Shahbazi selected as an Entrepreneur of the Year
October 19, 2022
VANCOUVER – Well Health Technologies founder and CEO Hamed Shahbazi (pictured) has been chosen as one of nine EY Entrepreneurs of the Year for the Pacific Region. These nine Pacific Region winners will compete at the national awards celebration in November, where EY will announce the national winners, including Canada’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2022.
For his part, Shahbazi has a reputation for industry-leading ideas. After selling his payment-processing fintech startup to PayPal – for which he was named an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year in 2017 – Shahbazi redirected his efforts toward starting a digital health technology company in Vancouver.
It wasn’t exactly a pivot, given that he was taking pre-med courses at UBC before he switched to civil engineering in 1997. He claims to have always been one of those “health hacker type guys” that experimented with supplements and read about trends in the industry.
“When I first started the company, there was a real lag in the digitization and modernization of healthcare in Canada,” he recalls. “Part of that is because of a unique structure that we have, where we have a culture of encouraging doctors to open up their own practice.” As a result, the country has thousands of mom-and-pop outpatient clinics, many of whom needed help delivering medical services during the pandemic.
In fact, Well clinics were some of the few to remain open amidst the crisis. To that end, its CEO deems Well a “company that provides care for the caregivers.” With some 2,700 people on board, it supplies software, tools and solutions to help clinics and doctors keep up with a digitizing industry.
It runs virtual and in-person clinics with a suite of technology to support operations, including data protection services. Its practice management software is among the top three management systems in the country. Its digital patient engagement software helps with things like online bookings, medical check-ins and waiting room automation. According to Shahbazi, Ontario relies on its software for all e-referrals, and the company currently has 3,300 clinics and 15,000 practitioners using its electronic medical records products.
“About one out of every four physicians in the country touches the Well platform in some way,” Shahbazi says with a sense of pride.
Recently, the healthtech company has been trying to foster a team-based approach by bringing doctors from different disciplines together in the same clinic, like allied health professionals.
But when Well first started operating its clinics in 2018, the industry wasn’t exactly hospitable. “The feeling we got from [doctors] before was, I don’t really need you but I understand that you own this clinic or you’re developing software,” says Shahbazi. “What we saw during the pandemic is that they needed us. And they were very appreciative of the work that we did for them.”
Over the last two years, Well revenues soared from $50 million to $300 million. This year, the company is trending toward $100 million in EBITDA and over half a billion in revenue. Seven percent of the company’s business comes from doctors paying SaaS and service fees to use its tools, and 93 percent occurs when doctors decide to join one of Well’s virtual or physical clinics.
How the Winners Were Chosen
EY Entrepreneur of the Year is an annual global awards program administered by Ernst & Young (EY). For Canada’s Pacific Region program, EY selects judges from among local business leaders and past program winners. Judges evaluate the nominees based on several factors, including entrepreneurial spirit, value creation, strategic direction, national and global impact, innovation and purpose-driven leadership. These nine Pacific Region winners will compete at the national awards celebration in November, where EY will announce the national winners, including Canada’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2022. Details of the nomination process and judging criteria are available at ey.com/ca/EOY. Nominations are accepted year-round.