How NuevaCare Went From $0 to $3M and Sold After Just 4 Years
Kamran Nasser, Founder and CEO of NuevaCare in San Mateo, California is here to tell us how he built the #3 fastest-growing private company in Silicon Valley back in 2017. He ran NuevaCare successfully for just 4 years before he sold it — here’s the story.
Hey, this is Miriam Allred with Home Care Pulse, and you’re listening to Vision | The Home Care Leaders Podcast. The show where I chat with home care leaders about relevant topics providers want to hear. My guest today is Kamran Nasser, the founder and CEO of Nueva Care in San Mateo, California. Welcome to the show, Kamran.
Sure. I started thinking about started starting that agency in 2012 and I actually started the company in 2013. We were just coming out of of out of the great recession if you remember. And I actually used to do some real estate investing before that. So I, I pretty much lost a lot of money back then and I was looking to do something else to kind of like revive our life and get, get into something new. Did a lot of research looked at many different industries and home care kept coming up on my radar. And I did more research about the industry about the trends what it was all about. And I really liked what what I found out about both of the industry about the operations of the business. And so I became very interested in that and I looked at different different business models like franchising or starting like an independent home care agency. And I actually, I was very close to starting a franchise, but for, you know, for a variety of reasons, it didn’t work out. And and therefore I decided to start an independent agency. So in 2013 I actually started the agency. And so that’s kind of like a quick background in terms of when and how I got started.
Sure. So originally again, when I started the company, I really had little idea of how competitive the marketplace was. A lot of my research that I originally did was how great industry is and how much it’s going to grow and how much need for home care is going to grow. One thing that I don’t really remember focusing on was how competitive the, the marketplaces and I, and I found that out after I had started my agency, when I went to one of the group meetings in the Bay area there like a groups of home care agencies that meet every month. And I went to my first meeting and I noticed that there’s a huge room with hundreds of people there representing different home care agencies. And that’s the day I found out that there are more than 200 home care agencies in my immediate area.
So I realized that, wow, this is very competitive, a lot more than I had expected. So then it’s that you have to do something different. You cannot just offer the same services with the same caregivers. So I decided to kind of like position the company a little bit differently. And so the, the technology positioning was because we were really trying to make things more efficient, make things more streamlined. And we were one of the first people who started using clear care. We were one of the first original customers. And the emphasis on technology gave us a kind of like a differentiating factor. And, you know, later on, as we moved forward with this concept of differentiating ourselves with technology, we embarked upon different ideas and different innovations. Like we, we did a beta test for this device that was called Kubi, and that was in 2015.
It was a kind of like a video conferencing iPad that you could actually remotely move the iPad in the customers or in the client’s home to be able to figure out where they were and kind of like locate the caregiver. So that was like a, just a beta test. It, the company didn’t survive. They, they, they couldn’t make it. And but that was, that was just one of the ideas that we explored. And it kind of like put us on a differentiating platform from the customer’s point of view. So that’s really, that was a reason that, that I was forced to that the fact that there were so many other competitors, it was something that has to be different. And recently I read something which is really interesting. It’s it’s called different is better than better being better and being good and being excellent.
It is really hard. And part on that, because the problem is everybody else is also saying the same thing. So many agencies that say we are the best we have the best caregivers. We have the best rates. We have so many, you know, they’re all, they’re all best and better. So it is really difficult to compete on that basis. What really helped us was trying to just be different. And that I think put us on our path to being able to grow the agency really quick from 2018 to 2018, when the company was sold, we went from of course, zero to close to $3 million and was kind of like the corner stone of our marketing efforts being different.
And it has to be the right different. I have to imagine being technology-based home care resonated with the population there because in Silicon Valley, kind of the tech hub of the nation and being technology based home care probably resonated and appealed to the retirees or your, you know, your potential customers. Was that the case?
I have to imagine that that was the case because most of the customers, of course, most of the people who contacted us where the kids are, you know, the children of the clients that we had, the elderly, you know, it was really rare that we would get a call from the potential consultants. It was mostly their children and they were the ones, again, back in 2013, starting to feel more comfortable on online searches and doing the research online and getting, you know, finding resources on Google right now, it’s really kind of like, it is so typical that everybody does that, but seven years ago, he was still kind of like especially for health care and home care related stuff, it was just beginning. And one of the things that was really different about it, we’ve put a lot of emphasis on SEL and and being visible online. And that was, you know, again, that was one of the growth. So being here, I think it was it was a good fact that they the potential customers felt comfortable. The fact that, you know, we were kind of technology-based. Yeah,
Absolutely. Well, let’s talk about some of that rapid growth as I’ve read up on Nueva Care, read up on yourself, you know, Nueva care was the number three fastest growing private company in Silicon Valley in 2017. You’ve mentioned you just had the agency for four years, but you were able to drive such rapid growth in such a short period of time. So I’d like to talk about some of those key decisions you made early on that helped drive rapid and long lasting growth.
Sure. So the first year was extremely difficult. It was excruciating to grow the company has you know, many people know starting, starting any businesses difficult. So the year what I did was I tried every possible way to generate leads for the company. And that included all the types of online lead generation platforms. And I tried all of them, it, it kind of worked the conversion rate was really low and there was a lot of time that had to be spent on sorting through all these leads, good ones that could convert. So it was a lot of time spent, but a return on return on investment in terms of time was stripped bare. So, but that’s, you know, that’s what I had to try. I mean, I, I, I didn’t know anything better. And what kinda like changed was I hired a consultant consulting firm that really helped us focus our efforts on face to face marketing and understanding the home care referral sources.
And that was crucial. So the second half of the first year was really when we started really understanding that it, it, this is a, like a relationship business and it takes relationships to be able to generate leads from a referral sources. And that helped us, that kind of like that was the beginning of our growth path. And one of the other kind of like elements that I always focused on was marketing. So again, I was part of another group, another group of home care and other group that kind of like focuses on independent home care agencies. And this, this was a group that, you know, we met every month or, you know, whoever had a question we would post to to the group and we would get the answers. So one of the things I realized was that marketing was really important.
So I put a lot of emphasis on marketing and both face-to-face marketing and online marketing, since I did that. And I put a lot of emphasis on S E O and as well as referral source marketing, that’s when we sorta seeing the real growth coming in the second year and the third year. And one of the things that we focused on, which was really helpful is we introduced a art therapy program, which was really unique. Nobody else had that in the area that really helped attract potential customers who were suffering from Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. And they realized the benefits of this art program. And we got quite a few customers because program, and, you know, every, every custom home care agency economics is that every customer could really add tremendous amount of revenue to your agency. Especially if you get live in clients in the Bay area, it had become quite, quite expensive for living cases.
And, you know, one living client for six months could bring in close to a hundred thousand dollars. So it doesn’t take that many clients to, to create a, you know, a few million dollar agency so that our program actually attract a few living customers. And that kind of like, it just kind of like everything started feeding itself, feeding each other. It became like a, like a flywheel of success and the marketing the art program, the SEO, the client referrals the referral source marketing, all of that, starting feeding each other. And we just, you know, grew tremendously over the next three years.
Great points. I’m glad you introduced that art therapy program. I think finding creative or differentiating ways to stand out from the competition is so important. And that’s exactly what you did. You found a need and, and it became a differentiator and drew in new business, and that’s what really can fuel agency’s longterm. So I’m glad you brought that up. Also interesting, you know, referral sources versus online marketing with COVID the last 10 months now, it’s been interesting to see our industry shift from such a face-to-face personalized in-person industry to kind of more of an online adapted form of what we used to be. And it’s interesting to hear what your experience was seven years ago versus what we’re experiencing today. I think it’s really relevant.
Absolutely. I I’m in touch with some my old colleagues in the home care industry who still have their own agencies and they haven’t been able to go to hospitals or, you know, their referral sources for almost nine months now. So the whole, that whole landscape has changed quite a bit. Absolutely. You’re absolutely right about that.
Let’s, let’s move into selling your agency. You’re actually the first person on the show, like I mentioned, that is going to talk about the process of selling your agency. So I’m excited to learn from you and hear what you have to say. So how did that decision go? Why did you make that decision and how did that feel to make that big of a deal?
Great question. So so I didn’t make that decision. It was not my goal to sell the company, I think because of the fact that we were kind of like growing, becoming a more of a prominent agency in the area, we attracted a couple of much larger companies, much larger agencies with more of a national platform that they actually approached us to see if we were interested since I was developing an actual platform, a software platform, while I had my agency, I thought this would be a really good, possible exit strategy for me from actually running an agency to being able to fund my, my next company. So it was just great timing. I think it was, it was lucky that I was approached by these two companies. And so it, it was really not a decision that I had thinking about and I had been planning for it.
It just happened. And I took the opportunity and I decided that that was the right move for me to do. And and it took about six months to really go from the initial discussions to, to finalizing the transition. But one thing I recommend is for people, even if you don’t want to sell, see, run it as if you were going to, because once you have that mindset, then you always have clean books. You always have your net profit optimized, because when it comes down to selling it one day, every dollar profit you have, you’re going to get a multiple of that. So try to run your agency, your company, as efficiently as possible, grow it as fast as possible, because that also determines the the multiple that you’re going to get. So if you have that mindset, you actually end up with a much better agency than if you don’t have that mindset and you may end up selling your agency, or you may not. But the final outcome is that you will in a better position in the future in terms of finances, if you have that kind of a mindset,
That’s great advice. Now, now that you’ve kind of stepped back what, and I don’t know if you’ve followed that your agency closely as it’s moved forward, but what impact did selling it have on the actual clientele and the caregivers, if you’re willing or can disclose any of that information? Just what did it look like after that transition, how the agency stabilized after the matter?
I know that the, the clients were very well taken care of after the transaction the caregivers were actually in a better position because it was a larger company and they were able to get more benefits and then some even got a higher pay. So it was pretty much a win-win win all, all throughout the all the parties involved.
That’s great to hear. Well, appreciate your insights there really interesting stuff. Let’s talk a little bit about where you’re at now. You have moved on and started another company called Captiva8. Tell me about how that’s been going and what you’re looking to do with Captiva8.
Oh, sure. Yeah. So how Captiva8 got started was actually the last year or the year and a half off. When I was running my agency, we came up with a couple of ideas that really helped us again, grow. And those ideas were purely technology-based concepts. And when I sold the company, they they were not that in the transaction. You know, the buyer was not interested and we were not interested in selling that. So we kind of like packaged that. And I started that as a new company called Captiva8. And basically the idea was a very powerful chat application on our website, and then an app that we had developed, and we were generating tremendous amounts of leads just from those two tools. And the way the chat actually worked was that we had trained people behind the chat behind the chat line and 24 seven, they were able to help our website visitors help them convert them to, you know, leads and clients.
And that was extremely helpful because when I looked at statistics, I realized that 90% of your website visitors don’t stay longer than eight seconds on your website. They’re going back and forth that we all do that. We all do that. When we do online research, we find something and we go back, can we look at something else? And we go forward. And then we go back. Obviously that’s what they did when they were looking for home care. But with the concept of a, of a really high quality chat, we were able to engage them before they’d left our websites. And through that, we were just able to generate more and more leads for, for our agency. And then we kind of like develop that idea into an app, which we started using with some, our referral sources. And, and they really liked the idea of that as well. So when I sold the company, I packaged these two things and now we call them captivate. And we have fully developed the, the concept and we were actually working with beta customers right now. We have a few beta agencies that are testing the system. We want to make sure it works. We want to make sure we are actually delivering results. And hopefully by January or February of 2021, we will go live and an offer to, you know, to the general public which is, you know, home care agencies.
Thanks for listening to this episode of Vision. If you’d like to learn more about Home Care Pulse, and how we help individual home care agencies visit our website homecarepulse.com. Thanks again, and we’ll see you next time!