Naji Gehchan: Hello, leaders of the world. Welcome to spread love in organizations, the podcast for purpose-driven healthcare leaders, striving to make life better around the world by leading their teams with genuine care, servant leadership, and love.
I am Naji, your host for this podcast joined today by Navin Goyal, a physician and entrepreneur who serves as CEO of LOUD Capital, an early-stage venture capital and alternative investment firm leveraging capital, entrepreneurship, and education to grow impactful companies across the globe. Bringing his physician training to do good for people, Navin strives to make venture capital more purpose-driven, inclusive, and accessible. Before co-founding LOUD Capital, Navin practiced anesthesiology in a large hospital-based setting and was the Medical Director of a community hospital for several years. The beginning of his entrepreneurial journey was co-founding OFFOR Health (formerly SmileMD), a venture-backed mobile healthcare company that expands access to care across the United States with a dedicated focus on lower-income and rural communities. Navin is also author of the book Physician Underdog where he shares more about his story and impact that we will also hear more about today!
Navin – it is such a pleasure to have you with me today.
Navin Goyal: Naji, thank you for having me. I appreciate the kind introduction.
Naji Gehchan: I’m so intrigued by your story from med school to being a clinician and now venture capital. Can you share a little bit more with us about your personal story and what’s in between the lines of this incredible journey of impact you have in healthcare?
Navin Goyal: Yeah, so let’s see if I can do a relatively abridged version. Um, you know, wanted to be a physician, went to med school, became an anesthesiologist, and that was my goal.
And so like many things, when you reach your goal, you’re, you know, uh, it’s great, but it’s not necessarily everlasting. It’s, it’s like, what is the next goal for me? I thought that was it. I was in a great private practice, had great partner. Uh, it was very fulfilled, but over time, um, like many physicians nowadays pretty openly say, you know, there’s a little bit of boredom that happens because you are an expert in your field.
Your learning curve goes a little bit more flat. And we are so used to learning so much information that when that stops, unless you’re doing a lot of other things in your personal life or, um, extracurriculars, um, you still yearn to learn more. And I was no different. I just didn’t know what that looked like.
So I started reading at the age of 30, I started reading books, which my parents told me growing up, read, read, read. I never was that kid. I was like, no, I don’t think I don’t like books. I only will read what I need to for school. So I started leisure reading and the age of 30, I know this sounds funny, um, and I got lost into some fictional stuff, but really got veered into the non-fiction.
Entrepreneurship and inspirational stories about people pursuing a higher purpose, leaving their place of comfort because they felt so strongly about something. During that time, I’m started angel investing, you know, investing in some startups locally here in Columbus, Ohio, where the startup scene was really starting to to heat up, and I got inspired by these entrepreneurs that I was investing in.
So they not only were companies I invested in, they were also now relationships that. Was very curious about, and I was trying to learn as much as I could. So that really opened up the world of entrepreneurship to me. And then in 2014, had the opportunity to start a company with, uh, two other anesthesiologists.
Uh, called SMILE md, which is a mobile anesthesia company. So the anesthesia part, we knew all the business stuff, everything around it. We did not, but it was comfortable enough for us to move forward knowing that there was many unknowns, but we, we had each other. We knew anesthesia and we all figure it out.
And so what I just said is not knowing some things and we will figure it. Is what I have embraced. And I think it’s really hard for us physicians to say that statement and act on it because many of us have followed this rigorous path, but this path was known and by the end of it, you will be an expert if you pass these, if you have some experience, if you do all these things, you will be an expert.
There’s no guarantee in the entrepreneurial world, in fact, most of the world, there’s no guarantees like. So I think it was embracing a little bit of that discomfort, having people encourage each other, learning along the way. And guess what? Now today, the company employs about a hundred people. We’re in several states.
We have insurance companies as clients, and, and, and it’s been nine years, by the way. So this is not something that happened overnight. But how we look at entrepreneurship is we built something that’s now serving kids all over the country. So over 30,000 kids. We’ve, um, done anesthesia on in various practices around the country, and we’re serving kids that were not being served by the hospital or medical systems around.
They’re so backlogged with other types of procedures, so I’ll pause there, but that’s, that’s one way that’s really empowered me in the world of entrepreneurship.
Naji Gehchan: Wow. Thank you so much for sharing this. You know, I, as we chatted a little bit before, I relate so much to what you’re saying also in the entrepreneurial journey.
It’s, it’s funny, it’s kind of, you know, our company we, we founded some while ago is also nine years. Um, and the impact that you’ve done for those 30,000, uh, kids, as you said is, is really so powerful. So it’s not only entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship with impact, and I think this is something that you’re taking now.
In your new venture as, as a c e o of, of loud. So I, I would, I would like to start with this, you know, every, like those two letters. usually create a reaction. You know, I, I won’t say positive or negative, but VC always has a reaction with entrepreneurs. Yep. And you’re leading an early stage venture capital, uh, firm, really focusing on good for people as I read.
So it’s not usually how the VC word I would say is perceived. So I’m really intrigued about your vision. and what are you doing in, in this VC word and
Navin Goyal: how you’re doing it? Yeah, it’s, it’s a, it’s a great question. And so continuing my story, my lens of entrepreneurship started out with building an impactful company.
So I told you we take care of a lot of kids and these kids, um, Are on Medicaid. So these kids have long waits at hospital systems, nine to 12 months, sometimes 24 month wait to get dental extractions. Okay? And so what our company does is we get that done within a month. We get it done in their community and the office that they were diagnosed in, and we get it done without them leaving their community hours away to a medical system waiting months, months, months, even years.
And we get it done. So, We are saving money on the system. We’re saving progression of disease. We’re saving, uh, time. We’re saving discomfort from the families, and we’re making it all work. And it’s actually an alignment of stakeholders. Insurance companies, patients, providers, physicians, you name it, are aligned.
And so what that does is it creates a light bulb moment of, wait a second, you can create something for profit supported by all these stakeholders. That are in alignment while employing great people, working really hard, purp, it’s very purpose driven. We see the results. So wait, wh why don’t we continue to support companies that are doing this?
And so as I was building, uh, SMILE MD and um, really talking about this all the time, so I would go to work. All I could do was talk about it. And I was also an angel investing. You can imagine people are like, Navine, what are you? . Like we’re we’re, we’re at this practice here, but I couldn’t stop talking and thinking about it.
So then people were like, how do I get involved in your world? How do I get exposure to that? I wanna learn some stuff. I want some energy. Wait, I have some capital. How do I invest in this world? So that’s where in 2015 I started a fund. It was more of an angel fund to invest in these types of companies because again, my lens of entrepreneurship.
Impactful driven companies. And by the way, there are companies that are out there that don’t necessarily move the needle on people or productivity or really solving a problem. It’s, let’s say selling a product that’s a little better than this product. And we’re trying to, um, take market share from another company.
Okay. And there’s opportunity to make money off those. And so what clicked for me is like, Hey, I want to make money. I want people to make. , but let’s also feel really good about it. And that’s actually why I sleep well at night because I am supporting and investing in companies that are doing good things for people like our family and our friends, and people I know, and that just feels really good.
So I just consider it a higher standard that traditional venture capital looks at. How can we make money off these companies? My lens is how can we make money off these companies while. Further supporting the people around us. And it sounds really simple maybe, but it’s not. And it doesn’t happen enough.
And that’s where I think VC gets a really. Bad name because there’s a lot of fuel that goes behind companies that really aren’t adding value, and they might make a ton of money or they might go up bankrupt. But either way, there was no value to society outside of maybe some wealthy investors. And so I want investors to be wealthy, but I also want them to know that their money went towards pushing things that they care about for their own families or kids.
Naji Gehchan: I love this. This is so, you’re saying simple, but as you said, I think it’s really complex and obviously the word is not there yet. So I, I’m intrigued by, you talked about obviously the profit side of things. Yeah. So the timeframe I imagine for those type of investment might not be the same. The KPIs you are looking for might not be similar because it.
only about profit. You’re actually looking on impact, actually profit for stakeholders. So I’m interested, like how do you look at these
Navin Goyal: things? Yeah, actually the, we’re not looking at different metrics in the sense of time to exit or acquisition. So if you think about relevant companies today in 2023, people care now about the purpose behind a brand.
They care about who’s behind the brand, what they stand for, more than ever, right? And so, For me, it’s having a culture and leadership and solving a problem that is relevant to me as a consumer or a customer that doesn’t slow down the process of an acquisition. In fact, to me it elevates it. And so what we’ve seen is we have an accelerated, uh, kind of record.
We have a great track record. We’ve had exits. Our first exit came after, uh, a company of four years. And so investors got, you know, capital back and people are happy. Yeah, I, I no longer have to prove anything with just my words. It’s been the action that we’ve taken. And, you know, today also there’s a lot more of, uh, a movement of emerging fund managers.
You know, newer fund managers, even if they’re operationally experienced or have great entrepreneurial backgrounds, they’re now running funds with more of this thesis of impact. Now impact used a lot, but the way I described it deeply into problem solving, deeply into I, I, I believe in servant leadership.
You know, I believe in investing in people who are gonna treat their own people well, not just the problem they’re solving. So it’s like this whole comprehensive model of supporting good companies, good people that employ good people, that serve people. And there’s money to be made and there’s value to be created.
Naji Gehchan: touching on so many incredible aspects, you know, it is really this podcast that’s built on this. So I’m, I, I’m really so honored to have you here and talk about this. You talked about culture. You talked about servant leadership, um, and these are things you look at and the company is really based out of purpose, right?
Like purpose driven companies. Yeah. So how do you put all this into perspective and what are the key aspects? I would say when you’re looking at the founding team and you say like, yes, this is a founding team that has those. and you wanna invest in them. Like how, what, what are the key aspects? You’re looking in the founders and what is the culture Yeah.
Navin Goyal: You’re looking for. That’s, that’s great. And, and it’s taken some time over the years to really pin it down to answer this question. Um, and obviously there’s, there’s, there’s chemistry, there’s ability to work with, with a portfolio company cuz when you meet a team or founder, And you decide to move forward after your diligence process, et cetera.
There needs to be a healthy chemistry to say, we can work together. Cuz basically you’re committing to each other for several years at least to say, we’re gonna be working and building this business. And, and by the way, the, the name loud capital came from being loud and active investors. Not silent investors because even people who write large checks, they’re either very busy or they look at this as a, an investment financially, you know, mainly, , I look at it again as holistically as you’re solving a problem, how can we help and, and, you know, knock down some obstacles alongside you.
So our, our team and our culture is very entrepreneurial. Um, and that’s what’s exciting that we, we, we don’t look at it as just an investment business. Um, and so in doing so, there’s, there’s a chemistry. Um, there is a humility that needs to occur. So really, if you think about really, really ambitious, intelligent, and capable people, Right.
If they have all that without humility, then they, their learning journey will not be as great. Uh, they probably won’t attract, um, as many people as they can. They probably won’t attract the right people, I should say. Um, there’s something, that connection that we have in our team, the chemistry, keep talking about, we are attracted to that humility because no matter what we do, our team members, like I have partner.
Hear at Loud that are brilliant. Like they, I, I’m, they inspire me and they teach me so much every day, but they have a humility to them. And I think that is a necessary thing to have in founders and teams. And by the way, there’s been some groups or some teams who we’ve realized don’t have that level of humility and they’ve come into problems because of that.
And sometimes it’s really hard to, to, to pinpoint what it was. But my, you know, after processing a lot of things for a while and we have over 70 portfolio companies now, and, uh, I’ve co-founded three, uh, four now. Um, you just learn a lot and you learn a lot about the people that run into more problems than others.
Now, because of the market, now because of your industry, I really think there’s a level of humility that’s needed to really excel, um, really in life. But I’m talking specifically in this.
Naji Gehchan: Well, thanks for that. Um, I’d love to learn more about, you know, you’ve been a clinician, you’ve done med school, you told us your story, and now, now in vc, is there kind of a common thread or common learning that you took with you throughout your journey that you would never change, or it’s something that now is part of your signature as a leader?
Navin Goyal: That’s, that’s interesting you say that. I just had a discussion for an hour before this, um, before getting on a call with you. Um, I believe I’m an empowered individual and when I reflect on the things I’ve done and the things I’ve tried and put myself out there, um, I’m empowered and I. . I am privileged to have had that early, and right now I’m trying to figure out how to pass that on more to other people, including my own kids.
I think when you’re an empowered individual, whatever situation you’re in, you have this hat on that says, I’m gonna try to figure this out, and I’m, I’m the one that can do it. I’m not gonna rely on someone, Hey, I can use help. I can ask for help. I can do all these things, but I can. and imagine empowered kids around the world this moment if every kid was empowered.
Um, how really these small things can, you know, largely change the world. Lar largely change what we think of ourselves and what we can do in our capabilities. And even if we fall flat, right? Like, that’s okay. I learned that I’ve fall, I’ve fallen many times, but I feel like the pressure we put on ourselves to not fall.
Is is silly. It should really be the pressure of staying down, right? We’re gonna fall, but don’t put pressure on yourself of, you know, Hey, I just fell. Well, let’s not think about it. Just get up and let’s keep going. So, , I think empowered is the word that has been with me, and I am grateful for it, and it’s taken me a while to really process it.
Uh, but my goal and, and even doing these podcasts, to be frank, is, is to talk so people hear this and feel like they can do it too, whatever they want to do. Small or big.
Naji Gehchan: Thank you, Navine. This is, this is powerful and I think it’s inspiring for, uh, many of, uh, our listeners. I, I would give you now a word and I’d love your reaction to it.
The first one is leadership.
Navin Goyal: Yes. Serving is, is what it, what comes to mind. ,
Naji Gehchan: can you tell us a little bit more how you would define
Navin Goyal: servant leadership? Yeah, yeah, and it’s probably interesting to give the context of that’s a, that’s a changed attitude for me. I thought leader, especially when I was transitioning out of my medical job into running loud capital, I really thought I had to know.
more than everyone else. I had to kind of walk into a meeting and really set the tone. I like. I had this pressure on myself of a leader being more of a top-down approach. Now I look at leadership as it’s really now about me. What I know, it’s really about the people that are in the room, what they know, and trying to aggregate that or accumulate that into.
Common direction. And, and in order to do that, you have to listen more, speak less. You have to be able to accept that more people around the table might run the meeting and talk. And you are sometimes chiming in and learning. You’re constantly learning. So I think, and then the other thing is serving, which, which is going to each individual in your organization or your leadership team if you’re a larger company.
And ensuring that they have all the tools, they are empowered and that they’re being heard so they can be optimized, content and fulfilled. And if they are, that will, that will increase their obviously fulfillment, but productivity, right? They’re at your, let’s say company, then they were, they are optimized and that will optimize their teams under them or around them.
And what that does as a leader, It optimizes you. It fulfills you. It be makes you become more productive. So it doesn’t start with you. It actually ends with you. And so in a line, I’m not the front. I’m the last. That’s why I think about serving.
Naji Gehchan: This is, this is really so great, you know, and as you were talking about it, I’m thinking like this transformation, right?
And when you get to transformational leadership, uh, as, as, as we grow, and I love going back to physician, right? I think mm-hmm. , sometimes as a physician, everyone looks at you and say like, you should know, right? Like, you are making decisions, you’re diagnosing. And suddenly here as a leader, I love how you framed it.
It’s about. Not what you know, but rather what people in the room know and how you’re gonna foster this and empower them to, to a better outcome for, for the company and the group. The second word I have in mind is health equity.
Navin Goyal: Yes. Um, health equity, what comes to mind, um, is the opportunity to be healthy for all.
And so, What I’ve realized is how much of a kind of privileged situation that I’ve grown up in even the hospital system. Um, I’ve seen a lot of variety of cases. It’s a very large hospital system, but what I didn’t know is how many people weren’t able to reach even the hospital system I worked in. And so one of the things that opened my eyes, um, Two is is, is health equity, where when we were building SMILE MD and we’re serving a lot of kids on, on Medicaid, and I would hear about these long waits and at the same time my, my two girls who are now 14 and 12 were young.
Um, I have private insurance and if they, something happened dental wise, I could probably get that done within a week by making a few phone calls because I had private insurance. And I was like, wait a second. What are the parents thinking right now of that child that’s waiting 12 months of this kid being in pain?
And they can’t do this. They can’t do the same thing. They can’t call someone and say, let’s get them in. And so to me that’s what health equity is in a very real practical level. We’ve been in so many, um, meetings where we’re building this company and we have to remind ourselves what we’re doing for these kids.
And I constantly think about my own kids and I’m like, why me as a parent? Why do I have a different avenue and accelerated avenue than other people? And you know, you apply that to so many things. Access to care in general, access to basic fundamental things of, uh, a safe home, nutrition, all these things that, that are contribute to health, mental health.
Um, that’s what health equity means to me. And I’m. Grateful to be able to participate in some of the change, but obviously we need more people and more eyes and more knowledge, uh, that the health equity spectrum is so bad. I can’t
Naji Gehchan: agree more with you. The third word is
Navin Goyal: innovation. Innovation. So it’s kind of a funny word cuz it’s used so much now.
I would say what comes to mind is fearless, so not having fear of trying something new, not having fear of breaking down a system that’s not serving us or serving the people We initially. Started this system for, um, and not being afraid to listen to everyone, because I feel like sometimes when it comes to innovation, there’s a circle or panel of experts , and who determines that?
We probably do, okay, you’ve done this, you’ve done this. Like for example, there might be someone out there one day that calls me an expert on something. As soon as they plant that label on me, I’m screwed. That’s, that’s not true. Like I’ve learned a lot, but I’m still one person with a bunch of silly ideas.
But, so as a, a 10 year old kid with a bunch of silly ideas, let’s put it on the table and see what sticks and try it out. So, so those are some things that come, uh, to mind with innovation. The last one
Naji Gehchan: is spread glove and organiz.
Navin Goyal: Spread love in organizations. Ugh. I love it. Um, so I believe in leading with love.
And so when we’re talking about, um, the example I gave you where I’m talking to someone in my company and I’m listening and I’m, I’m seeing how can they be better? How can you know, how can they be fulfilled? Like that is love. And if you apply that to everything, to organizations, to people you work with, to your employee, To, to people at home when you come from work that is leading with love, so that that’s what comes to mind.
Naji Gehchan: Any final word of wisdom, David? For healthcare leaders around the world.
Navin Goyal: Yeah. So I think when we, um, talk about healthcare leaders, we immediately go to the vehicle of clinical and hospital systems. But when we talk about the health of people, right? There’s so many factors there. And I’m gonna give you one example and, um, you know, there was a, uh, a panel I did for a group of college student.
Um, and one of the things, uh, it was a, a great discussion and I was a young lady who came over to me, uh, she was a first or second year in college, and she said, you know, I really love your story. I want to be a doctor. Um, you know, I, I love, just would love some encouragement. And I said, oh, that’s great. I’m like, you know, why do you wanna be a doctor?
And she said, well, I grew up really poor and my parents didn’t have great access to. So I want to be a doctor because I wanna help my family and I wanna help people like my family. And I said, that’s amazing. I’m like, going down the route of becoming a physician is not easy. It takes a long time, but you want to help families like yourself, like what you grew up in.
You know, there’s other ways to help people. Right? What about being an entrepreneur and building companies where you. Uh, deliver services. Take great people in hospital systems and go to your home. Um, improve the quality of, I mean, let’s talk about, you know, wifi, right? The internet and because there’s so many houses that don’t have it, have an electronics to be able to access care, access Telehealth.
Right, so my, my point is there are so many ways to help the health of people. It doesn’t need to be in a clinical vehicle. And so I encourage healthcare leaders to think that way, where if you can get a leadership role that doesn’t necessarily have to do with only clinical, you can positively impact. A more holistic picture, and that’s kind of what I talk about with venture capital and all these other businesses.
It doesn’t have to be clinical and the fact that we went through medical school, or let’s say we’re talking healthcare leaders in general, the fact that you have some clinical background to take care of people, apply that in other vehicles, right? You have that intention, you have some experience. Now expand that application to a much broader, in to much broader industries and corporations and organizations.
Naji Gehchan: Well, thank you so much, Navin, for being with me today and empowering us through your great words and experience. Thanks.
Navin Goyal: Thank you so much for having me.
Naji Gehchan: Thank you all for listening to spread love and organization’s podcast. Drop us a review on your preferred podcast platform
Follow us on LinkedIn and connect with us on spreadloveio.com. We’re eager to hear your thoughts and feedback. Most importantly, spread love in your organizations and spread the word around you to inspire others and amplify this movement, our world so desperately needs.