Peter Thiel Says He Looks For Platforms Big Amongst Small Businesses, Not Consumers

While plenty of platforms can go viral with consumers, VC idol Peter Thiel said today that he’s impressed by platforms adding legions of small businesses. Speaking at the healthtech conference hosted by electronic medical record platform Practice Fusion, Thiel explained “High paid sales people can get big companies, mass marketing can get consumers, but it’s difficult to get small businesses”. If you see a platform managing to sign lots of small businesses, it could be a winner. Investors take note.

Thiel continued that in addition to being hard to reach, small businesses have historically been resistant to change. To convince them, a product must be “a quantum step better” than their existing solution. He cited Intuit’s QuickBooks and PayPal for eBay sellers as examples of companies able to provide that drastic upgrade, and that subsequently succeeded.

In terms of areas where there’s potential to make those quantum steps, Thiel said “there are tremendous problems to solve in the developed world” specifically in healthtech. He followed that “the single lowest hanging fruit in the US” is in process automation.”The first step in automation is getting everything on a single platform. Practice Fusion has the potential to be the platform company in the electronic record space, and that’s going to be an unbelievably important place to be.”

Thiel is a top investor in Practice Fusion, which now hosts 25 million EMRs, more than any other company in the U.S. It followed his model, growing from 70,000 health care providers in April, to 100,000 in September, to 130,000 now. Part of his due diligence on Practice Fusion? “I talked to my doctor. He said ‘this represents a key improvement.'”

[Image credit: Andy Van Wart]