Interview with Dr. Haneen Abu-Remaileh
On this week's episode of the PNC podcast, John delves into the exciting world of startups with eager entrepreneur Dr. Haneen Abu-Remaileh. Haneen is the founder and CEO of Locumunity. The company is an online marketplace matching physicians with locum positions across Canada and the US.
Haneen completed her medical degree at the University of British Columbia, and her residency in family medicine at the University of Calgary.
Like so many new physicians, she found that when she moved back home after her residency, she lost all of the professional relationships she had cultivated during her training. She was also surprised by how hard it was to find jobs, despite a growing shortage of physicians. She began working locum tenens positions, but found it difficult to find new opportunities.
It was her frustration with the inefficiency and opacity of the job search that planted the seed for Locumunity. A seed that ultimately sprouted into a startup business that is tackling a vital issue in healthcare.
We're proud to have the University of Tennessee Physician Executive MBA Program, offered by the Haslam College of Business, as the sponsor of this podcast.
The UT PEMBA is the longest-running, and most highly respected physician-only MBA in the country, with over 650 graduates. Unlike other programs, which typically run 1 – 1/2 to 2 years, this program only takes a year to complete. And Economist Magazine recently ranked the business school #1 in the world for the Most Relevant Executive MBA.
University of Tennessee PEMBA students bring exceptional value to their organizations. While in the program, you'll participate in a company project, thereby contributing to your organization.
Graduates have taken leadership positions at major healthcare organizations. And they've become entrepreneurs and business owners.
By joining the University of Tennessee physician executive MBA, you will develop the business and management skills you need to advance your career. To find out more, contact Dr. Kate Atchley’s office by calling (865) 974-6526 or go to vitalpe.net/physicianmba.
An Eager Entrepreneur Is Born
What started as frustration with an inefficient system led to the beginnings of a real business. Haneen decided to pursue her idea for a centralized marketplace that would connect physicians with health care facilities.
“This was a very unexpected journey for me. I always wanted to be a doctor.”
She had no tech knowledge herself. So, she started with a remote tech team based in India. However, after a year of headaches, she pulled the plug on that approach. And, she decided to search for a more local tech-savvy co-founder.
Serendipitously, Haneen's sister-in-law had a friend who was VP of a successful tech business and introduced them. Seeing the potential for the concept, he decided to join Haneen and bring his tech expertise to her company.
After getting their web site off the ground, the team attended a healthcare hackathon. There Haneen was introduced to the first of many mentors. They offered guidance on the business side of things, and suggested they look into joining an accelerator.
They applied to the Techstars accelerator in the U.S. After Haneen attended the interview with her 5-day old newborn, the team was invited to join Techstars. Her co-founder decided to quit his job and commit to Locumunity. They moved to Washington state in January of 2019 for five months to immerse themselves in the accelerator.
At Techstars, Haneen and her team found exactly the mentorship and motivation they needed. And they soon decided to focus on expanding into the U.S., where they can leverage technology. The elegance of Locumunity is that it will better connect physicians to jobs, while reducing overhead so that physicians can be paid more.
Since leaving the accelerator, Haneen has learned some hard lessons about the reality of running a startup. She learned that not everyone can sustain the low pay and long ramp up of a tech start-up. She lost her initial co-founders.
And she experienced mild burnout from working clinically part-time, while devoting full-tme hours to her company. She pulled back slightly, and is now better at making time for herself and her family.
However, it has not slowed her down. She has rebuilt her team from the ground up. She is now laser-focused on expanding into the U. S. market. The site is currently serving over 2,000 physicians in Canada and 500 in the U.S.
“Our biggest focus is opening up the job market and replacing the deep tentacles that the recruitment agencies have made in it.”Dr. Haneen Abu-Remaileh
She was initially focused on California. But the team has shifted its focus to the primary care category across the U.S. Haneen sees a real need in that market. Physicians are eager for transparency and flexibility in the job-seeking process.
Moving away from full-time clinical practice and into the start-up world has not been easy. Her deep love of medicine is what sparked her desire to found Locumunity. At times, the grind of creating something from nothing makes her a not-so-eager entrepreneur.
However, she still loves what she does, and is looking forward to the next phase of her plan. She is working to grow her team and take on the U.S. recruitment agencies.
If you'd like to learn more, Haneen has kindly offered to answer your questions and lend advice to prospective entrepreneurs. Feel free to reach out to her via the links below.
Links for today's episode:
- Locumunity Website
- Haneen's LinkedIn
- Haneen's Email
- 500 Startups
- Y Combinator
- Grit by Angela Duckworth
- The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
- How I Built This with Guy Raz Podcast
Thanks to our sponsor…
Thanks to the UT Physician Executive MBA program for sponsoring the show. It’s an outstanding, highly rated, MBA program designed for working physicians. It might be just what you need to prepare for that joyful, well-paying career. You can find out more at vitalpe.net/physicianmba.
I hope to see you next time on the PNC Podcast.
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The opinions expressed here are mine and my guest’s. While the information provided on the podcast is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge, there is no express or implied guarantee that using the methods discussed here will lead to success in your career, life or business.
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