Michael Serbinis is the founder and CEO of League. He is known as an inspirational leader and entrepreneur who has built transformative technology platforms across many industries. Serbinis founded League in 2014 with a vision to make health care more consumer centric and personalized. Prior to League, he founded and helped build Critical Path, DocSpace, and Kobo.
Health Evolution interviewed Serbinis about his inspiration for founding League, his greatest achievement as CEO, and what he thinks are health care’s great challenges in the coming future.
What is the inspiration fueling League or its origin story?
I started League eight years ago with a vision for the future of health care – one that was consumer-centric, personalized, digital, and always on. So many of my friends and family observed the same thing I had, that the consumer experience in health care was lagging behind so many other industries. And as an entrepreneur and someone who was passionate about health, I knew I needed to solve this problem.
In a world of data silos, point solutions, and custom development, organizations undertaking health care customer experience (CX) transformations just haven’t been able to keep up with consumer expectations. I saw a real opportunity to accelerate the digital transformation of health care through a different approach. Just like shopify was for e-commerce, Netflix for entertainment, or Airbnb for hospitality, I knew there was a need for a common infrastructure, like there was in other industries. A platform that could seamlessly integrate all programs and services and bring together siloed data to orchestrate personalized, high-engagement health care experiences.
Over the last decade, I have built several platform companies in many different industries from cloud-storage to e-reading that have been used by over 1 billion consumers, and I knew health care needed the same.
After founding companies in the cloud-storage and e-reader industries, what inspired you to focus on health care?
From email servers to cloud-storage, and e-readers to health care, every company I’ve founded has had one thing in common – they were all rooted in experience transformation. Taking an often cumbersome and fragmented consumer experience and redesigning it for engagement and scale.
When I started League, I knew that there was an opportunity to bring my expertise to health care. An opportunity to redesign the consumer experience for digital engagement at scale. And, for an entrepreneur like myself, who is driven by impact, League was a chance to build a generational technology company. One that could really drive transformational change and impact the lives of millions.
What is the most difficult challenge you have overcome since founding League?
The first deal or customer was undoubtedly the hardest. At that early stage you just have so little of your technology built out and you really need belief in your vision. You need to find those true innovators and change agents. Prospective customers, employees, and investors… everyone needs to be bought in. However, as time goes by and the business matures, getting the 10th or 100th customer by comparison is much easier. The risks diminish and there’s far less belief or imagination required to buy into your vision.
When we started to paint the picture of a health care CX platform, the world was going through a crisis. COVID-19 presented some urgent and specific gaps, point solutions and things like virtual care were at the top of everyone’s list. But we chose a different path. Our path has always been rooted in platformization. And that made it a lot harder to get funding and to scale. It has not been easy, but that is the story typical of platforms. It’s not easy for a long time, and then you get that first deal, and then your 10th and suddenly it becomes easier every day.
What should prospective clients expect in the next 18 months? The next 2-3 years?
League customers can continue to expect a robust innovation funnel. We have spent just over $100MM on R&D since we started and plan to continue that investment trajectory. We are particularly focused on enabling platform customization for our customers via the League Developer program. Customers can expect more data and back-end integrations to League’s capabilities to expand what they can plug their own solutions into. Our vision is to ultimately enable a developer ecosystem through the creation of a 3rd party marketplace where developers, partners, and customers can integrate solutions into their apps seamlessly.
A hot topic in the industry today is generative AI in health care. And we are starting to work closely with partners like Google to develop some health care specific products and use cases related to generative AI to better support our customers in this space.
What advice would you give to other CEOs and founders?
I’m preaching to the choir when I say that health care is complicated and complex, but for me the natural extension of that insight is that no one can do this alone. Successful CX transformation requires an ecosystem. Build yourself or join an ecosystem of partner innovators that drive value, accelerate time to market, and minimize risk.
How is League shaping the future of health care in care delivery redesign?
We know that health care consumer experiences today are complex, fragmented, and siloed – an experience powered by League helps break down these barriers and redesigns the entire care delivery process to encourage patient and member engagement. League’s platform delivers on this through –
- Open architecture, which allows customers to integrate all digital properties into a connected ecosystem.
- Interoperability, which allows for the application of FHIR-based standards for real-time data ingestion and sharing.
- Data-driven capabilities, which allows customers to provide proactive, relevant, and actionable next steps for each individual consumer.
- Composability, which allows customers to own, control and modify the consumer experience to adapt to market and consumer needs, while remaining evergreen.
- Future proofing, which allows customers to create a strategy that’s built to scale and will drive long-term innovation.
The result? A health care consumer experience that makes it easy to access, navigate and pay for care.