Healthcare Rebel Alliance: Q&A with Halle Tecco, Cofertility

Health insurance 101
Healthcare industry
Healthcare Rebel Alliance

Nick Soman, Decent: How did you get into healthcare? Why do you care about this?

Halle Tecco: Our healthcare system offers essential services that sustain lives and communities and employs 1 in 9 Americans. Yet, the systems designed to deliver those services creak under the strain of some pretty enormous challenges.

Escalating costs, limited access, and the rising burden of chronic disease expose cracks in the foundation of healthcare. And we face a stark choice: patch over these failings, or commit to a wholesale transformation. I believe that transformation is our only true path forward, and I’ve committed my career to this. Growing up in Ohio, I saw firsthand how most Americans access healthcare. On one hand, my mom was a secretary at the Cleveland Clinic, so I got a glimpse into one of the most powerful healthcare systems. On the other hand, I have family members on Medicaid who struggle with multiple chronic diseases, exposing me to the system's strengths and its shortcomings. I also personally live with asthma and infertility, and have had my own perspectives as a patient. Overall, I find the work challenging, motivating, and incredibly meaningful. I can’t imagine any other path!

Nick Soman, Decent: Many people think healthcare is broken. What does it mean to you to be a healthcare optimist?

Halle Tecco: Many people think healthcare is broken, and they're not wrong. There are deep-seated problems that need fixing. But we can’t just complain and throw up our arms. I see my role as a healthcare optimist as finding the areas where we can make real progress. It means believing in the potential for improvement and actively working towards solutions. While there's no silver bullet, I do believe there are "smart shots" – the places where focused innovation can address a real need, and where the regulatory and incentive environment allows for change to actually take hold today. This kind of targeted optimism, for me, is far more productive than mere complaining.

Nick Soman, Decent: What are the best and worst things about your job?

Halle Tecco: The best thing about working in healthcare is the people. Our industry attracts such incredibly talented, motivated individuals who genuinely want to do good. As a Professor at Columbia Business School, I get to work with smart folks at the beginning of their career and hopefully help point them in the right direction. As a startup investor and advisor, I get to be a cheerleader and supporter. This is the best!

Now the worst thing is dealing with the naysayers, the "Cranky Old Guard" who act as gatekeepers. Their negativity discourages innovation and creates unnecessary hurdles for those trying to bring fresh ideas to the table. My goal isn't just to navigate around these barriers but to actively challenge them. I want to foster a culture where “outsiders” are welcomed and given the support they need; and change is seen not as a threat but as an opportunity for improvement.

Nick Soman, Decent: How did founding and then selling Natalist change your perspective as an investor? Any misconceptions about investors you'd like to clear up?

Halle Tecco: I got so incredibly lucky with the timing of starting, and then selling, Natalist. We launched the company just months before the pandemic, saw incredible growth online and in retail, and sold in 2021 at the top of the market. That said, even with an overall positive experience, starting/running a company is infinitely harder than investing. As a founder, it’s hard to sleep at night. It’s hard to take a shower or cook a meal without thinking about every facet of your business. There is a never-ending list of very important things to do. Compared to being a founder, investors have it easy!

Nick Soman, Decent: Who else in healthcare inspires you, and why?

Halle Tecco: So many people! But especially the founders I’ve had the privilege of working with, including those whose companies didn’t work out. It takes incredible grit and determination to tackle the challenges we face in healthcare. Witnessing that passion, even in the face of setbacks, is truly inspiring.

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