(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is another in our periodic spotlight of start-ups in Northeast Tennessee.)
By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
Spend a few minutes with Michael Rice, and you learn that the highly technical individual is not exactly your typical entrepreneur. In fact, he started the journey at a very early age and has not slowed down.
Today, Rice is a full-time Consultant, husband, father of three kids, and the Founder of an analytics start-up named IncrediMed. As the name implies, its focus is primarily on healthcare, a sector that Rice knows well from his years at Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA), although his start-up has several non-healthcare clients.
“We started IncrediMed as a population health management solution,” Rice says in explaining that he worked on a small decision support team at MSHA before moving into business intelligence.
“We had a lot of talented people on that team,” he says. “We had a unique culture at Mountain States. We developed a lot of our software internally.”
Most hospital systems outsource their software development or typically buy something from one of the large vendors. Both are expensive propositions, and Rice thinks there is a better option.
Starting with his belief that it does not take a massive team to really impact the bottom line of a healthcare provider, Rice has combined his skills and knowledge to launch IncrediMed and its core product offering named HealthBase.
“We’re trying to help change patient behaviors,” Rice told attendees at the most recent Startup TriCities “Pitches & Pints” event where he captured second prize. “With IncrediMed’s real-time predictive analytics engine, we are delivering better results and more clinically relevant information to doctors, caregivers, and patients.
Like many entrepreneurs who also hold full-time jobs, Rice says he works for a great company that is “super supportive of what I’m working on.” He travels every other week and focuses on IncrediMed at night and on the weekends.
“I’m looking for a strategic partner . . . a large healthcare organization that wants to affect healthcare outcomes,” he says in relation to more quickly scaling the business.
Rice brought IncrediMed to AccelNow, the regional entrepreneurial support organization, about 18 months ago. He’s been most appreciative of the support he has received from John Campbell and the team.
Managing multiple priorities is nothing new for the Florida native and East Tennessee State University (ETSU) graduate. Rice moved around the country with his parents and attended three high schools by the time he was a senior. That’s when the family moved to Johnson City, but the younger Rice did not relocate for his senior year. He was already working as a Network Manager at an Internet Service Provider (ISP) on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
“I had a very busy, non-traditional high school senior year,” Rice explains in noting that he became General Manager of the ISP at the ripe age of 17.
After high school graduation, he enrolled at ETSU but maintained his position with the ISP.
“I would leave Johnson City Thursday nights; drive eight hours to the Outer Banks; work Friday, Saturday and Sunday; then return to Johnson City,” Rice explains.
That routine lasted through his sophomore year until the company sold its ISP business, but retained a website development firm. Rice ran it until graduation from ETSU.