How Office Hours helped a seasoned healthcare exec validate and launch his own company with confidence

August 31, 2023
Office Hours

Patrick Nelli is the founder and CEO of Aligned Marketplace, which provides self-insured employers access to advanced primary care services across geographies. He previously spent nearly 10 years at Health Catalyst, a leading provider of data and analytics technology to healthcare organizations, in executive roles including CFO and, most recently, President. Learn more about Aligned Marketplace via their website, or on LinkedIn.

Office Hours is building the world's largest and most powerful expert network for technology and healthcare startups. Founders and operators book video or phone consultations with thousands top professionals in technology and healthcare to solve their most pressing challenges, from product or market validation, product feedback, lead generation, competitive intelligence, recruiting, to functional expertise.

A seed is planted

After spending nearly a decade rising through the leadership ranks at Health Catalyst, Patrick Nelli decided it was time to branch out and start his own company.

His experiences at Health Catalyst gave him and up close and personal view of the complexities of American healthcare. Specifically, Patrick identified an opportunity to help self-insured employers in the U.S. offer advanced primary care services to their employees, regardless of their geography. Advanced primary care services are generally considered to provide a better patient experience and offer attractive cost savings to the employers who offer them as part of their benefits packages.

It’s one thing to have an idea. Deciding to commit years of your life and significant capital to that idea is another thing entirely.

Validating ideas, the old-fashioned way

It's age-old advice for those looking to launch a startup, even for those who have done it before: identifying which problem(s) to solve, and for whom, is the first and most important step in launching a new company. Then, you need to make sure your solution to the problem is something people will actually pay for.

Traditional methods of validating ideas are are time-intensive and often insufficient. Working personal networks, cold outreach to to experts in the space, and doing qualitative industry research can all be fruitful to varying degrees, but it can be hard to trust the quality of those feedback signals. It’s also easy to lose steam and think enough research has been done.

It’s intuitive but bears repeating - sourcing the broadest array of perspectives will dramatically increase a founder’s odds of success.

How Office Hours streamlines idea validation via access to expert perspectives

In Patrick’s case, he needed real-life perspectives from key decision makers overseeing health benefits strategy for major self-insured employers in the U.S. with over 5,000 employees. Was there an appetite for this sort of offering? Are they already offering advanced primary care? Are any competitors deploying a similar model?

Office Hours has built a network of thousands of knowledge professionals and a software platform to help startups seamlessly access their perspectives. We also have a team of client services professionals in San Francisco and New York whose sole mission is to find and recruit the exact experts our clients need.

Between our existing network and our team, Patrick had conversations on our platform with 14 advisors, including CHROs, Chief People Officers, and Heads of Benefits from major companies like Honeywell, Ralph Lauren, GitHub,, Allegiant Air and others.

All-in-all, these conversations cost Patrick a total of ~$5,000.

Insight gained via Office Hours consultations, coupled with countless hours of research and groundwork work Patrick invested, ultimately gave him enough conviction to take the leap and launch the company.

What's next for Aligned Marketplace?

Expert calls helped Patrick accelerate the first phase of Aligned Marketplace’s journey and move on to the real work of building a successful company.

As startups grow, their need for expertise grows exponentially. Following launch, Office Hours helps startups access functional expertise on-demand, and can even help startups find new customers.

How can Office Hours help you?

We’re standing by to put you in touch with the people you need to validate your idea and maximize your chances of success.

Do you or your team need efficient, cost-effective access to expert perspectives? If so, let’s talk, or sign up for free to explore our network.

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