The following is an interview conducted in December 2020 in which Pamela Badham spoke to Doctorpedia investor David Reichmann about his involvement with the company. The text has been slightly edited for clarity.
PB: I just wanted to ask you, first of all, about your relationship with Doctorpedia?
DR: I came on board with Doctorpedia in early 2018. It has been my largest investment to date, I think I’ve invested a million dollars. I’ve taken not a passive role, not an active role, but somewhere in the middle. I’m a little bit hands on in what is going on and what has been going on.
PB: Can you tell me what attracted you to Doctorpedia? Why have you chosen to invest in that business?
DR: Firstly, and foremostly: the concept. I think there is a big need for it. There is no question, medicine and internet are significantly growing fields. We all need – whatever age, whatever size, whatever denomination – we all need information and there is never really enough. There was just genuinely a lack of good quality information. There is so much fake information out there, as we know, and I felt that we were coming from a good source. That’s number one, the concept I believed in from day one: two and a half thousand websites addressing each condition individually.
I am an investor in various other organizations. Where I live, in Israel, I’m very closely involved with one or two of the biggest investment funds that there are in the country. Being involved with those organizations I have learnt and seen and witnessed that in the start-up nation in which we live, the best ideas will often fail if they haven’t got the right people at the top running it. The converse is true as well, even the most plain ideas could be very successful if the team at the top has got the energy and the drive.
Secondly: I believed very much in Jeremy from day one and I’ve considered, noticed, and am convinced of his capabilities today. He’s got tremendous drive, tremendous capability, a good understanding. He’s also to date been able to connect with very valuable connections – he’s a good connector. There is no question that the quality of the people on board – in terms of the doctors on the advisory committee and doctors who are providing videos – have been absolutely first class. You can’t get better. So, that’s a second key reason.
A third reason: I was attracted to Doctorpedia as an investment. As a businessman, I always like to look at the downside. What’s my downside as an investor? Here, I look at a company which actually, like most start-up companies, has an arbitrary valuation. It’s normally based (like the stock market works) on hope value, what will be further down the road. But with Doctorpedia, there is actually a database of thousands of videos, quality made videos, which have even been improving over the years. I know from my own personal involvement with large international corporations that these videos have had a price on the market.
So, the video content, together with the two and a half thousand websites that we own (some of which we’ve been offered six figure sums for) underlies the value of the asset. In the worst case scenario – which I’m much more confident now we’ll never get to (and I was when I got involved) – the break up value of the company would realize, I think, at the very least the investments that we have all made. That’s the doomsday scenario. It’s just nice to know, as an investor, you’ve got a solidity there.
But the concept has been proven, the concept works, and there’s a desperate lack for it out there. The competition is good, which is great – it’s never good to be in a market when you’re on your own. It’s good to have good competition out there, as it keeps you on your toes. We are continuing to grow and to make great strides going forward. I’m very optimistic.
PB: That’s brilliant. So, can you tell me a little bit about your involvement with Doctorpedia? Is it an active or passive role? How might Jeremy look to you for advice and what does that relationship look like?
DR: Before the pandemic, we – the directors of the company – were actually in three countries: the States, a couple of directors in the UK, and myself over here. Here in Israel, we used to try and make a habit of meeting every couple of months and having an intense three days to go over everything. Obviously, in between that were the emails and phone calls on issues that we felt relevant to catch up on. Since the pandemic, that’s not been possible. We’ve got a fairly loose every second week zoom meeting between us to catch up on major issues. But aside from that, if I look at the email inbox between us, that sometimes can run into several dozen emails on a daily basis of ongoing issues. So, I call that actually quite hands on – I am quite involved.
As an investor in other companies, I haven’t heard from them for months. I don’t even know what’s going on unless I’ve asked. I chose to take this role in Doctorpedia because I see lots of potential areas. When I first got involved with Jeremy, my particular interest was getting involved with insurance companies, who obviously have their databases of 10s of millions of people, and providing services that hitherto are not getting, which can benefit the insurance companies. For that reason and other reasons, as some experience with my grey hair shows that I’ve been around for a while. I’ve wanted to be able to provide input and support to Jeremy, I know Jeremy values that.
PB: Can I ask how you met Jeremy?
DR: I actually know Jeremy from years ago, from when we both lived in London, before he lived in LA. He’s from Northwest London – and actually funnily enough, I know him from various connections going back probably 20 years ago. Before he was in Doctorpedia, amongst other things, he was an SEO expert. If you’re aware of that, that’s his background actually. He had another company helping companies go up the SEO charts and get onto page one of Google. So, actually he did some work for some of our businesses, I think around 10 years ago, in the UK and we stayed in touch.
It was sort of a natural progression when they reached out to me and needed some serious funding in early 2018. That’s how I got on board.
PB: Is there any sort of synergy between the various companies that you invest in? Is there a particular type of company that you like to invest in other than for the reasons that you’ve explained to me? For example, there’s been quite a lot of coverage in the press about ethical investments, and motives and rationale behind investments. And I just wondered, from your perspective, and in a broader sense, what might motivate you as a person to invest in a company?
DR: Firstly and foremostly, I’m a businessman. So, I tried to make an investment on the basis of making a return. One of the funds that I’m invested with here in Israel is a sub fund of an organization called Pitango. Pitango is the biggest investment fund here in Israel. They have a sub fund called ‘Impact First’, and as the name suggests, it’s investing in companies that make an impact in the world. I try to get involved with things which I think are positive for mankind. So, for example, I wouldn’t invest in a gambling business or something like that. My investment portfolio is a bit diverse, but it’s generally things which I think that are positive businesses and positive advancements potential for mankind.
PB: That’s really good to know. And can I ask you when you got into investment yourself?
DR: I moved to Israel six years ago from London. I’m born and bred in London. My main business is still in the UK, although I’ve been in business in Israel for 15 years. My name is in the property business. I’m a developer, and investor, and have been doing that for a long, long time. Already in London, I started getting approached about various investment opportunities. I didn’t get involved in it too much since I moved to Israel, and more importantly, since the Brexit days where our main business property business became really quiet, I found myself having a lot more time and funds. Israel, in particular, is really a start-up company environment and there’s opportunities that literally can hit your desk on a daily basis. It became difficult to resist that way. Almost like the kid in the sweet shop, I got involved in a number of things and met some tremendous people and have no regrets. Looking across the portfolio with what I have been doing, there are some serious potential opportunities which are going very well. So, I’m happy to have fallen in, feet first.
PB: I just wanted to ask as well, in terms of next steps in your vision for the company, and anything you’d like to comment about it in terms of looking forwards with regards to Doctorpedia. What are your thoughts?
DR: I think that Doctorpedia, like every start-up company that I’ve seen, and everybody else would have seen, suffered in the early years from the same problem that every start-up company suffers from – that there’s never enough cashflow to really go ahead and do what we need to do. For example, we were shelving loads and loads of doctors that wanted to make more and more videos – but that was not the priority. It was a question of, “we can afford to do this, but we can’t afford to do that.” So, we were chugging along instead of being full steam ahead.
I think the opportunity now being created to actually properly fund the company is going to give us the opportunity to really expand at an exponential rate, which we should be expanding.
So, I think that we are at probably the most exciting chapter in our history now, because we’ve got so much solidity. We’ve got such a good team of people across the board, good medical experts, we’ve got good quality, we’ve got a good concept.
Now we see the opportunity with some serious funds coming in to be able to properly ramp up and achieve in the next six to twelve months, what a previous rate could have taken several years. So, I think we’re at a pivotal and exciting stage of the growth of the company. We have only scratched the surface of what we can potentially do.
PB: That’s incredible. Can I ask as my final question, in terms of your investments, how and when they had been made? Was it in one lump sum? Or have you made gradual investments over the course of the last few years?
DR: For Doctorpedia, I made primarily the main investment during a period of a few months from when I got involved in early 2018. Then there were a couple of periods later, and I don’t remember exactly how long, where there was some smaller amounts that were topped up. But primarily the main investment I made was early 2018. It was a significant sum for the company at the time, and still is, and enabled the company to go a long way prior to it being ready to do a lot of the things we’ve just spoken about, but to get itself to a position where it could then do those things. But of course then, by that time, the funds I put in had run out and we had to seek other investors – which we did – and now we are ramping up.
PB: That’s brilliant. So, it’s really actually amazing to see that investment, there’s a real tangible impact of what you’ve done. You’ve helped lay the foundations for that company to get them to a point where they are now.
DR: Yes, we were. It’s been very much a team effort that I think the key to the success and the potential success of this company going forward, is a tremendous team. With obviously Jeremy – full time – literally 24 hours a day. The energy is great. I’ve sat in on many investment committees of new start-up companies and the energy you see from those that are successful is absolutely key – and that’s what Jeremy has. And he’s built a team around him in accordance with that as well. So, it’s looking great!