Health E(fx)®: Software that Solves a Critical Market Need
What happens when you design and develop a product that solves a problem for an identifiable market? The answer is a formula for business success and a leading reason why Health E(fx) has experienced such rapid growth and recognition as an industry-leading software solution. The award-winning software assists large employers with managing human resources data to ensure they are proving appropriate employee health benefits as required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), part of the U.S. ObamaCare health reform. Health E(fx) is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with a key team experiencing significant growth in Thunder Bay where development and technical support functions have been located since its inception.
Founders Andy Brown, Eric Tribe, Paul Gibson, Allison Manno, Heiko Voss, and Alan Wallner conceptualized the software and its product applications. In its early days, Health E(fx) innovated and advanced critical development of key software features in the Venture Vault Program of the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre, collaborating with teams in Minneapolis and other parts of the U.S. The Health E(fx) Enterprise™ product – its first solution brought to market – was launched and beta-tested in late 2012 and had an immediate and very positive market response. Early large employer feedback was utilized to strengthen the product’s performance and refine customer satisfaction. Eric Tribe, V.P of Technology, suggests that in those early days the process was like “building an airplane in flight, as we knew the market was huge and that speed of innovation was a critical element to capturing that market.”
And capture that market they have – the results have been nothing short of exceptional. Operations began doubling each month across Health E(fx), and the Thunder Bay location has grown in just one year to more than 20 employees from the original two that started. Health E(fx) anticipates doubling their staff in 2015 as they maintain rapid growth to meet market demand.
Health E(fx) has since launched additional software solutions and now offers three core products for the expansive ACA market. Health E(fx) was recognized as a top HR product of 2014 at the national HR Technology conference last October – Human Resource Executive magazine presents the annual top industry award to the most innovative HR technology companies in the market.
Product innovation and the role of the Thunder Bay team has been so significant that Health E(fx) was the recipient of the Innovative Company of the Year Award at the 2015 RBC Innovation Awards, presented by the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre. As the result of growth in Thunder Bay, they have doubled their space to accommodate and meet the needs of the company. Eric Tribe frequently states, “we are going to need a bigger boat” as he walks from floor to floor working with the fast-growing team of developers and technical specialists.
Eric is quick to point out that behind every successful company is a hardworking and creative team. His office door has a sign that reads “Mission Control,” but he believes that employee empowerment and support are critical to the company’s success. The company chose to establish a sizeable team in Thunder Bay for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the depth of information technology community it offers as well as access to critical resources as it grows. Several of the Health E(fx) team members in Thunder Bay are graduates of both Confederation College and Lakehead University. An open, casual atmosphere permeates the office and facilitates their corporate culture of teamwork and collaboration.
In addition to a strong team and innovative products, Eric mentions that creating technology that satisfies a customer’s needs is more important than creating something that is just “cool.” “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should,” he states.