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Five Burning Questions with New England-Based Innovators: Alex Rothberg, Founder of Intus Care

Intus Care, a Providence-based tech healthcare startup, has been hitting headlines. This startup is streamlining operations and improving care outcomes in PACE and managed care programs across the country.

Like many startups, Intus Care did change when COVID-19 hit but, in their case, it helped accelerate their growth. Because of the pandemic, many saw the value of home and community based services so clearly and they were able to utilize that traction to really showcase the value that Intus Care could bring to the aging population.

Intus Care has landed both a seed extension and their Series A in 2022 and they’re continue to grow their company, team and company, all while making an impact not just on the Rhode Island startup ecosystem but in the world. Read on for Alex’s reflections on his founder’s journey.

Intus Care has three co-founders, can you share some tips on how you make decisions and resolve disagreements?

In the beginning of the startup’s life, everyone did a little bit of everything. But since those early days, the dynamic has changed. I think the most important thing you can do as a co-founder is pick one person who will be in charge, and you have to trust that person to break ties.

While you don’t have a lot of ties in a team of three co-founders, such as ours, it’s still important to establish which role each of your co-founders will take. For us, I am the only member of the founding team who has any technical background hence technology and product are my domain. Evan Jackson takes on the sales and other business development role. And Robbie Felton is our third founder and our CEO, who makes the final decision if there is a tie.

One important thing that all new startup founders should remember is that you should not give someone the title of co-founder unless you trust them deeply.

What are some of the aspects about being a founder that ended up being exactly how they show them in pop culture (think Silicon Valley)?

I suppose the thing that was expected is that you have to do all the work and wear every hat in the beginning. When you are on the founding team, there’s a really strong sense of responsibility. If you don’t do it, then no one will do it. There’s no one else to get the job done.

And to the things that were quite different from how you thought they would be?

Speaking specifically of hiring, it’s not that we’re hiring a lot of people, we want to hire the right people.

I used to think that once you have the money, there will be hundreds of applicants since so many people say they are excited to work for a startup. But I’m learning that recruiting is definitely a skill that takes a lot more focus than I had imagined and it can be difficult to find the applicant that has the right skill set and also fits in with the culture of the startup you’ve created.

Intus Care is based in Providence and has been featured in a lot of local news outlets. Does the Rhode Island startup scene have a local flavor that’s distinct from Boston and New York?

Providence knows it’s right next to New York and Boston, and we definitely grew up there as a business. It’s very local, and people really appreciate the local touch. If we go down to a vendor and say, ‘Hey, we’re just down the street!’ you form an instant rapport.

Also, there are so many great schools here, not just Brown. There’s Rhode Island School of Design, Providence College, Johnson & Wales, Bryant University. There are tons of universities there that I think people sort of look over because there’s this educational hub next door.

And the startup scene in Rhode Island is definitely growing. I think we were one of the core startups that was coming up as the CIC here opened, along with and Artist Republik. Nick from Artist Republic is still making things happen in Rhode Island, putting get-togethers in place for other founders.

I will say, what’s nice about Rhode Island is that we are a bit smaller than Boston, so we have more of a neighborhood feel in that way, you can really get in front of people here, for example the mayor of Providence might attend a startup event.

What is the best part about being a founder?

There are noisy times in the life of a company, especially right before and right after the fundraise, with lots of chaos and excitement. One of my favorite parts is when the dust settles and you can truly focus on just growing the team. The most rewarding part is when I get to spend the time with this team, teaching them about healthcare if they don’t know about it yet, teaching bits about technology to non-technical folks, and really just being able to lift everyone up, show them the vision and have them contribute to the vision.

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