National growth drives HealthEngine

07/08/2017 - 15:20

SPECIAL REPORT: Two senior recruits reflect the growing size and changing focus of the Perth-based online business.

Marcus Tan (right) with Mark Hammond, who brings 15 years’ banking industry experience to his role at HealthEngine.

HealthEngine is still often referred to as a startup, but chief executive Marcus Tan prefers to call it a scale-up, and the business is changing to reflect that.

Having completed a landmark $27 million capital raising earlier this year – a feat unmatched by any other unlisted tech business in Western Australia – the online healthcare service has increased its headcount by nearly 30 per cent in the past three months.

It now has 130 staff, most of them in Perth, and still has 20 open positions it is seeking to fill.

To help lead the growth of the business, HealthEngine has added two senior executives to its team.

Mark Hammond, who has 15 years’ experience in the banking industry and London and Singapore, will return to his home town of Perth as head of technology, engineering and data security.

Mark Dick, who has worked for LinkedIn in Sydney and Silicon Valley, will be head of sales based in Sydney, where HealthEngine has 20 staff.

Mr Tan said recruiting experienced executives from large businesses would support the evolution of HealthEngine.

“In the early stages, when it comes to being creative and innovative, you need people who are less hierarchical, a bit quicker, a bit more urgent, nimble and agile in their thinking,” he said.

“As we grow, we need to build in practices that are more robust.

“It’s useful to get that perspective from people who have worked in those sorts of organisations.

“If you run lean and fast all the time, things will fall off.”

Mr Tan said Mr Hammond, who will head up a team of 30 engineers, would have a particular focus on managing data security and privacy.

“Mark brings a significantly greater level of technical experience, particularly around data security,” Mr Tan told Business News.

“We’re generating a lot of transactions now, so data becomes increasingly important.

“We brought Mark on to ensure our systems and infrastructure are scaled and robust, to accommodate the growth.”

Mr Tan said recruiting suitable staff was a perennial challenge.

“Finding enough engineering talent and product talent for a technology company in Perth has not been easy,” he said.

“Finding that sort of talent in Australia is hard enough, much less in Perth.”

Mr Tan said many technical people who had worked in mining companies or banks did not have the right mindset for HealthEngine.

“In Perth, there is not a great level of experience; there are some technically strong people but not with a great deal of experience.”

To try and address this skills gap, HealthEngine has gone to Seattle and Silicon Valley on the lookout for potential recruits.

“It would be great to import some of that skill set, that mindset and experience from places that are classically known for it,” Mr Tan said.

“If we are going to build Perth into an innovation or technology hub, we need to bring in those skill sets because its hard to know what world class looks like until you’ve seen it.”

Mr Dick was part of LinkedIn’s founding team when the business set up in Australia, and went on to spend several years in its global headquarters in Silicon Valley.

He will be responsible for growing HealthEngine’s national sales team.

“Our biggest market is on the east coast, so it makes sense to have him there,” Mr Tan said.

He said he would continue to focus on the overall growth and strategy for the business, while his co-founder, Adam Yap, would focus on being head of product.

“Our biggest focus now will be developing new products for our existing customer base,” Mr Tan said.

That would require more people in product development.

“You need to invest a bit ahead of the curve in that area but the core business tends to be quite scalable without needing more headcount.”

Mr Tan said HealthEngine had signed up about 4,500 doctors, dentists, physios and other medical specialists as paying customers.

About 1.4 million users per month visit the website to access and manage their healthcare services.


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