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Member Spotlight | Bridge Connector & David Wenger

on August 31, 2020 / by Nancy Dahlberg ,


Read Time 4 Minutes

Bridge Connector logo | Palm Beach Tech MemberBusiness: a healthcare integration platform-as-a-service

CEO: David Wenger

No. of employees: 165 (12 in Palm Beach Gardens)

Main offices: Nashville and Palm Beach Gardens

Funding: Raised $45.5 million in Venture Capital

Recent awards: Inc. 2020 Best Places to Work; Gartner 2020 Cool Vendors; Modern Healthcare 2020 Best Places to Work;  South Florida Business Journal’s 2020 Best Places to Work and 2019 H. Wayne Huizenga Startup Award.

Website: Bridgeconnector.co

 

Bridge Connector, the healthcare platform-as-a-service company founded in 2017 and born in Palm Beach County, now has 165 employees and services about 100 enterprise customers spanning some 750 sites across the U.S. The company has raised $45.5 million, including $25.5 million announced last week — yes, during a global pandemic.

David Wenger, Bridge Connector’s co-founder and CEO, makes hyper-growth look easy, but he has led the company through a number of strategic moves that have unleashed the growth, including properly scaling up talent by continuously bringing on additional roles and raising levels of expertise. “We’ve been really good at seeing the forest through the trees, so to speak, and overcoming any major issue that would prevent us from ultimately continuing to grow at the pace we’re growing now,” he said.

 

THE STORY

The story of Bridge Connector begins with a pitch competition at Palm Beach Tech in November of 2017, says Wenger. (Bridge Connector didn’t win. It still stings.) But shortly after that, Wenger raised the startup’s first round of funding and “it has been a rocket ship since then,” he said.

Bridge Connector provides a suite of vendor-agnostic integration solutions and a full-service delivery model, helping healthcare vendors, providers, and payers more easily share data between disparate systems, such as electronic health records or patient engagement solutions.

Palm Beach Gardens offices of Bridge Connector

“What we figured out is a way to build an integration in healthcare that is agnostic of specification – we can work with any type of vendor no matter how you expect to connect to it. And then, what we’ve created is a way to reuse the integration,” Wenger said. “On top of that, we’re a no-code platform. We’re in that new wave of technology vendors that are focusing on the business user rather than the engineer.”

The company moved its headquarters to Nashville, a healthcare hub, last year and recently expanded the offices there to 37,000 square feet to accommodate about 250 people. But Palm Beach Gardens will always be an important base for the company, Wenger said. Much of the company’s management team, including Wenger, work out of offices above The River House restaurant in Palm Beach Gardens. The company also recently hired a president who will also be working from Palm Beach Gardens. Wenger said South Florida Tech (formerly Palm Beach Tech) has been very supportive as the company has continued to grow. Even that 2017 pitch competition he didn’t win pushed him to push on harder.

 

KEY TO SUCCESS

A key to the company’s success has been its focus on scaling partnerships and creating an ecosystem of healthcare technology vendors.  About a year ago, the company made a strategic decision to focus on hospital vendors instead of hospitals or health systems. “Simultaneously we have created a technology here that we don’t view as another tool or another technology. We view it as a solution to a pain point for all health systems,” he said. Instead of hiring an engineering team to build an integration, they pay Bridge Connector a monthly recurring fee not to worry about it. “Our customers rely on both our people and our technology to help stand up their integrations.”

The result: Business grew 1,000% last year and has doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic, Wenger said. During the pandemic, the company has seen many additional use cases for Bridge Connector, from contactless check-ins and SMS appointment reminders to integrating telehealth visits directly into the EHR. Bridge Connector has hired 40 people since the pandemic started.

To be sure, fund-raising during a pandemic has been a major challenge. Originally planning to raise more than $25.5 million, Wenger met with 100 or so or the top VC firms in the country during the first 8 weeks of COVID, all remotely. Some were interested but a lot of them were just not doing deals. Bad timing.

So Bridge Connector decided to keep the round to its internal investors, which include the firm of former Public CEO Howard Jenkins, and pursue a larger round with top-tier VCs as soon as they can, Wenger said.

 

A DREAM TEAM

For now, Wenger said he couldn’t be happier with his dream team. “It’s because they truly love what they do and where they work. We’re lucky to have the level of talent that we have here.”

To entrepreneurs, he advises: “Stick with your guns and always believe in your idea, you’ll find someone eventually who also believes in it. Create a solid distribution strategy and your go-to-market segment early on. Focus on customer segmentation early on in the life cycle of being an entrepreneur. First, figure out what your ideal customer profile is… and figure out how to create a scalable pricing model that has a solution for any type of buyer that fits within that ideal customer profile.”

Why is your product better than everybody else? Have a good answer for that, Wenger advised, and as you scale proper financial modeling will be a key to success. “And ultimately, don’t be afraid to dream because it might just happen.”

Member Spotlight | Bridge Connector & David Wenger