SVP Fast Pitch is a business pitch competition for innovative nonprofit and for-profit social impact entrepreneurs – organizations that are solving today’s important social problems and making a positive impact in the Greater Puget Sound area. In its first four years, SVP Fast Pitch has connected social impact entrepreneurs with over $1.2 million in investments and grants. Thanks to our generous sponsors we are raising the 2015 award pool to $375,000 – $125,000 in grants and $250,000 in investments.
http://www.socialventurepartners.org/seattle/fast-pitch/, accessed 9 August 2015
For potential investors, lenders, and donors: for your reference, here is the information that we provided Fast Pitch in our competition entry. Here are our answers to their questions, in support of PNCAHS’ entry.
If you are interested in becoming an investor, lender, or donor, please contact me at email@example.com.
SVP-FP question: WHO ARE YOUR CURRENT INVESTORS?
PNCAHS’ answer: We are currently seeking investors to support PNCAHS through a variety of different funding mechanisms. We have the support of friends and family, and certain leading members of the massage therapy profession, who have supported us with $1800, donated by 18 individuals, at GoFundMe, the record of which you can see at: http://www.gofundme.com/TraumaAwareMassage. Additionally, we recognize the tremendous support provided to Ravensara Travillian by a variety of people in 2009 and 2010–while she was unemployed/uninsured, before the PPACA took effect–when she underwent extensive hospitalizations for uterine cancer and for severe blood clots. Those supporters, whom we are not naming here in order to protect their privacy, made it possible for Dr. Travillian to make a full recovery, to keep her family together, and to come up with a repayment plan. Because of their real support, we are very grateful to be at the point we are at today, even though we still face huge resource challenges.
DESCRIBE YOUR ENDEAVOR IN ONE SENTENCE:
PNCAHS provides a world-class master’s-degree education to prepare massage therapists as part of a healthcare team for clients with complex medical conditions.
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM YOU ARE TRYING TO ADDRESS?
Under Washington state law, massage therapists are considered healthcare providers, with all the responsibility accompanying that status. Yet a roughly 600-hour vocational/technical education is insufficient to prepare us for what that really means in practice, and as a consequence, many are unprepared, suffer burnout, and leave the field in discouragement.
We have an unprecedented opportunity, under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, to rise to the occasion and to become full-fledged members of the patient-centered biomedical healthcare professional team. But we don’t have the tools or the experience to know what to do, to know how to do it, and to actually get it done.
We need a model of professionalism, scholarly rigor, collegiality, humanism, health and information literacy, and critical thinking to support us in making the transformation to a 21st-century healthcare profession, rooted above all in the best interests of our clients.
PNCAHS delivers all of that.
WHO HAS THIS PROBLEM AND HOW ARE THEY SOLVING IT TODAY?
Massage therapists in the United States have this problem in general, and we are floundering in search of a solution. Real questions, such as, “I have a client who traveled abroad during the recent Ebola scare. What—if anything—do I need to change about my office procedures to protect my clients and myself against any potential infection, and at the same time, avoid overreaction and panic?” are met with a mixture of valid information and pseudoscientific misinformation.
Due to a number of converging historical trends, our social contract has shifted rapidly out from under us. No one is to blame for this situation, and “no blame, no shame” is our slogan. We just need to fix it.
We must recognize the tremendous need for real, solid, validated healthcare information on the part of practicing massage therapists, and of massage therapy students, in order to equip them to face this transformed landscape with the tools that they need to be responsible healthcare professionals.
HOW WILL YOU ACQUIRE CUSTOMERS?
We are developing a hybrid marketing strategy that recognizes the varying levels of technological familiarity and comfort in the massage therapist community. This strategy will incorporate marketing to massage therapists through social media, search-engine optimization for PNCAHS’ website, email, and traditional print media, to tailor the approach to different niches’ preferred ways of obtaining information.
We have not yet completed our application form yet, but we are already receiving serious inquiries from potential students who are eager–based on the sheer word of mouth excitement about this development in massage education–to commit to the time, effort, and expense involved in growing the massage therapy profession through the professionalism and credibility that a master’s degree would bring to the field. We will track each of these means of marketing to potential customers, and–based on outcomes–evaluate and reallocate marketing resources as appropriate.
HOW WILL CUSTOMERS PAY FOR YOUR SOLUTION? (ENTER N/A IF THEY DO NOT PAY FOR YOUR SOLUTION.)
Customers will pay for this solution through a combination of tuition, fellowships, and revenue from income streams for the college through product and service lines. Our model is a hybrid, based originally on the example of the work colleges, such as Berea, which increase access to higher education across socioeconomic status and class. We also employ additional mechanisms in order to provide us with more nimbleness in responding to various changing conditions in our earlier and leaner stages. We are committed to making higher education accessible to more people across traditional limiters such as class and income level. We want to create a culture of higher education, as well as opportunities and options to attend by making it more affordable for more people, including people who may not originally have had that expectation. We accomplish this by combining a number of different payment strategies.
HOW BIG IS THE MARKET FOR YOUR OPPORTUNITY?
Initially, PNCAHS’ market is Puget-Sound-area massage therapists. The first market expansion beyond Puget Sound will be to massage therapists statewide in Washington.
We have filed an external request with the Public Disclosure Record Center at the Health Systems Quality Assurance in Olympia for a numerical breakdown of number of active LMP licenses by county in Washington state. While awaiting that specific information, we are estimating–very conservatively–a market of 5000 licensed massage practitioners statewide per year.
IS YOUR GOAL TO REACH CUSTOMERS LOCALLY, NATIONALLY, OR INTERNATIONALLY?
Initially, PNCAHS’ market is Puget-Sound-area massage therapists. The first market expansion will be to massage therapists statewide in Washington.
Due to issues with state-to-state portability and federalism, extending this program nationally will be quite complicated. We expect that we will receive applications from potential students in Canada and New Zealand, due to the professionalization of massage therapy in those countries, and we are actively working with representatives in each of those countries to ensure international transferability.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST RISKS TO YOUR ENDEAVOR?
- Lack of entrepreneurial experience and skills on the management team
- Inertia and resistance to change in the massage industry
- Wildly-differing laws and standards of massage education between states in the US
- Lack of financial resources
The first category in which PNCAHS will be judged in this competition is Societal Impact.
DESCRIBE THE SOCIETAL IMPACT OF YOUR ENDEAVOR:
We envision that the societal impact of our school can be quantified along 3 main potential axes: clinical outcomes, educational outcomes, and online utilization.
Clinical outcome measures that we envision include, but are not limited to: number of clients served per time period, client satisfaction with service, cost of service per client, as well as trends in the trajectories of any of these indicators.
Educational outcome measures include, but are not limited to: individual and cohort progress toward a degree, number of students graduated, job placement after graduation, aggregate grade-point average, number of papers published, impact factors of journals in which students and graduates publish papers.
Web site utilization: how many people are using our Web site each month, what tools are they making the most use of, what questions are they asking, are they getting the answers that they need? We expect that additional useful metrics will emerge during our development process.
DESCRIBE HOW YOUR ENDEAVOR IS INNOVATIVE:
Our school is innovative because we actually deliver on a potential that has been wished for for a very long time: to actually integrate mainstream medicine with massage.
We do this by mobilizing the most effective aspects of traditional education–small student-teacher ratios, problem-based learning, scaffolding–and magnifying those effects with proven technological enhancements like the flipped classroom. This is crucial, because it increases the reach of the most effective tried-and-true aspects. In this way, it will ultimately magnify access for clients, by a multiplier effect of delivering high-quality education and information to more students.
Additionally, the currency of the information will be kept rapidly up-to-date, and the provenance/source of the information will always be transparently accessible.
IS IT HARD FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO DUPLICATE YOUR IDEA? IS THERE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR IDEA AND HOW IS IT PROTECTED? PLEASE EXPLAIN:
It is very hard for someone else to duplicate our idea, because of the unique constellation of talent and experience possessed by our leadership team. For this reason, we are exploring the cost of key-person insurance for each member of the team–if something were to happen to one of the team, it would be expensive to find that experience and education elsewhere.
Some of the intellectual work of PNCAHS will be made freely available in an open-access format on the Web, in accordance with our commitment to the principle that high-quality professional healthcare is a human right. Making that information freely available promotes that access. However, that access will not harm our business model, because our services rest so much on hands-on individual attention, low student-teacher ratios, and active scaffolding and learning support. Those are aspects that are not at risk of intellectual-property theft.
DESCRIBE HOW YOUR ENDEAVOR IS SUSTAINABLE:
We are sustainable because we channel a market solution to current social problems. Underserved and vulnerable populations need access to healthcare, of which professional massage therapy is a component, given its demonstrated track record in addressing pain, depression, and anxiety. Yet volunteer organizations such as Hands for Heroes are able to meet only a tiny portion of the very real need, because people can volunteer only after they have gotten their own daily needs met.
By providing the potential for realizing a profit in addressing these solutions–and thus making it possible to earn a good living, as well as professional credibility, while also providing greater access–we intent to attract debt and/or equity investors, and to generate cash flows that will repay those investors.
We are also working on a transition plan for the retirement of Dr. Travillian, to ensure a smooth and sustainable transition that will support the mission of the college for generations to come.
Leadership & Team
DESCRIBE WHY YOUR TEAM IS THE RIGHT ONE TO LEAD YOUR ENDEAVOR:
All of us possess the education to meet the needs of students at the graduate level. We are in a position to bridge the knowledge gap by providing a massage education that answers MTs’ questions such as these:
- Is a hot tub or a sauna before massage safe for a client on next-generation blood-thinning medications?
- My client had a very strong emotional reaction to massage—is this just a normal reaction, or a mental-health emergency, and how can I tell the difference to keep my client safe?
- I have a client who traveled abroad during the recent Ebola scare. What—if anything—do I need to change about my office procedures to protect my clients and myself against any potential infection, and at the same time, avoid overreaction and panic?
Additionally, we are all strongly, vocally, and publicly committed to the values of ethical and professional biomedical healthcare:
- systems thinking
- the scientific method.
We can bridge the gap.
DESCRIBE THE KEY TEAM MEMBERS AND/OR ADVISORS TO YOUR ENDEAVOR AND THEIR ROLES:
Ravensara Travillian, PhD, NA-C, LMP: massage therapist/PhD in Biomedical and Health Informatics from the University of Washington School of Medicine.
Due to current employment situations and other confidentiality issues, we are not yet publicly discussing the identities of the other members of the team. This information is, of course, freely available to serious investors, lenders, and donors.
<redacted> Psychologist <redacted>
Responsibilities include setting up and managing online and physical library, teaching classes on information technology, and overseeing research.
PROVIDE THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES, BOTH FULL TIME AND PART TIME.
4 full-time employees (Travillian, Psychologist, Informatician, and Anthropologist), plus 2 contract/agency administrative assistants.
HOW LONG HAVE THE KEY LEADERS KNOWN EACH OTHER, HOW LONG HAVE THEY WORKED TOGETHER?
WHAT PERCENTAGE OF TIME DO THE KEY LEADERS SPEND ON THIS BUSINESS?
Dr. Travillian: 100%
Psychologist: 100% (projected)
Informatician: 100% (projected)
Anthropologist: 50% (projected)
WHAT IS YOUR TOTAL BUDGET FOR THIS ENDEAVOR? (PLEASE ENTER NUMBERS ONLY. NO SPECIAL CHARACTERS, SUCH AS COMMAS, DOLLAR SIGNS, ETC., ARE ALLOWED)
HOW MUCH OF THIS BUDGET HAVE YOU ALREADY RAISED? (PLEASE ENTER NUMBERS ONLY. NO SPECIAL CHARACTERS, SUCH AS COMMAS, DOLLAR SIGNS, ETC., ARE ALLOWED)
WHAT IS THE TOTAL ANNUAL BUDGET FOR YOUR PARENT ORGANIZATION? ENTER 0 IF NO PARENT ORGANIZATION. (PLEASE ENTER NUMBERS ONLY. NO SPECIAL CHARACTERS, SUCH AS COMMAS, DOLLAR SIGNS, ETC., ARE ALLOWED)
HOW DO YOU PLAN TO FUND, BOTH TO LAUNCH AND TO SCALE THIS ENDEAVOR? PLEASE DESCRIBE YOUR REVENUE STRATEGIES, INCLUDING GRANTS, PHILANTHROPY, EARNED INCOME, ETC. (1000 CHARACTERS-WITH SPACES-OR LESS)
We plan a combination of funding strategies to accomplish our mission.
First, we will incorporate as a social purpose corporation in Washington state, as described at http://www.sos.wa.gov/corps/SocialPurposeCorporation.aspx and http://www.spcwa.com/what-are-spcs/b-corp_spc/, in order to incorporate the benefits that we enumerate, along with our financial goals, as part of our purpose. Because we will be a social purpose corporation, we will have some investors who are interested in our financial return, and other investors who are more interested in our social purpose. For this reason, we will offer a range of support options as strategies for generating operating revenue.
We will be eligible to apply for NIH Small Business Innovation Research and other grants from the government and foundations who share our mission. We will also rely on business loans, equity deals (e.g., Small Corporate Offering Registration or Fundable.com offering), and the sales of products and services.
WHAT ARE YOUR TRAILING 12 MONTHS OF REVENUES?
Because we have not yet begun operations, PNCAHS does not have the income statements necessary to base a trailing 12 months of revenues on.
Once we commence operations, then we will provide the income statements and the associated trailing 12 months of revenues.
WHAT ARE YOUR REVENUE PROJECTIONS FOR THE NEXT 12 MONTHS?
We project the following totals for gross revenue for the next 12 months:
Month 1: $2160
Month 2: $2500
Month 3: $3960
Month 4: $4500
Month 5: $5780
Month 6: $7000
Month 7: $12,500
Month 8: $14,000
Month 9: $16,500
Month 10: $18,000
Month 11: $20,000
Month 12: $24,000
WHAT MAJOR MILESTONES OR ACHIEVEMENTS HAVE YOU ALREADY ACCOMPLISHED WITH YOUR ENDEAVOR? BRIEFLY DESCRIBE THE STATUS OF THE INITIATIVE, AS WELL AS HOW YOU HAVE VALIDATED YOUR IDEA. (1000 CHARACTERS-WITH SPACES-OR LESS)
Our initiative has begun initial operations, and is being validated through feedback from clients and potential students.
1. Veterans Therapeutic Massage Center: Provides low-cost and free-of-charge massage to veteran clients. We also participate in the annual Seattle Stand Down, a resource event for at-risk veterans. Currently operating and providing pro bon and low-cost massage to veterans.
2. Course and curriculum development
3. Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship Planning Documentation:
- StartSMART Startup Readiness Assessment is 52 out of 60. Readiness issues have been identified and considered. I have completed Handout 1.1-Readiness Assessment.
- Personal Net Worth Statement.
- Household Income and Expense Statement.
- Self Sufficiency Standard Report
- Business Concept Statement Worksheet
- Opportunity Discovery Canvas
- Sales Unit Pricing
- Sales Forecast
- Startup Costs Projection
- Overhead Costs Projection
- Variable Cost Worksheets
WHAT ARE THE NEXT MAJOR STEPS FOR YOUR ENDEAVOR IN THE NEAR FUTURE? (1000 CHARACTERS-WITH SPACES-OR LESS):
- More offerings of successful Trauma-Aware Massage Therapy class focusing on military culture, working with survivors of military sexual trauma, and resources and benefits, co-taught with veterans’ advocates Joshua Penner and Christian Alexander
- Hands-on clinical outreach classes serving vulnerable and underserved populations, including veterans living with post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, chronic musculoskeletal pain, refugees and other survivors of war, torture, and genocide, caregivers, children and families living with the effects of cerebral palsy, and children and families living with the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome
- Fundraisers: Veterans’ Appreciation Dinners, chocolate-making fundraising classes, jewelry-making fundraising classes
- Form a board
- Incorporation as Social Purpose Corporation
WHICH THREE AREAS ARE YOU MOST INTERESTED IN RECEIVING SUPPORT AND MENTORSHIP?
- ANGEL & VENTURE CAPITAL
- MARKETING & SALES
- PITCHING & PRESENTING
WHERE DID YOU HEAR ABOUT SVP FAST PITCH?
Pinchot University: Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship
WHERE YOU REFERRED TO SVP FAST PITCH BY SOMEONE?
WHO REFERRED YOU TO SVP SEATTLE?
Pinchot University: Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship
WHY ARE YOU APPLYING TO SVP FAST PITCH? BRIEFLY DESCRIBE WHAT YOU ARE HOPING TO GET BY PARTICIPATING IN THE PROGRAM. (1000 CHARACTERS-WITH SPACES-OR LESS)
As we mentioned in the question about the biggest risks to our endeavor, we are all scientists and education professionals. We do not at present have the skills, experience, or education for sophisticated entrepreneurship. That is what we hope to gain from SVP-FP.
Dr. Travillian is working with the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship in order to develop these skills, and is making demonstrable progress. Now we are ready to kick our initiative into high gear, and we seek your assistance as specialists possessing these particular skills–both to help us do this work ourselves, and to connect us to people who specialize in these skills with whom we could consult.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE US TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR ENDEAVOR?
I (Travillian) decided to start this private college for massage therapist education because I perceived a real and pressing need to make healthcare education better, and I knew that my colleagues and I could effectively address that need.
Because of my education and experience, I am in a position to bridge that knowledge gap, and lead massage therapy to a valid place at the table as full-fledged members of the healthcare team. We will accomplish this by delivering service with integrity, based on the shared body of mainstream professional biomedical and biopsychosocial knowledge.
It is an ambitious goal, but I am ready to make it happen. I am a survivor of abdominal blood clots that my surgeon said, “are usually found on autopsy”, as well as of uterine cancer. I am fully recovered and healthy now, and my medical challenges have left me stronger and more determined than ever to succeed.
I ask your help in training and networking, in order to make a positive difference together.