#FounderFeature w/ Heather Holmes, Founder + CEO of Genivity
I’ve been building my company, Genivity, for several years now. Being an entrepreneur is tough and rewarding, but completely worth the journey when the end result is a solid plan for a person to live a longer, healthier life. At Genivity, we help make sure that no one runs out of money in retirement due to the number one cause of bankruptcy, and the biggest expense later in life – health care and elder care. Our technology is really user-friendly and helps people understand how lifestyle and overall health factor into their financial wellbeing.
The idea for the company came to me when I was working in a hospital and was called in for a procedure. One day, we had a tough case that according to the doctor wasn’t looking good. After what seemed like a successful procedure, the patient’s pressure started dropping, and as it turned out, there was a lot of bleeding that we could not stop. The patient died as I was standing right there. As I was leaving the hospital, I walked past the patient’s family who were still unaware that their loved one had died. I remember all their legs and feet, and remember thinking the condition had a very strong family history component to it, which meant some of the family members had the same condition.
The patient was there because of a treatable disease if you know what you’re dealing with. Sometimes family members don’t know they are at risk of a similar outcome, so they can’t adequately plan for anything. This is where the idea of Genivity began.
We spent the first several years developing algorithms for the platform and we worked with with a lot of consumers. Then we started focusing on selling the software in the financial services space, so now our customers are financial advisors or independent financial advisory firms. Those clients use our software directly with their clients to better plan for their retirements.
We put a lot of thought into the client experience and a top requirement was that it had to be something that anyone could easily engage with and understand. It’s designed to be consumer facing and extremely user-friendly. We’re talking about a lot of serious topics like lifestyle choices and health history, but we don’t think these topics need to be scary. We add in levity where it’s appropriate through tone and design. We tie in every question to an explanation so the clients know we’re working to educate, not just collect data. Once a person inputs their information, we are then able to forecast longevity, how many healthy “go-go” years they have to look forward to and potential “slow-go” years later in life. From there we’re able to personalize how much money they need to save to achieve their financial goals. Clients can see how making lifestyle changes like adding in exercise or eating more fruits and vegetables will help them optimize their health an d add years to their lives, with the bonus of reducing health care expenses in their later years.
We do two things once the client is finished inputting information. We give the client an interactive snapshot of their results so that they see their results, but the meat of our analysis with the financial projections goes right to their financial advisor so they can sit down and help their clients plan for longevity.
When I heard about The Venture Center and the FIS Fintech Accelerator, I knew it was something that would be beneficial to Genivity. Being in Little Rock has been great, and I can’t believe it’s almost coming to a close. Being around other entrepreneurs is inspiring, and has driven home for me that the hardest part about all of this is just getting started. I know that it’s hard to take the risk, but if you don’t really know what to do you’ll figure it out. There are so many great places out there that are resources for entrepreneurs getting started, places like The Venture Center. I only wish I had started sooner!