September’s Launch article features Orchid Health, BuddyUp and Inter-Europe Consulting.

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0914 launch photo-30914 launch photo-4 

Company: Orchid Health
Founders: Oliver Alexander & Orion Falvey
Headquarters: Oakridge
Launched: 2014

As the troubled Cover Oregon health insurance exchange continues to grab headlines, two University of Oregon graduates have quietly developed an offbeat alternative — one that eschews health insurance altogether.

0914 launch photo-1Oliver Alexander and Orion Falvey opened the first Orchid Health clinic in Oakridge, an hour’s drive from the nearest health care facility. For a flat-rate monthly fee, patients get unlimited access to their doctors.

“We describe it as a membership model, but you’re not buying a membership; you’re buying long-term health care,” says Alexander, 22. “You can see us as many times as you want, talk to your doctors on the phone, email them pictures of a rash. You get care in more efficient ways.”

Orchid Health accepts Medicaid and Medicare Part B but not health insurance. The latter increases overhead, Alexander says.

Recruiting a lead care provider was the startup’s biggest challenge. Applicants were leery of working for a direct primary care clinic, according to Alexander. But the benefits of the new model outweighed such concerns. “By not working with an insurance-based clinic,” Alexander says, “providers get to go back to doing what they love to do: providing high-quality care for their patients.”

Orchid Health doctors see a maximum of 18 patients daily and spend a minimum of 20 minutes with each patient.

Alexander and his partner plan to replicate the model in other small towns. But their current focus is getting patients to prioritize prevention-based primary care. “We’re trying to improve people’s health and save them money.”

Money Trail
So far the pair has raised roughly $250,000 through grants, crowd-funding and private investment. The city of Oakridge contributed $11,000.

“Our patients can literally take a picture [of their ailment], go online, upload a picture of their rash and send it to their doctor,” says Alexander. “The doctor has convenient access at the clinic, so they can sit down, review [the photos], and e-prescribe the topical cream so the patient can pick up what’s needed.”

0914 Launch-0914-minis-2Better Than One

CEO: Brian Forrester
Launched: 2013

As a junior at Portland State University, Brian Forrester failed his statistics course and had to take it again the following term. “On the first day I stood up and said, ‘Look, I’m terrible at math and I’m nervous I’m going to fail again,’” recalls the CEO of BuddyUp, a web application aiming to connect college students beyond the classroom. “I tore a piece of paper out of my binder and said, ‘Write your name on this list and we’ll get through this together.’”

By the end of class, the paper had names and emails on both sides and in the margins.

So Forrester built a website with a shared calendar, and soon everyone in the 90-student course knew each other’s names. Students began organizing study sessions through the site, and when the quarter ended, the former failure (in a manner of speaking) had passed his stats class — with an A.

The BuddyUp app will be available in January 2015. Forrester is collaborating with PSU, Oregon State University’s e-campus and the Oregon Institute of Technology.

0914 Launch-0914-minis-1Flying High

Inter-Europe Consulting
Principal: Richard Belzer
Launched: 2014
Service: Aviation financing

China rising: “If you want to start a general aviation company, there’s only one way to do it: through China.”

Filling the gap: “One thing causing China to be a boom country is a lot of airspace. Until recently, you couldn’t even fly a GA [general aviation] airplane. All the airspace belonged to the military. The Chinese version of the FAA, the CAAC, has no staffing or ability to certify an airplane. Most countries just ‘rubber stamp’ what the FAA does, so Chinese companies that want to have a new certified airplane do it here first.”

Opportunity knocks: “You have to certify here … then you can sell [the plane] around the world. So that’s good for us. That’s what’s bringing the money from China. That’s what we want to capitalize on, and we help clients who are doing exactly that.”

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