Founder-CEO Interview Series


Anuj Patel

Anuj is a seasoned digital health innovator and operator. He is the CEO & Founder at Motto, a virtual care platform for patients with autoimmune conditions. He has previously served as CEO of Lighter Nutrition, a venture backed digital health platform focused on providing nutrition and personalized coaching to improve an individual’s wellbeing. He also has held leadership roles at iCarbonX, PatientsLikeMe, and previously worked as a management consultant at Monitor Deloitte. Anuj also holds an MBA from the Duke Fuqua School of Business.

Founder-CEO Interview Series

with Anuj Patel

Tell us about yourself and Motto Health.

I’m the founder and CEO at Motto, which is building a virtual care platform for patients with autoimmune conditions. These are a number of different diseases, from rheumatoid arthritis to lupus and many more than are difficult to diagnose due to the acute shortage of rheumatologists and difficult for patients to manage, oftentimes because there is such a difficult diagnostic and treatment journey.

With Motto, we can diagnose and treat patients through a virtual care model and pair every patient with a health coach and personalized treatment plan, managing their condition and the lifestyle factors such as diet and sleep that are closely correlated to improving outcomes.

I’ve always worked across the healthcare industry, in managed care, digital health and leading venture backed healthcare companies. Motto represents a tapestry of all these different experiences and observations I’ve had in my career on how we can improve care delivery and incorporate a holistic approach towards improving access and outcomes. 

Did you know that you were always built for business? How did consulting help?

Healthcare is something of a family business for me- most of my relatives are physicians and my father and his father before him were both practicing physicians. It was a dinner table topic of conversation growing up. That said, I clearly went in a different direction because in school, I was hooked on the management classes and the idea of building or investing in a business that could expand care or touch the lives of patients at a scale that no individual physician could ever approach.

Consulting was certainly helpful, I joke and call it business school “residency” because you’re exposed to so many different businesses and problems, so it’s necessary to have a structured approach grounded in business fundamentals when in comes to developing a solution for a client. 

Should aspiring entrepreneurs explore a career in consulting to prepare themselves for business?

I’m biased, but I think it is helpful. An entrepreneur’s biggest job is communication- internally to your team and externally to investors, to clients and to the general public. There’s a required level of expertise in written and verbal communication and consulting truly forces you to be an effective communicator. For me, beyond just the communication skill set, knowing how to efficiently deploy limited resources to address a problem is a practice that is often learned in the consulting industry. 

The digital space has forever changed healthcare. What does the future hold for this industry?

Well, given the incredible growth and pace of investments made in the last 2 years, we’re likely due for some consolidation- there is a lot of fragmentation across digital health. I think moving forward, you’re going to begin to see increased vertical integration, meaning solutions for a particular therapeutic area that integrate all aspects of care in one model- clinical care, diagnostics, lab tests, treatment including lifestyle care, patient support tools all tailored towards that therapeutic area.

It’s clearly what we’re betting with Motto, but suspect that more entrants will create this type of omnichannel digital and in-person care in certain disease categories. 

You are also a Venture Partner at Nina Capital. How do you find the time to juggle between work and family?

I have a great partner in my wife and I’m lucky to also have a great support system in the form of grandparents and other relatives nearby. I think having a family forces you to work efficiently and I do my best to block out sacred times such as getting my children ready for school, walking my daughter to school, dinner time and bedtime for the children. Outside of those events in the day, I am available for my team because there’s no shortage of things to work on in an early stage startup!

What has been some highlights in your career thus far?

One of the highlights was when I was at PatientsLikeMe and it was acquired by iCarbonX, a Shenzhen based life sciences investment firm. I had the opportunity to join iCarbonX directly and truly enjoyed my time living with my family in Shenzhen and exploring the innovative digital health models in APAC.

Another highlight has been launching Motto in multiple markets in the US- we have a Slack channel for our coaches to communicate any patient feedback and testimonials, and the most motivating part of my day is reading a new message from a happy and satisfied patient

What does a typical day look like for you?

There is rarely a typical day, but oftentimes it is a blend of internal meetings with my team, 1:1’s with my leadership team and several calls with health plans or hospital systems. Occasionally, I’ll check in with investors, either our current investor or potential new ones for a future fundraise. 

What is your view on failure?

I have the Michael Jordan quote (I’m a child of the 90’s) seared in my head: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” 

What drives you?

As the “black sheep” in the family, or the one who did not pursue a career in medicine, I’m motivated by the industry I work in, to build businesses that improve the lives of patients at a scale that I could not have ever hoped to reach as a physician. 

Who or what has shaped who you are?

My father is one of the biggest role models in my life and who has shaped who I am today. He’s the embodiment of the American Dream- arriving in the US and working his way up to become a successful physician, loved by his patients in the small town that we grew up in. He is the consummate professional and incredibly curious, two traits that he has impressed upon me. 

Any final remark/advice to share?

Healthcare is one of the most fascinating industries to be a part of. It can seem so inefficient and frustrating but that’s where opportunities can often lie. Don’t be turned off by the current fundraising climate, these are often the best times to start a company. 


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