Personalized connections are an effective way of growing your business as it increases people’s trust in your enterprise. Making your expertise available online will benefit your business and is a great way to drive additional revenue. In the light of the pandemic, expertise of health coaches, physicians and fitness trainers are in demand and experts can benefit by making their knowledge available to those who need it. SkillSpring by LifeOmic allows real-time and prescheduled voice, screen share and video connections for businesses, professionals or practices of any size. In conversation with Ryan Hilliard, Director of marketing at SkillSpring, we learn more about the venture and what it has in store for its users!
What is the startup/product about? Give us a brief description of it.
SkillSpring combines secure video, screenshare and voice connections with automated scheduling, connections and payment collection to allow businesses, clinicians, health coaches or professionals to monetize their expertise in real time directly on their website, forum or app.
How many co-founders are there? Please introduce them and their backgrounds.
If there are multiple co-founders, please mention how did you meet one another
SkillSpring was created by LifeOmic, the Precision Health software company, to power secure connections between users and health coaches in mobile apps or patient and physicians in a clinical setting. LifeOmic was founded by Dr. Donald Brown, a serial entrepreneur who previously founded Interactive Intelligence and Software Artistry.
How big is the entire team currently?
LifeOmic is made up of 90 employees spread across three corporate offices (Indianapolis, Salt Lake City and Raleigh-Durham) as well as some fully remote team members.
How did you come up with the idea? What motivated you to do this?
For users, in 99% of cases, the information you need to address a problem or challenge is on the internet, whether it’s tied to losing weight or improving team software adoption. But efficiently getting to that information and being able to apply it to your situation with confidence, is hard. We saw an opportunity to make expertise, knowledge and coaching available to users directly on a company’s site. This allows a user to quickly get the answer to their nuanced situation – like a customized workout plan for building up to your first marathon – while adding a net-new revenue channel for businesses. This has expanded beyond connections to also helping business completely manage their virtual business operations, including bridging connections, scheduling, billing and payment collection with customers or prospects across a team in a single tool.
What is your target market? Why do you think your product will appeal to?
We’ve seen a lot of interest from health coaches, physicians and fitness trainers, which makes sense, especially in light of COVID-19. SkillSpring makes it easy for these people to both bring their expertise online and streamline their operations.
We have also seen online publications leveraging SkillSpring to monetize their heavily trafficked site with something other than ads, while also providing more end user value. In a B2B setting, software companies with large user bases and communities can leverage SkillSpring like a virtual, user conference, connecting users with power users, subject matter experts or top tier support in an ad hoc basis.
What are the marketing plans apart from the product hunt/beta list launch? How are you planning to acquire new users?
We have targeting various audiences directly to create free accounts using traditional paid ads and SEO. It’s been an efficient endeavor driving businesses and experts to create their free accounts. We also have other forms of partnerships and tie in with other LifeOmic products.
Do you have a separate dedicated team to take care of marketing (digital marketing/traditional marketing)? Which digital platforms are you focusing more on?
We have an internal marketing team and our focus is exclusively digital for the time being. From cold outreach to LinkedIn and Google Ads.
What according to you is the biggest challenge that you faced? Is it product development or marketing or scaling or … ?
The idea of being able to connect directly with an expert, right when you want to, is new for users. We are still working on the engagement challenge that other marketplace products like Lyft and Airbnb saw upon launch, being a completely new idea for users to wrap their heads around. The exciting thing is interactions are always positive when they do occur, so it is about gaining trust and confidence in the experience to come.
Who are your competitors/alternatives? What sets you apart from them?
Some existing scheduling solutions like Calendly have integration capabilities with Stripe. Some expertise platforms like Clarity.fm allow you to monetize your expertise. What differentiates SkillSpring is the interactions can happen in real-time, or be prescheduled, and they happen on your site instead over a directory. SkillSpring also allows businesses to manage multiple experts with varying rates, availability and expertise. Also, SkillSpring’s commission based pricing model means businesses only realize a cost after having a successful connection. No subscription fees!
What are the future plans with the product/startup? Any new features you are planning on?
We recently added waiting room functionality for users, as well as calendar integrations with Acuity and Calendly. We are looking forward to adding small and large group capabilities, where coaches or experts could earn more within the same time period while also being able to charge each individual less to connect. Larger bios for increased differentiation and personalization will also be a great new add.
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