BOSTON: Health insurance startup Oscar Health’s former communications head Khan Shoieb has launched an agency called Cycle.
Shoieb left Oscar at the end of August to launch Cycle. An Oscar representative said the company has started a search for a new head of comms.
Shoieb located Cycle in Boston because he is starting his MBA at Harvard Business School.
Cycle aims to help founders of early stage healthcare startups "make the best decisions for their company, taking into account what is going on in the media industry and what is going on with their business," said Shoieb.
Comms plays an important role in business development, fundraising, and customer acquisition for a lot of early stage healthcare startups, Shoieb added. The problem, he explained, is this work often gets outsourced to agencies that aren’t experts in healthcare.
"Healthcare is a very wonky, regulatory-heavy industry," said Shoieb. "You have to be intimately familiar with the details, and it is really jargon-heavy."
Cycle offers strategic advisory services, assistance with public policy and regulatory issues, and helps clients understand how to "frame a company" when it is emerging from stealth stage, and how to introduce a new product and frame a partnership.
"Moments that achieve great publicity are few and far between for healthcare services," said Shoieb. "They have to get that right because it impacts early business development and early customer acquisition."
Shoieb joined Oscar Health in 2016. In mid-August, Google parent Alphabet announced it is investing $375 million into Oscar, which has been selling health plans under the Affordable Care Act since 2013.
The company plans to use the funds to help fuel its entrance into the market for privately administered health insurance plans for seniors, known as Medicare Advantage, in 2020, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Shoieb said that, over the last two years, he has helped position Oscar as "the most innovative healthcare startup in the industry."
"You can’t work at Oscar Health and not feel the fire to start your own company," said Shoieb. "There is an infectious entrepreneurialism at Oscar."
Prior to joining Oscar, he spent two years working for Stu Loeser & Co., first as VP, then as principal.