you know, you train so hard and it's really about the people in front of you, almost to a fault. You can talk about the business of medicine and billing and all these things, but in the end, there's a sick patient that shows up in front of me, boom, boom, boom. So, taking care of people and I think that ethical foundation is really healthy to bring into an investment industry and an industry where you're dealing with a lot of people. People could use that reminder of let's just make sure we're taking care of people. 

 

Then in healthcare -- and it took me a little while to realize this -- how much of an opportunity there is to do way better job at preventative treatment, access, you name it. I think as a physician you see that. I think a lot of med students, physicians, people in the space, they're in the hospitals and they're like, “Why?” You know, if you just put a little bit of curiosity in your brain, you start asking, “Why do we do this? Why?” 

 

And then you look at the antiquated culture. I mean, there are so many things. I'm a pretty optimistic person, but healthcare is really behind the times in so many ways and I think you have a group of ambitious, intelligent people in the medical field who are now looking with that curiosity, hopefully feeling a little bit empowered and taking that curiosity and saying, let's move forward on some ideas. That's what I think we're seeing. I see a lot more people reaching out with their ideas and just being out there. I'm really proud because I think more physicians in leadership positions, more physicians, starting, co-founding, or being parts of different industries is something I really think can benefit people because it's very rare to have this ethos. How many fields take the Hippocratic oath? “First, do no harm.” I bring that up a lot. If you start out every conversation and every decision with ‘first, do no harm’ I think we'd be a lot better off. I don't think that even enters people's mind. 

 

So anyways, I obviously feel very proud to be a physician and proud to see so many others contribute in various ways. 

 

Shiv: Wow. Incredible. Really good notes there. One thing I wanted to cover, too, is your book, Physician Underdog and a newsletter called Underdog for Good. Can you tell us a bit about why you chose the term ‘underdog’ and what some of the core lessons are? We’ll definitely drop info in the show notes so people can get your book and subscribe to the newsletter, but tell us more about the origin of that and what you're trying to accomplish with both. 

 

Dr. Goyal: Yeah, thank you. It's really, really become important to me. The underdog story, which is, you know, someone who's bet against someone who's expected to lose. So, the reason I named my book Physician Underdog is because, as I told you, growing up wanting to be a doctor, it wasn't easy. I became one and then suddenly, after a couple of years of being an anesthesiologist, I was getting bored. That's another reason why I think I went towards entrepreneurship, I was getting bored. I was like, I did everything I was supposed to. It was so hard to get through this training and here I am lacking some fulfillment. I was getting bored. I was making the money that I wanted to, I was doing really well...but that just didn't seem enough. 

 

Then I started to talk to other people who were getting a little bit bored. They seemed disappointed. I was telling you about the antiquated culture. I was disappointed. I said, “Why do I feel like an underdog? My voice is not really being heard. I should be able to pick my day and something to create fulfillment, but I'm not getting it. So, what did I do wrong?” And so I felt like an underdog. I felt it was important for non-physicians or people who don't know the field very well, to know that a lot of physicians feel like underdogs. They're supposedly at top of a ladder of some sort -- an academic ladder and expertise ladder. It just helps to bring up the fact that we should be able to empathize with each other, no matter what level, skill set, education, where you are in life, wealth...you name it, everyone is undergoing their own adversity of feeling like an underdog. 

 

So, I love using the word underdog because my goal is for us to be able to bring up our true vulnerabilities and adversities in a very safe way. When I talk about underdogs, I think every single person has an underdog. Someone might say, “Well, that celebrity isn't.” Well, there's a really good chance they are, and more and more people are talking about their mental health and their issues, which is great. I think we should continue doing that. 

 

We should teach our kids to talk about our vulnerabilities, not as a weakness, but really as a strength, and then talk about how we moved forward. “Hey, this happened... I started this company and it failed. But I'm here today because I learned so many lessons. So, now I can talk about the failure of my company.” And so the name of the book was Physician Underdog, which is the story that I wrote, which is still continuing to be written. 

 

The newsletter is called Underdog for Good, with the same philosophy of saying, number one, I'm an underdog for good, like forever. And number two, the adversity that I underwent and am undergoing currently, still has many learnings and silver linings that are positive. It's good. This is not bad. I got beaten up in my startup last month, it hurts still, but there's going to be a point where I can tell everybody about it and tell you that I'm here, I'm rising taller, and I've learned a lot. So, that's my newsletter. It's on LinkedIn and I have a subscription, etc. I have actually a show coming out with Underdog for Good, that's going to be interviewing various people to bring out the adversity. 

 

So, I really want to push the pedal on underdogs and I want everyone to be able to bring their adversity and vulnerabilities to the table. I think that really brings us to more connections, and also takes away these high stages that just seems so far away for many of us who think someone who's in this limelight is not like us. It's in fact, the opposite, you know? Can you tell I can talk about this forever?

 

Shiv: Well, we'll definitely recommend it. I love the term underdog, especially because what you said really resonated....about taking your vulnerabilities, your weaknesses and turning those into sources of strength and connection. I had a great interview with Charles Lockwood, the dean of University of South Florida School of Medicine, who also is a big fan of stoicism, as I'm sure you and many of our other guests are. I think there's a big difference between being an underdog and having the underdog mentality and something that's become a little more popular in recent years which is the victim mentality where you use vulnerability or weakness as a crutch for not achieving what you need to achieve. 

 

Dr. Goyal: Yeah, absolutely.

 

Shiv: Awesome. Well, you know, one thing is very clear from the work you've done is that you like to help. In fact, you like to help other physicians or med students or people on this path, get other non-clinical side gigs, go through courses, get credentials. Talk to us a bit about that. We started off with your mentor getting you to anesthesiology...what are some of the things you're doing to help mentor other physicians or students and get them involved in non-clinical opportunities, too?

 

Dr. Goyal: Yeah. So one of the biggest questions I get is how the heck did you end up in VC? Like, you're an anesthesiologist, so tell me your story. So, I wrote the book because I was describing the story so much, and the book has the whole kind of story. But then it's like, well, I don't know, I don't necessarily have something for you. I can tell you the story. What do I do? So, two years ago, I co-founded a company called Beyond Physician, which is essentially a learning management system that has third party credentials in an active marketplace. 

 

So, let's say I'm a physician. I love my job, but I would love to do some different things. How do I learn the skills to do this? And let's say I want to consult for industry. I want to consult for pharma because I get calls all the time, but they said I should have some experience. How do I learn how to consult? Okay, so imagine now you go to Beyond Physician, you grab a couple

courses that say this is how you consult for this specific industry. You do that, you get credentials. So now, hey, I know some knowledge of how to consult and then you apply in the marketplace for saying I'm available. I'm this rheumatologist in this state and I'm open for gigs. 

 

There's plenty of pharma companies, and I would say industry in general, that would love to plug in the brains of many physicians to get input, to get perspective, thoughts...all these things, which again, for me is empowering more physicians and those folks can get a gig. Now what you've started is a whole trajectory. Our taglines are “Learn, Earn and Grow.” And so now what you're doing is you're fulfilling your own personal development journey and that's what I like to give to people. It's what I talked to my kids about...just get on this journey to learn and just be a sponge and be curious. You'll be fulfilled. You'll learn a ton and who knows at the end of this journey, you might be in a completely new career, or you just might be in ten different things that are perfect for all, you know, sources of inspiration and motivation that you have. So that's what I like. 

 

I'm basically involved in things where people are seeking help and I can't help them right then. Then I say, “What can be done here?” And I feel like those are the steps I've been taking, slowly. 

 

Shiv: Beyond Physician...I love the title, and it’s certainly something we will also send our audience to check out. I want to be respectful of your time, so I only had two other questions. The first you've sort of covered in and out without even me asking, but just generally, what advice would you give to our audience, mostly early-stage healthcare professionals, about approaching their careers in healthcare, entrepreneurship and beyond?

 

Dr. Goyal: I would say there is a lot of opportunity in healthcare to really impact with your experience and your mind and so for those who are early in their journey, you're going to hit a lot of obstacles, you're going to have a lot of people say you can't do it, or maybe you shouldn't, or it's very complex. With my first venture, OFFOR Health, it was starting on the outside and influencing the healthcare system, and sometimes you need to go outside to influence the end. Don't always think about building or going along your journey within this healthcare system. So, that's one thing. 

 

Then number two, there are more people that struggle in their entrepreneurial journey than I ever imagined, and I'm privy to a lot of private circles and conversations in my own portfolio companies and in my own founder experiences. When we see someone who just exited a company, got acquired, raised a bunch of capital... there are so many things that happened up till then: lights were about to get shut out; they couldn't do payroll. Even for OFFOR Health,

I will openly admit there was three or four times in the first couple of years when we came together and we said, “Should we continue? Should we close down? It's so slow right now.”

 

So, just remember, it is absolutely not a straight line for anyone and if that's the case, you either don't know the full picture, they don't feel comfortable talking about it, or they truly are one in a billion and so why do we need to pay attention to that?

 

Shiv: Wow. I love both those pieces of advice, having left med school to help improve medical education and come back. The second is, yeah, absolutely...a lot of what you see on LinkedIn or Instagram are the people's highlight reels when you don't even see their blooper reels and there's a lot more bloopers than our highlights, I think. 

 

Dr. Goyal: Yes, exactly. 

 

Shiv: My last question for you is...we've obviously had a wide-ranging conversation. Is there anything else you want to share with our audience before we let you go? 

 

Dr. Goyal: I have been focusing a lot lately on my own and other people's mental health and lately, I've been thinking about just health in general. We all focus a lot of times on physical health -- we go to the gym, fitness, etc -- because we can see it, we can feel it. I feel like the mental health aspect is really the core of health. So lately, I've been thinking -- this might be very obvious Shiv, so I apologize if it's, you know, too elementary -- but by focusing on our mind and our mental health, that is the core that gives us the opportunity to be even healthy physically. 

 

That might be very common sense, but it really just clicked for me. And so by working on our mind, strength, even learning, anticipation of change...other things fall in place. I just feel like a lot of us have been going backwards, where we start on the end of it, the physical aspect, and we don't take care of our mind. So, I just wanted to leave that with you. If you focus on your mind every day, little tidbits -- and this is what I write about, this is what I post about daily -- other things have a better chance to fall in place. I'm not saying focus on your mind and sit on the couch and eat chips all day. But don't ignore your mind, because that's where it all starts and that's where we can learn, be fulfilled and be productive, and I think we're all wanting that.

 

Shiv: Yeah, absolutely. It's a very important theme that we've tried covering. We just had Dr. Josh Gordon, the head of the NIMH on the podcast as well. 

 

Dr. Goyal: Yeah. I saw that, that’s awesome.

 

Shiv: And so big passion of mine, too. I think our audience would do well listening to you on everything you've said here, in particular, that point. I want to thank you for joining us on the Raise the Line podcast, but more importantly, for the work that you've done both individually to help so many patients as an anesthesiologist, but then also to help so many entrepreneurs, especially those in healthcare, to do good by being underdogs as well. So, thanks, Navin. 

 

Dr. Goyal: Thank you for having me. Thanks for what you're doing. Appreciate it. 

 

Shiv: Totally. Thank you. And with that, I'm Shiv Gaglani. Thanks to our audience for checking out today's show, and remember to do your part to raise the line and strengthen our

healthcare system. We're all in this together. Take care.