A special look back (and forward) at nearly seven years of Caspar Health
by Jann Gerrit Ohlendorf at May 13, 2022
Co-founder Benjamin Pochhammer discusses the unexpected challenges and highlights – both internally and externally – of Caspar Health, as well as his future plans outside of the company.
Hey Benjamin – after more than six years, a business is still considered pretty young. And yet, it’s no longer a startup. How would you describe Caspar Health’s position today?
I would say we’re in a better position than ever before. Our management team recently acquired a new CFO, who will be a strong addition. There are also exciting developments for our combined care model with our virtual clinic, thanks to our medical director, Filippo Martino, MD, and his highly motivated team – a topic that’s particularly close to my heart.
The Management Team of Caspar Health with Benjamin Pochhammer
It is also true that Caspar Health has very much retained the spirit of a young company. The fact that we really want to make a difference, how motivated the entire team is, as well as how international and diverse we are, is felt by everyone who works with us in any capacity. Caspar Health feels like a young company, and it should definitely stay that way! As Managing Director, my main task was always to establish a good, strong management team – and we have succeeded in doing that.
Is that one of the reasons why Caspar Health has been able to quietly build such a strong market position?
Yes, but it's also a result of years of hard work. The permanent recognition of the multimodal tele-rehabilitation aftercare by the German Pension Fund (Deutsche Rentenversicherung) was an incredible achievement for all of us. We’d been working toward this for years, conducting studies, analyzing interfaces, and aligning our processes with all of the various requirements. We’ve gained a very deep understanding of the requirements of the health and care insurance providers, and the needs of our customers – and can really bring this knowledge to our offer. In the end, however, I believe it’s the way we honor our customers that has allowed us to grow so fast.
Right now, combined care is available for more patients than ever before. Around 200 partner clinics are now working with Caspar Health on rehabilitation. Is this the end of the early-stage development phase for you?
Yeah, that’s how I see it. Together with the team in our virtual clinics, I’ve been fortunate enough to directly experience the positive impact our care has had on our patients, time and again. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction. With Caspar Health, we’ve not only been able to maintain the success of rehabilitation, but also to improve it in many respects. And we can prove it – with studies, and, because we’re a digital company, with our own documentation. What’s more, it’s something we live each day – that’s another thing that’s so special about Caspar Health. And precisely because we’re so well established now and have been able to position ourselves so firmly in the market after years of development, I’ve made the decision to entrust my duties as Managing Director to the competent hands of our newly strengthened management team.
We’ll talk about your planned departure, and how you will stay connected to Caspar Health, in a moment. But first, could you share with us what these last six years at Caspar Health have meant to you personally? As part of the founding trio back in the fall of 2015, what did you hope for, and what has surprised you?
The nearly seven years we worked together, from the founding business idea up until today, have been exceptional in many ways. It’s such a gift to found a company with friends, and a very emotional experience. We spent nearly every day together reimagining what rehabilitation could be. Coming into an area of medicine and therapy that was then new to me, I learned that specific regulations can really impede the speed of development. And yet, the benefits are high – at least, that’s been the case for us. Personally, I found that it’s significantly more motivating to work on something that creates a positive added value for, say, the environment, society, or an individual.
So, basically, all my aspirations have come true, which gives me the freedom to embark on a new path. And I’m very grateful for that. The highlights are the very real achievement that our effectiveness has been recognized by the German Pension Fund – and that we've introduced combined care in the German healthcare system. Now, we can work on redefining the gold standard, so to speak, in rehabilitation and rehabilitation aftercare.
You’re about to embark on a new chapter. Since we’re speaking openly, can you clear something up: This isn’t really goodbye, is it?
You can count on my ongoing participation in the further development of the company. And, of course, I’ll remain a shareholder in Caspar Health, because I believe in this company and the team more than ever. Caspar Health will always have a special place in my life. How many people can say that they founded a successful company together with their best friends? And, this friendship has grown to include many other Casparians!
When you talk about taking on a new challenge, some may be asking themselves what might happen in the fall of 2022, after you’ve taken a well-deserved break. Do you plan to stay in healthcare, head back to the world of internet startups, or do you have something else in mind entirely?
For the last several years up until today, I’ve been fully focused on the task of promoting Caspar’s growth in the field of digitally supported rehabilitation. As for the near future, I’ll spend the summer with my family and put some private tasks at the forefront. Following that, I want to continue to allow time for my family, while focusing more on my own startup investments on the one hand, and evaluating further business models on the other. As a long-time tech entrepreneur, nothing stands in the way of me founding another startup from scratch. Building companies is where my interest lies, it's a strength of mine. Especially models with a positive impact, such as in the healthcare or climate sector – this is really what I’m most interested in.