Dr. Iman Abuzeid is the Co-founder and CEO of Incredible Health, a career marketplace whose custom matching technology offers hospitals the fastest, most effective way to hire qualified permanent staff. As a former medical doctor whose immediate family includes three surgeons, she understands the importance of helping healthcare professionals find and do their best work. Dr. Abuzeid holds an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and holds our lady boss spotlight for this week, scroll down for full interview.
Hello Dr. Iman! It’s great to have you all on LLA. Can you share briefly describe yourself and your business –Incredible Health?
Thanks for having me. As a former medical doctor whose immediate family includes three surgeons, I deeply understand the importance of helping healthcare professionals find and do their best work. That’s why I founded and now serve as CEO of Incredible Health, a career marketplace whose custom matching technology offers hospitals a brand new way to hire qualified permanent staff. On our platform, we have hundreds of hospitals applying to nurses, not the other way around, and we get nurses hired three times faster than the national average. I have a personal mission to help healthcare workers live better lives and that’s ultimately what we’re working towards here at Incredible Health.
So tell us the story behind Incredible Health? What would you say inspired you to go into this particular business?
By 2024, the US expects to face a shortage of one million nurses. To make up for the deficit, nurses are often overworked. But research shows that when staff are asked to work overtime, they are 2.5 times more likely to quit. In fact, hospitals experience a 20% annual turnover rate partially due to burnout. What’s worse, studies show burnout increases medication errors by 20%, and patient mortality increases by 7% for every patient added to a burned-out nurse.
All this goes to show that this shortage impacts everyone, from healthcare workers to patients like us, and that’s why I went into the business of helping nurses.
When you launched Incredible Health, did you have prior knowledge on how you could run a business? How did you make it work?
I earned my MD at University College London Medical School and later earned an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating, I doubled-down on my commitment to wellness, working in leadership and founder positions at health tech companies positively impacting diverse communities. All this experience helped me when I decided to found Incredible Health. I secured support from top investors in Silicon Valley, including Andreessen Horowtiz, NFX, and Obvious Ventures, and I’m turning my idea into a reality.
What’s the biggest misconception about entrepreneurship that you’ve heard, how would you describe running a business?
The biggest misconception is that entrepreneurship is glamorous. When you look at media coverage, you mostly see the highs but the reality is it’s a lot of work, it’s a grind. It requires an intense amount of persistence. You have to deal with a ton of rejection and failure. But despite the challenges, it’s a lot of fun. Starting something from nothing is very motivating for me. Making an impact on an entire industry is exciting. It’s thrilling to pursue a big mission like ours – to help healthcare workers live better lives – and when you see the impact that we have on nurses and hospital systems, it’s really exciting.
Have you introduced any new innovations to your business recently? How has that worked out?
Most recently, we’ve launched our community platform a first-of-its-kind, free community designed to improve nurses’ career advancement and wellness. Some of the features of the community platform include having a dedicated career coach, who are also RNs, interview preparation and resume support, salary calculators, and wellness events. As a result, nurses have tools to better take care of themselves and can focus on doing what they do best: providing compassionate patient care.
Your business is different from the usual and quite innovative, why did you decide to focus on nurses?
Nurses make up two-thirds of the healthcare workforce, which is a 1.6 trillion dollar industry. They are truly the backbone of the healthcare system. However, the majority of nurses are experiencing intense burnout – so much so – that nurses are twice as likely to commit suicide than the average American.
We simply cannot have the individuals who care for us when we are unwell, suffering the way they do. Nurses are everyday heroes and deserve better.
As an entrepreneur, you must have encountered different kinds of people, what have you learned and what will you say has been the highlight of your journey so far?
As an entrepreneur, I interact with members of our team, our clients (both hospitals and nurses), investors, and members of the press. What I’ve learned is that each group has different roles, needs, and desires, so it’s important that the way you interact with them is highly customized to what those needs and desires are.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in the course of running your business, and what’s kept you going?
It was a challenge to get the initial product-market fit. Tweaking the product and the value proposition until it was something that resonated on both sides – for hospitals and nurses – was very challenging. Hiring a fantastic team in the SF Bay Area is also very challenging given how much competition there is for talent here.
What keeps me going is the pursuit of our mission to help healthcare workers live better lives. We’re building a category-defining, market leading company in healthcare labor and what we’ve built is 10X better than what’s already out there. When you look at our results, we’ve enabled 3X faster hiring and 25X better efficiency.
What’s your five-year plan for your business?
Our vision is to help all healthcare workers find and do their best work and live better lives. In September, we raised $15M in our Series A led by Andreessen Horowitz to expand our presence across the US and grow our internal team by 5X. We’ve also committed the vast majority of our funds to build the largest community of nurses and provide them with the resources necessary to advance their careers, make more money, and reduce their stress levels.
Can you share some strategic helpful tips for upcoming female entrepreneurs to be successful in this path?
#1: pay attention and continue to grow your network. That should include your network of other CEOs and entrepreneurs. That’s probably the most important network to build. Other CEOs are people who are able and willing to help, and have the experience or expertise to support you. And they’re the people who are the most empathetic to what you’re doing.
The other networks you want to build are potential investors and potential employees. It’s important to keep growing those groups because it takes a village to grow a market-leading company.
#2: be assertive and confident. This is the tip I always give to female entrepreneurs. Just know that no one really knows what they’re doing. You need to have 100% confidence and 100% substance because your counterparts in other demographics are coming in with 100% confidence and you need to match that.
#3: continue to grow your skills. It takes several different skill sets to go from 0 to 1 and 1 to n, and that includes negotiation, product, leadership, influence, interpersonal dynamics. There are a whole set of skills that are beyond the hard skill sets of selling or building a product that you need to know and continue to grow.
The LLA Lady Boss Series is a weekly interview series that highlights the achievements and entrepreneurial journeys of African female entrepreneurs. The idea is to showcase the Leading Ladies who are transforming Africa and the African narrative through enterprise and business.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes leadership, inclusion and diversity for women of African descent.
If you know any kick-ass women of African Descent doing phenomenal things in enterprise, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and she could possibly be featured.