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October Power Lunch: Serial Entrepreneur Philip Kurtz On Navigating a Graceful Exit  Written by Lori Williams

September 25, 2019 3:18 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

After a 30 year journey, Philip Kurtz found his exit. 

“When I got to CareATC,” says Kurtz of the company he recently exited, “it was like everything I’d done in my life had prepared me for this particular job. I believed if I could blend a lot of the tools I’d learned over the last 30 years, I could have a major impact.” 

Those skill sets enabled Kurtz to grow a successful population health management company. At the October 9 OVF Power Lunch, he will outline key stops that need to be added to your itinerary long before you reach your exit. The easy to remember checklist includes momentum, market, and management. 

“Your company must have momentum,” says Kurtz, who describes CareATC as a growth company. “I spent a lot of time on due diligence before I arrived at CareATC and the company wasn’t doing too poorly. But they didn’t have a lot of disciplines in place.”  

So Kurtz set about implementing a budget and producing financial statements. By doing so, he was following an important ‘rule of the road.’ “One of the lessons I’ve learned is stick to what you know. When you stray from what you know, you may think that you can know it, but if you don’t have the time to learn it, you make a lot of mistakes.” In Kurtz’s case, staying with the familiar meant utilizing accounting practices as well as skills in data analytics applied to the health care field. (Two prior companies, Benefit Informatics and CIS Technologies, laid the groundwork for his most recent venture.)  

Kurtz’s efforts put CareATC in the fast lane; today the population health management company cares for more than 250,000 patients through its partnership with 150 clients in 35 states. “The time to exit your company is when it’s in a growth mode,” says Kurtz. 

Timing is also critical in another key area. “Investors want to see a big market,” says Kurtz. “If you are outperforming your peers, it drives strong valuation for your exit.” 

So how big is CareATC’s market? It’s not all about the aforementioned statistics. CareATC tailors health care to the specific needs of employees. When CareATC partners with a company, it reduces the overall costs of healthcare while providing on-site clinics that offer opportunities for disease prevention and/or intervention. How many employers would like to save money while promoting a healthier workforce?   

But before the momentum can be increased and the market can be addressed, management needs to be in place. This is another area where Philip Kurtz likes to stick with what he knows. “I’ve made really good friends with my management team,” he says. In fact, some of them have accompanied Kurtz on his 30 year journey. 

“Everyone’s heard that with real estate, it’s all about location, location, location,” says the serial entrepreneur. “Well, when investors are looking at your business, it’s all about management, management, management.”  

“If investors see chemistry in your management team, it’s infectious. That’s how important it is.” 

“I’ve been in several companies,” says Kurtz. “A graceful exit from one company helps you establish credibility with the financial community.” 

“What that means is it’s a little easier to get capital when you go back and knock on an investor’s door. Plus, other people are interested in coming on board.”  

The exit from CareATC is bittersweet for Kurtz, who admits, “It’s hard to leave because I still have so much passion for the company.” 

“But I want to spend time with my family. And I am pleased that the exit was successful and our investors received a very good financial return. The time to leave a company is when you would rather stay.”  

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