Aequitas Partners
Q1 2018 > VOLUME 2

Happy New Year! We hope the holidays treated you and yours well, and that you’re recharged and ready for an exciting year ahead. In this, our sophomore edition of the Catalyst Quarterly Newsletter, we had the pleasure of sitting down for a discussion with Stephanie Papes, Founder & CEO of Boulder Care, and Dr. Amanda Wilson, an internal medicine physician specialized in addictive disease. It’s a fascinating look at the opioid epidemic facing this country, and the time with them blew our team away. We’ll also take a look at pre-hiring best practices that increase the odds of landing the right people, and also reflect on the year behind and the year ahead. Hopefully this provides some light plane reading on your way to the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference!

— Tim Gordon, Founder & Managing Partner

An Interview With Stephanie Papes and Dr. Amanda Wilson

Interview with Boulder Care

Stephanie Papes is the CEO and Co-Founder of Boulder Care, a digital health platform aimed at changing the way we coordinate and deliver treatment for substance use disorders. She founded Boulder after spending time in investment banking and healthcare venture capital.

Dr. Amanda Wilson (MD, FASAM) is a board certified internal medicine and addiction medicine physician, focused on treating addictive disease. She is the Founder of a leading national group of outpatient addiction treatment centers, which have treated over 25,000 patients in 8 states.

Tim: The opioid crisis is now the leading cause of death for people under 50. The White House has called this a “health emergency.” How did we get here?

Amanda: It goes back to the early 90’s, to 3 concurrent events:

First, Oxycontin was heavily marketed to physicians. I personally remember a pharmaceutical representative providing “educational training,” saying, ‘finally, we’ve got an opiate that’s not addictive.’

Second, the joint commission deemed pain the new fifth vital sign. So all of the sudden, providers are rated and remunerated by how well they’re doing on pain management.

Third, the Mexican cartels became extremely skilled at delivering heroin. The architecture of what they’ve built for dispensing heroin across the country is actually pretty remarkable. Basic supply and demand economics brought about the rise of Fentanyl – a salt shaker of it is enough to wipe out Boston. So what’s about to happen to the country is actually scarier than what’s been happening.

Stephanie: We already see Fentanyl driving the next wave of the epidemic. It can be easily purchased online, in an e-commerce consumer shopping experience: websites offer 24/7 live support, assuring discretion and anonymity.

It’s simple and convenient to obtain illicit drugs from your own home. But the patient journey for obtaining drug treatment is just the opposite. There is the supply and demand dynamic, as well as a behavioral economics component: the current system makes it much harder to make the healthier choice. Boulder’s mission is to eliminate these barriers and deliver a frictionless experience to patients seeking treatment.



The Importance of Planning Before Hiring

Tim Gordon, Founder & Managing Partner, Aequitas Partners
The Importance of Planning before Hiring

“I’m not even sure where to start.”

I heard that from a CEO recently. It wasn’t the first time. It won’t be the last. I get it and I empathize. Hiring right is hard.

My response? Let’s come up with a plan. You wouldn’t just start building a house before you laid the foundation. If you started with your dream master bathroom, you’d probably have a mess on your hands. No, you’d talk to your husband or wife, think about your kids, discuss what you all needed in a home, and then work with an architect and then a builder and so on and so forth. Hiring is no different, and just as complex because these components are people. Additional time up front defining culture, roles & responsibilities and your process will lead to better outcomes.

For example, let’s say you’re a CEO looking to hire a Vice President of Marketing. You could draft a job spec, ping your network and your Board members to ask for a recommendation, or possibly approach a recruiter with a list of specs. You’d also probably post it to your company site and push it out to social media. This action-oriented approach isn’t wrong, but what will dictate your success is what you do before you do any of that. The ideal first step is to pause, and answer the types of questions that facilitate a sharper, more explicit hiring process. Is your VP of Marketing a senior hire overseeing strategy and business development, or do you need someone more tactical and execution-oriented? Is your #1 priority growing the business or growing the brand? Are you in need of a cleaner website, logo, color scheme, a streamlined deck for customers/investors, a 1-pager, etc., or is the current goal to elevate your brand through content marketing, trade shows/industry events, stronger SEO/SEM results, and HubSpot integration? Formulating a strategic, structured approach to hiring will deepen your confidence in individual hiring decisions, which in-turn makes the overall process cleaner, faster, and more efficient across the board. To be clear, requirements can and do change, but having guideposts and a process in place will make it easier to hit those pivots in stride.


Looking Back & Looking Forward:

Reflections on 2017, and Predictions for 2018

Tim Gordon, Founder & Managing Partner, Aequitas Partners
Looking Back & Looking Forward

From the first bio-absorbable stent approved in the United States to the world’s first human head transplant, 2017 was a remarkable year for healthcare. And for Healthcare IT & Digital Health, the year was no less remarkable, as numerous fundraising records were set, and mammoth acquisitions set in motion, despite the sector’s continued consolidation and the looming concerns over industry regulation. We think 2018 brings with it the promise of even more broken records, eye-popping acquisitions, continued innovation, and acceleration in the achievement of value-based care goals. But before we ring in the New Year, let’s have a look at where we’ve been…

An Explosive Funding Environment…

If Digital Health were an Olympic Sport, then 2017 would be our Michael Phelps. Through even just the first half of the year, there were 188 deals worth over $3.5B. With an additional 43 deals and $465MM invested during Q3, 2017 is setting the stage to break both 2016’s record of 296 total deals funded, and 2015’s record of $4.6B invested annually (Q4 2017 hadn’t been totaled when this went to print).


AQP Journal


An incredible resource for founders, CEOs and any candidate that’s thinking about joining a startup. This is required reading for everyone on our team, making complex topics easy to digest and understand.
Venture Deals
80 % of heroin users that first misused prescription opioids
90 # of Americans who die every day after overdosing on opioids
64,000 # of drug overdose deaths in 2016
Aequitas Partners

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