Anthony Licausi | 2020 Executive Interview Series | American Association Of Professionals
Anthony Licausi, Founder and CEO of healthcare technology company FaceMyDoc, has been named in the American Association of Professionals Top 40 Under 40 for his success in business and his actions towards improving the world around him through technology.
Mr. Licausi’s journey began nearly two decades ago on Wall Street where he launched his career as an investment banker at a firm headquartered in the U.K. Starting with retail equities, he quickly moved through the ranks and gained experience in private equity, M&A and venture capital before eventually going out on his own.
We had a chance to sit with him for our Executive Interview Series and ask him some questions about where he’s been, the direction he is headed and what he thinks about the world in 2020.
From what I’ve read about you on LinkedIn, it seems like you have a very diverse background and a variety of talents. How did you go from working on Wall Street to being the CEO of a healthtech company?
You know that one comes up quite a bit and it’s interesting because I never planned on being in finance. You’re talking to a kid who couldn’t stand math (laughs) but I always loved computers and I started programming when I was 10 years old. When I got out of school all I knew is I wanted to make money…..a lot of money- the financial industry seemed like the way to do that so I decided to take my chances.
Now fast forward about 15 years- I’m working on my own, running my firm and we made an acquisition of a digital media company. One of the clients was a doctor who had asked if we could build him a custom patient portal- so rather than build it solely for him, we decided to build it for ourselves and license it to him and other doctors.
And that is what ultimately became your venture into the healthcare technology space?
Yes. Exactly. It’s a company called FaceMyDoc. Our flagship product is a cloud-based telemedicine platform that connects patients and providers from any device over a wifi or data-enabled connection.
How has COVID-19 impacted your business?
It’s just been absolutely nuts! Before the pandemic, we heard every excuse in the book. “I’m not good with software”, “I’m too old to learn something new” etcetera. Now, we can’t even onboard doctors quick enough. Everybody and their neighbor is looking to get on board with telemedicine.
Yes it seems we’ve seen a tremendous shift to remote work, remote video. What separates FaceMyDoc from your competitors?
Everything! (laughs) For one, we are the lowest cost provider with the best video quality in the market right now- and that can be verified by a book of testimonials from our users. This business is crazy, the healthtech business. And the EHR’s are the absolute worst! Between setup fees, training fees, support fees and software license fees, the cost for an EHR is $5-10k minimum just to get started! We don’t charge for any of that. Our providers just pay their monthly software license which starts at $99 and everything else is included.
What are your plans for FaceMyDoc going into next year? 5 years?
We have some incredible things that we are working on. We’re thinking bigger picture to incorporate other partners that play a role in the healthcare ecosystem so we can generate revenue at each point along the way, post virtual visit.
As far as a 5 year plan, we want to continue to scale until we reach a point where we can structure an exit. Whether that is done through an acquisition by another company or by leveraging the capital markets for an IPO, I’m still unsure.
I’m sure some of your colleagues from Wall Street can help you with that yes?
Absolutely! I’ve been very fortunate to have made a lot of friends during my time in finance and learned more than I could ever imagine. When I speak to the youth at colleges and universities, one of the things I always encourage is working in finance- for even a short period of time, say a year or two. The contacts they’ll make along with the things they will learn are extremely well worth it.
What are the topics that the students you speak with seem to be the most engaged in?
I’d say they are most moved once we discuss having passion and following their dreams. A lot of young people are misguided, following a path that their parents laid out for them which many times is not the same path they want to take. Many of them will pull me aside afterwards and ask me for career advice and my response is usually the same- a formal education doesn’t hold the same weight that it used to 15, 20 years ago.
With all of the volatility we’ve seen in the markets, the idea of job security went out the window. I remember in 2008 during the housing bubble when Lehman Brothers collapsed. You had people that worked there for their entire lives, had the bulk of their retirement in Lehman stock and wound up losing 90%+ of it almost overnight. Unless your going into a specialized field, say to be a lawyer, doctor, engineer or teacher, there’s nothing wrong with waiting to attend school. You can pursue your passions for a decade after high school, and if you don’t have it figured out by say, 28, 30 years old, then go get a degree. At least by that point you should be sure that you really want that political science degree!
Any other advice for the students that may be reading this?
Well the biggest one that comes to mind is that you don’t know everything. You don’t even know half of what you think you know. Just because you grew up with Google literally in your pocket doesn’t mean you’re a genius. Just as growing up on social media doesn’t automatically make you a digital marketing expert.
The arrogance among the younger generation actually blows my mind sometimes. Recently I had a doctor in his mid-thirties, about my age, connect with me on LinkedIn. I complimented him on his background and his immediate response was to ask me for a testimonial- we didn’t even exchange a conversation beyond my message and his reply! How could I give you a testimonial as a doctor when you’ve never treated me in a medical capacity, nor have we worked together or even studied together?! My point is, don’t expect things from people just because it may be easy or because they are capable of doing it for you. Look to see how you can offer something of value first, then ask for a return of the favor later. Stay humble, keep an open mind and go above and beyond in fulfilling your obligations.
We appreciate you taking the time to speak with us! Last but not least, where can our readers connect with you?