The other day I spoke with a former MasterPlans client named Derrick Love-Jones. Derrick is a Nurse Practitioner and the Chief Executive Officer of Nephrology Rounding Solutions, a company that provides contracted Nurse Practitioners who specialize in onsite patient care at dialysis clinics, primary care offices, and patients’ homes.
He recently raised funding to finance a major expansion of his business: the launch of The Kidney House, a new primary care clinic dedicated to serving dialysis patients. In fact, his investors responded so favorably to his pitch that he ended up raising even more than he’d originally asked for.
We had the pleasure of helping Derrick with his investor plan. He agreed to talk to me about his successful fundraising experience, but our fascinating (and inspiring!) conversation ended up covering much broader ground – what inspired the launch of his business, how he views its purpose, and even what motivates him to persevere in the face of challenges and adversity.
Tell me about the origin of The Kidney House
One of my jobs as a charge nurse was to find a primary care doctor for my dialysis patients. And it was the hardest thing to do. I got a lot of “dialysis patients are difficult” from primary care practitioners. What really got me was when one doctor said to me “Derrick, you really need to give up on this idea of The Kidney House, because these patients are dying.” Many doctors feel that it’s too late for these people; they’re already at the end stage of life. Without dialysis, they would die in a week. To me, that was an eye opener.
And it’s true that many are dying. But that doesn’t mean we have to give up on those folks. It’s not that doctors don’t care about these patients; it’s that they’re so overwhelmed. They’re not getting the reimbursements they need, health care is changing rapidly, it’s the perfect storm. But I’m going to battle that storm. There’s an old Jewish proverb that says “saving one life is like saving the world.” And I so believe that.
The Kidney House is my answer to the primary care provider gap. When my nurse practitioners are in front of those people, they no longer have to search for a PCP. Now, they can offer The Kidney House. And that’s what I love: knowing that I can send my patients somewhere that I feel good about.
How did your capital raise process go?
I had people interested in helping me out, but I hadn’t expanded because I didn’t have the funding to do it. You have to have money. I’ve had enough business experience that I know that you need a business plan. You cannot go to anyone for money – friend, family, a banker you’ve known for 20 years – unless you have some type of a business plan with understandable financial statements. I think I did my first business plan in the late 80’s, and I swore up and down that I’d never ever do it again. It was the most difficult, time-consuming, painstaking thing I have ever done in my life! And I consider myself a very astute person, I love to learn, I’m very disciplined coming from the military. And it was painful. I hated it. So I swore I’d never do it again.
I’m one of those people who does a lot of research. So a while ago I came across MasterPlans, and I read through your website, and I stored it in the back of my mind, knowing that me, I’m going to need a business plan again. Years later, here it came: a perfect opportunity for me to branch out on my own. I needed to put together something really nice to present this great idea, and MasterPlans was it.
I took the plan to the investors, and I pitched my whole idea of what I was doing and how I would tie in The Kidney House, and they were like “Wow Derrick, you have to do this now.” So they gave me more money than I expected. And now I’m in the middle of a remodeling project and hiring more people. It’s just so awesome. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.
What motivates you to do this difficult work?
When that doctor told me that dialysis patients don’t matter because they’re already at the end of their life, the machine is what’s keeping them alive, it just broke my heart. No one should have to be given up on. It totally changed the way I look at what I’m doing now. It’s no longer just a job for me; it’s a way for me to repair the world. My mom told me this, years ago as a kid: “Derrick, you’re here for more than just taking up space on this Earth. Before you’re born, before you can see, your spirit is standing before the Almighty and he gives you a mission to go down and repair the world.” She told me that one way we can do that is by taking care of our fellow man.
I truly have a passion about what I do. I have a passion about taking care of these patients. I will never forget it. And I tell my staff that, this is why we’re here. And it inspires them to take care of the patients the best they can.