Meet the innovator: Evan HarrisJuly 15, 2020
Pictured above: Evan Harris of Peppy Health
Tell us about your innovation in a sentence
Peppy gives our users ultra-convenient access to vetted healthcare practitioners in the areas of fertility, parenthood, menopause, mental health and many more to come.
What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?
There have been a series of lightbulb moments but the clearest one came from my colleague and Peppy co-founder, Max, who had recently become a dad. His wife and baby experienced various challenges in the first few months after birth and the care they received from the NHS and their private health insurer was almost non-existent. We started to speak to people in the perinatal sector and realised that many services had been cut to the bone during austerity. Then we became aware of similar issues in fertility and menopause support. Suddenly the huge gaps in the conventional healthcare system – in women’s health and other areas – became obvious and we realised that we had a model that could revolutionise the way people engage with healthcare providers.
What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?
- Find co-founders you like and respect. If you’re serious about being an innovator then the first step is to put yourself in a position where you could meet them.
- Find a route to revenue from day one. Successful metrics are fairly meaningless if no one will pay for the service.
- Experiment rapidly and pivot if necessary. We’ve pivoted our products, routes to market and revenue model about 10 times in the last 12 months. Had we not been willing to move so fast we wouldn’t be here right now.
What’s been your toughest obstacle?
Finding product-market fit. We’re not 100 per cent there yet but we are much closer to it than we were even six months ago. There are so many moving parts, so many possibilities, and you only have so much cash runway before it runs out.
What’s been your innovator journey highlight?
Definitely the Techforce-19 Challenge in April and May this year. Being able to support over 1,000 new parents in an NHS-funded trial gave us an incredible opportunity to prove that our model could deliver extraordinary outcomes in a short period of time. In our case we reduced the percentage of trial participants experiencing possible depression or anxiety by almost half based on SWEMWBS surveys.
Best part of your job now?
I get a huge amount of joy from hearing feedback from our users and knowing that we are making a positive difference in their lives and the lives of their families. I also love working with innovate HR professionals.
If you were in charge of the NHS and care system, what’s the one thing you’d do to speed up health innovation?
I’m obviously biased here but I think it’s much easier to innovate in a small startup like Peppy than it is in a conventional area of the NHS like a Trust. I’d therefore make it easier for these startups to experiment with the NHS on new service models. These experiments need to be funded and decisions need to be made much quicker than they are now. Techforce-19 was a great example of what is possible.
A typical day for you would include..
MS Teams calls!! The whole team are working remotely so I’m on one video call after another. My day starts with three stand-ups: full team, tech team, ops team. Then it’s on to a wide mix of developing our product, client implementation meetings, and ad-hoc catch ups with the team. The typical day is also very long – I need a holiday!
Where can we find you?
Listen to the latest Innovation Exchange featuring Peppy Health.