We’re kicking off 2017 with our interview with Bill Neill, Chief Strategy Officer for the recently launched Carex Consulting Group. Carex provides enterprise staffing solutions for startups to large-size companies specializing in health tech, project management, and information technology.
Tell us a little bit about Carex Consulting Group, what made you decide to launch it, and how it’s different from other staffing firms.
Carex was launched just recently, in December 2016, by myself, Mike Heller, and Rachel Neill. Rachel and I both worked most recently as an executive and consultant, respectively, at Nordic Consulting, and Mike was most recently the VP of Information Technology at Data Dimensions in Janesville.
We founded Carex because we saw a gap in staffing in the healthcare market around health tech, project management, and IT. There are other staffing firms in town that can find you an adequate implementation manager, for example, but as an employer, you’re going to have to spend a lot of time explaining the various intricacies around health tech and healthcare, as well as industry-specific standards and regulations around things like HL7, HIPAA, and cloud-based interfaces. We understand this industry and the talent side of the equation very well and have worked in it as employers and consultants for many years, so we can pull in talent specific to your business model and help shorten that ramp-up period of getting a new employee or consultant on board.
We also offer a more transparent business model than most staffing firms, which tend to have this very opaque system where they get the customer to pay as much as possible and pay the employee or consultant as little as possible. For consulting, Carex takes 1/3 of the bill rate and for full-time placement we take 20% of first year salary. That’s less expensive than the standard for this industry, but it’s something we can offer thanks to our specific backgrounds, expertise, and lean management strategy. Combined with finding talent that is tailored to their needs, our lower pricing structure helps us create a better partnership with our clients.
Why is Madison the ideal home for Carex, and what has the response been like to your business so far?
Madison has an incredible talent pool when it comes to health tech, project management, and IT. There’s a wealth of people here with those skill sets, and we thought there was an opportunity to build a diverse and talented ecosystem for healthcare here. And there are many great healthcare companies here looking for talent.
Our plan was to concentrate on servicing Madison and working with the talent here, and then phase two was going to be to find other skill hubs around the country and start doing something similar there. But in addition to working with clients in Madison, we already have clients in Milwaukee and Chicago, and we just signed a client on the east coast. I think that speaks to the need for us to own the talent side of health tech—it’s clearly a niche that’s underserved. We also anticipated we’d have more demand for consultants, but we’ve been surprised by the need for full-time talent. It’s all grown very organically, almost entirely by referral.
What’s the single most important change you’d like to see to encourage more innovation and entrepreneurship in our community?
I’d like for Madison to tie into the talent base here more by providing more opportunities for things like joint ventures, joint tech councils, and community forums. I’m originally from the San Francisco area and witnessed the tech boom of Silicon Valley right outside my back door. Part of that boom was the free flow of ideas—sharing those ideas and morphing them. There are so many bright people here with great ideas, but not all of them are extroverts who are going to share these ideas without the help of some mechanism or forum to do it. There’s great potential for expansion here in Madison, but we also need more of the big players to develop innovation and venture arms to foster this more open ecosystem.
Specific to the healthcare industry, there’s this very “vogue” notion of non-competes, so I also think we need less restrictive non-competes to help make this flow and sharing of ideas possible. When you look at a company like Salesforce, which is very ecosystem-driven and wants everyone to buy their platform and know how it works, it’s a 180 from what some of the vendors are doing, where they want you to purchase their tightly controlled platform and use it in a very specific manner. I think talent flow is a factor of that business model. The good news is that the healthcare industry is still booming and the talent of people is growing along with it. It’s an employee-friendly market and we’re seeing more healthcare companies courting talent. That’s been a big “aha” for me, and I think it can only help create an environment of more sharing and openness.
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Wisconsin WOMEN Reception
Women. Opportunity. Mentors. Entrepreneurs. Networking.
A special reception dedicated to the unique and lasting impact of WOMEN in Wisconsin through their expertise, commitment and purposeful influence on the business climate in the state. This 2nd annual event is the kick-off to 2016 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium. Men and women alike are encouraged to attend.
This year’s distinguished speaker will be Dr. Eve Hall, President and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin. Dr. Hall was recognized as “Woman Executive of the Year” by Biz Times for her work in reviving the chamber. She will speak from her perspective as a woman and CEO on the challenges and opportunities facing women in today’s business climate. Dr. Hall will also talk about her perception of the progress of women and minorities as business owners – two of the fastest-growing groups of entrepreneurs – and what needs to happen in the state’s largest cities to provide more opportunity for all.
Join us in an evening of getting to know Doyenne members and networking with other women professionals while enjoying food and beverages. This event is open to Doyenne Members as well as Community Members. Your ticket price includes entrance for 2 people, so bring a friend to come learn about Doyenne and meet other local women entrepreneurs. Make sure you bring your business cards, flyers, brochures and a friend!
Miranda Rochol of Bags for Kids will speak about her experience as a entrepreneur and running a local non-profit supporting kids.
Schedule of Event:
6:30-7:00 Presentation from Featured Member
Tickets can be purchased using Paypal or select cheque to pay at the event via credit/debit card, check, or cash (please bring exact amount)
In our continuing series on Madison Leaders & Influencers, we chat with Taralinda Willis, co-founder of Curate, a web scraping platform that combines artificial intelligence and automation technologies to deliver comprehensive answers to business intelligence questions.
Tell us a little bit about Curate and what made you decide to found it.
Curate was founded when my co-founder, Dale, and I were part of the gener8tor accelerator program and realized that the company we had been working on, unfortunately, wasn’t gaining any traction. gener8tor asked us to think about what other knowledge and skills we had to start something new. Dale, who was working on his PhD in Computer Science at the time, has experience in web scraping technology, and we looked around the marketplace and realized no one was using artificial intelligence in web scraping. We decided to pursue that path, and that’s how Curate was born.
The artificial intelligence piece allows us to provide more contextualized and relevant results to our clients, and also allows us to report changes in data over time. We’re also working on developing natural language processing to better query and search for data, which will be another advantage we have over competitors.
What’s been your biggest surprise in launching a start-up?
This isn’t a very exciting answer, but I was surprised by how challenging it can be to find regulatory laws and follow them. Everyone talks about fostering small business and innovation, and that’s great, but there’s this really practical piece with following the regulations that’s surprisingly difficult. Also, finding the right product for the right fit with the market is a challenge. Mark McGuire [serial entrepreneur and Managing Director of gener8tor Minnesota] references that quote about how being an entrepreneur is like jumping off of a cliff and building the airplane on the way down, and it really is like that.
How has launching in Madison contributed to Curate’s development, and what changes would you like to see here to encourage more innovation and entrepreneurship?
Dale and I both went to college in Madison, and we fell in love with the city. We’ve continued to stay here because Madison is getting better and better every day for entrepreneurs. We feel really good about the connections we made after going through the gener8tor program. I don’t think that most people realize what an asset gener8tor is to our community and its entrepreneurial growth.
I do think Madison has some work to do in building its network and support of entrepreneurs. There are lots of people here beyond gener8tor doing really incredible things, including Madworks and Starting Block. The entire community should support these endeavors and help launch more businesses. Attracting and retaining top talent is what makes Madison so incredible.
Visit Fine Point Consulting for more information about the great tools and services we use to help startups and nonprofits succeed.
Meet the newest Fine Point Consulting staff and learn a little bit about what makes them tick.
Tell us a bit about your role at Fine Point and what you like best about working there.
I started in January of 2016 as a staff accountant, so I work on accounts payable and receivable, reconciling statements, running payrolls, and that sort of thing. I’m actually working on completing my BS degree in Accounting at Edgewood College and finish up this Spring. I was looking for an internship-type position and a mutual connection who knew Luella told me about Fine Point. I really like the relaxed environment we have here and the ability to learn about a variety of companies that are in different stages of development. Plus the fact that we work largely with more casual start-ups means we have a casual atmosphere and dress code, too. (I have one co-worker who got teased by a client for wearing a suit!) Fine Point also has a really open environment for learning and sharing information.
(Fine Point Owner) Luella is a big reader. Any favorite books, blogs, or podcasts?
One podcast I’m enjoying at the moment is called Surprisingly Awesome. It’s two guys and one guy will come up with a topic that’s often considered boring (think adhesives, pigeons, broccoli), and over the course of an episode will try to convince the other guy that the topic is not boring by talking about the history and just random facts about the subject. I like random trivia, so I think it’s really interesting. The episode about concrete, for example, talked about the history of concrete and how it impacts our society, and how many fatalities from natural disasters are actually “concrete disasters” in that the cement or concrete used in construction is often not up to standards.
When you’re not working, you…
I do quite a bit of woodworking. My family has a Christmas tree farm, so I work on the farm and we mill all our own wood. I’ve made tables, cutting boards, and benches. I also like to garden, and I play a lot of sports, mostly pickup soccer and basketball games.
Visit Fine Point Consulting to learn how our knowledgeable staff can help your business succeed.