Talent Acquisition April 20, 2022
Talent Acquisition April 20, 2022

10 Questions with Kyle Talcott, CEO of UpLift

Welcome to our first post from the “10 Questions with Redesign Health CEOs” series, where we talk to CEOs of companies built at Redesign Health to learn about their experience building and scaling a healthcare business.

Aligning with Mental Health Awareness Month, our first conversation is with Kyle Talcott, Co-Founder and CEO of UpLift, a company that seeks to create more accessible, high-quality mental health care in the US by solving pain points for both patients and providers. Learn more about UpLift and other Redesign Health Operating Companies here.

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UpLift’s goal is twofold. For patients: to make it easy and cost-effective to receive the professional care they need, because finding a therapist who is accepting new patients, in-network, and someone with whom a patient connects should not be impossible. And for therapists and psychiatrists who are small business owners: to make connecting with insurance providers and clients more convenient.

  • 1. What does redesigning health mean to you?

    It’s cliche to say the healthcare system is broken, but it’s also the best way to describe it. Redesigning health is an exciting challenge because healthcare is so complex, so we have to solve the actual pain points of both patients and providers. At UpLift, that means restructuring the system for providers to stay independent and continue to accept cash payments and take on clients who are in-network with payors. For patients, it’s solving the problem of finding an in-network therapist that they feel they mesh well with. As we grow, it’s essential to sustain our mission and vision; a crucial part of that is looking forward and building today what we’ll need tomorrow.

  • 2. What role does curiosity play in innovation?

    Curiosity is the key to success in building a healthcare company. A lot of people try to lean on experience. Without genuine curiosity and a desire to learn new things, I think you only know surface-level information, while the healthcare space is so deep and so expansive. If you have an appetite for learning, you can understand why something is the way it is, which is the first step in thinking about redesigning it to make more sense. And sometimes, the answer is that you can’t do that from your position within the industry.

  • 3. What is the most crucial decision you made in the first 100 days of your company?

    Well, after figuring out the business idea, there’s just only so much you can learn through interviews and talking to experts. So we decided just to start calling providers. On our second day, we ended up contracting with a provider. And at that point, we didn’t have anything else together. But once you have a provider, you can apply for a health plan contract, which is a three to four-month process. Walking through the steps helps to unblock the next steps. It was an incredible learning experience.

  • 4. What’s the most unexpected lesson you’ve learned through your journey as a founder?

    We’ve had unexpected challenges along the way. UpLift is just over a year old, so a lot has happened in such a short period. But, ultimately, this is probably one of the most straightforward builds that I’ve ever helped create. I’ve learned about the importance of the hiring process when it comes to building a successful team: we’ve hired tremendous people, and I think hiring the best people I could find is the best thing that could have happened in terms of continuing to grow the company.

  • 5. What’s the most important feedback you’ve gotten from a patient? What role did it play in shaping your business?

    At first, we had to convince prospects that we were a real company. We had a website, but it was a placeholder website. We found that if we could just reach people on the phone and relate to their real problems, they’d want to join.

    When we first approached therapists and started talking about growing their practices, they would get a little defensive. So instead, we started talking about expanding access, and then therapists were more open to talking with us about the challenges of building an independent practice. When you’re first getting out there talking to people, you’ll hear no. You have to ask: why are you hearing the no’s and then continue from there.

  • 6. What’s the key to building trust with your employees and patients?

    I think we’re more hands-on with customer experience than many other companies in this space. Many providers talk about signing up for different platforms and never hear anything back. We created a culture of support for our providers to ensure they have the things they need to succeed.

    We have a high satisfaction rate. Almost nine out of 10 people get to their second therapy session and stick with the platform. We’re currently interviewing a psychiatric nurse practitioner who told us that she applied to work with us full time because she had a couple of UpLift patients who were so enthusiastic about their experience with us.

  • 7. What’s your top expectation from your team?

    We have a pretty big mission, and with that comes a lot of responsibility. We commit to both building a business and delivering high-quality care. Ultimately, if we can’t build a business, then we can’t succeed in helping hundreds of thousands and eventually millions of people. That creates a healthy, motivating tension.

    Doing the right thing guides our internal culture, so with that in mind, we try things in small doses and learn little by little, hopefully without making significant mistakes. We try to consider the fact that there are places to make fast decisions within healthcare, and there are places to move more slowly.

  • 8. What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed in the morning?

    Wake up my five-year-old and get her ready to go to school.

  • 9. What brings you the most joy?

    My family and watching the Florida Gators win!

  • 10. What’s a fact that others may not know about you?

    I studied architecture in school and fell in love with the idea of becoming an architect, but I decided to explore a completely different career. Regardless, I’m still a fan of design and user experience and find it helpful to activate that part of my brain for new products and roles.

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Kyle Talcott Co-Founder & CEO

Kyle Talcott is the Co-Founder & CEO of UpLift, a company rebuilding how consumers find and access high quality mental healthcare. Kyle has spent his career building and scaling healthcare technology companies. Most recently, Kyle was the GM of Virtual Care at Cityblock Health, where he launched their virtual care business to cover more than 50,000 Medicaid members across NYC, CT and Mass. Prior to that, Kyle was an early VP at Clover Health (NASDAQ: CLOV), where he built and scaled the company’s operations. During his 5 years at Clover, he built a full time clinical and non-clinical team to over 200 people, mostly during a two year period. When he joined Clover, the company was 15 employees, with $25M in revenue, and insured 2,500 members in one state, and quickly grew to over 700 employees, with $550M in revenue, and insuring over 55,000 members across eight states, raising more than $1B in capital along the way. Before Clover, Kyle was Co-Founder, COO & CFO of Ingenios Health, a prospective risk adjustment company performing nurse practitioner home visits on the behalf of large health plans. That company was acquired in under 3 years by Almost Family (NASDAQ: LHCG). Kyle started his career as the first full time employee and Head of Finance at Audax Health, now called Rally Health, which was later acquired by Optum. Kyle holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Florida.