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Case Study

How Pro­fes­sion­al Con­sul­tants Can Help Star­tups Struc­ture for Success



When a cou­ple of sea­soned health­care pro­fes­sion­als received approval to pro­ceed with the for­ma­tion of a new health insur­ance com­pa­ny serv­ing a nation­al mar­ket, they asked if Renoir would be inter­est­ed in help­ing them to set up a com­pa­ny from scratch.

Renoir appre­ci­at­ed the dif­fer­ence between work­ing with a com­pa­ny that was just an idea, ver­sus their usu­al clients with an exist­ing busi­ness. This project would sure­ly be dif­fer­ent. The approach was to ensure that think­ing was “out­side the box” and to avoid sim­ply emu­lat­ing cur­rent health insur­ance prac­tices. After ensur­ing that they under­stood the Vision, Mis­sion and Goals of the Founders, the jour­ney to devel­op the com­pa­ny began with a goal of going pub­lic soon after.


Renoir embarked on some pre­lim­i­nary research into the health insur­ance indus­try to iden­ti­fy core func­tions, best prac­tices, oppor­tu­ni­ties for improve­ment and dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion and poten­tial tools and part­ners to achieve the vision and goals.

The Founders’ Vision for their mem­bers was to be the health insur­ance com­pa­ny of choice through supe­ri­or and inno­v­a­tive cus­tomer ser­vice, bet­ter insur­ance cov­er­age, and com­pet­i­tive rates, while deliv­er­ing out­stand­ing finan­cial growth for their share­hold­ers. A Mas­ter Project Sched­ule with crit­i­cal paths and time­lines was devel­oped and was close­ly mon­i­tored on a dai­ly and week­ly basis.

“ I had heard some very good things about Renoir from some work they had done at med­ical cor­po­ra­tions. I thought that if Renoir could do that in an orga­ni­za­tion that was very set in its ways, they might well be able to help us begin work with a green field start­up. Hap­pi­ly, I was right. ”

Founder & Med­ical Director


The busi­ness plan was revised, an IPO prospec­tus devel­oped and the path to an IPO mapped out. Crit­i­cal suc­cess areas and core and non-core com­pe­ten­cies were iden­ti­fied, and an orga­ni­za­tion­al struc­ture developed.

A logo was devel­oped along with all cor­po­rate print stan­dards and mate­r­i­al. Job descrip­tions were writ­ten, required tech­nol­o­gy tools iden­ti­fied, and poten­tial facil­i­ties vis­it­ed and eval­u­at­ed. Dur­ing Renoir’s pre­lim­i­nary research and Scop­ing, they were sur­prised at the cost of office space and per­son­nel costs. Fur­ther­more, there was sig­nif­i­cant wage infla­tion­ary pres­sure, dri­ven by a high rate of eco­nom­ic infla­tion. It became clear that there was an oppor­tu­ni­ty to avoid unnec­es­sary costs by out­sourc­ing, whilst hav­ing to assure that out­stand­ing qual­i­ty of ser­vice was maintained.

Out­sourc­ing part­ners, includ­ing third par­ty admin­is­tra­tors, cus­tomer ser­vice cen­tre oper­a­tors, mar­ket­ing, and even actu­ar­i­al ser­vices were vet­ted, and sev­er­al out­stand­ing part­ners were selected.

In the mean­time, Renoir assist­ed the Founders with inter­views, offer­ing their views and expe­ri­ence, and then work­ing with the out­sourced part­ners on the require­ments, sys­tems and process­es. A CRM sys­tem was select­ed, and imple­men­ta­tion begun. The head­quar­ters was iden­ti­fied and kit­ted out with fur­ni­ture and tech­nol­o­gy and an ini­tial web­site launched.

At the same time, Man­age­ment Con­trol Sys­tems and Busi­ness Process­es were devel­oped and cri­tiqued. This rep­re­sent­ed a sig­nif­i­cant depar­ture from Renoir’s nor­mal style of work­ing with staff at all lev­els to joint­ly devel­op sys­tems and process­es, thus get­ting full own­er­ship, how­ev­er the Com­pa­ny was oper­at­ing under a set of unusu­al constraints.

Local laws require that a health insur­ance com­pa­ny must be a pub­licly trad­ed enti­ty before it can be oper­a­tional and hire staff. So, the buy-in and own­er­ship was with the Founders only. Staff would come lat­er. As we approached the IPO date, sev­er­al unex­pect­ed obsta­cles began to surface.

There appeared to be var­ied opin­ions about tim­ings and rules. Exter­nal fac­tors caused tim­ing delays. And yet work con­tin­ued with con­di­tion­al offers being made to key man­age­ment prospects and ready­ing every­thing as close as pos­si­ble, so the but­ton could be pushed when the IPO was com­plet­ed. In addi­tion, Renoir helped to direct adver­tis­ing for the IPO launch and adver­tis­ing cam­paigns to mar­ket post IPO launch.

It had been a long and wind­ing road. Final­ly, the com­pa­ny made its mar­ket debut, 70 times over­sub­scribed. Today, the com­pa­ny is thriv­ing and suc­cess­ful­ly com­pet­ing head-to-head with more estab­lished com­peti­tors who employ 300% more staff. Inter­na­tion­al expan­sion is now being considered.


The IPO was 70 times over-subscribed on launch 

Advi­so­ry for com­pa­ny incep­tion, IPO launch and mar­ket advertising 

Suc­cess­ful­ly com­petes with large estab­lished competitors 


Pro­fes­sion­al con­sul­tants can be invalu­able in assist­ing star­tups to struc­ture and grow their busi­ness­es. As demon­strat­ed in this case study, the involve­ment of expe­ri­enced con­sul­tants helped the start­up to refine its busi­ness mod­el, struc­ture its busi­ness and process­es, and estab­lish a clear and com­pre­hen­sive mar­ket­ing and sales plan.

Renoir also assist­ed in build­ing a strong and moti­vat­ed team and imple­ment­ing effec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion and project man­age­ment sys­tems. The results speak for them­selves, with the start­up achiev­ing impres­sive growth, sus­tain­abil­i­ty and prof­itabil­i­ty with­in a short period.

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