In conversation with: Jeff Warren, MOBE’s Chief Financial Officer
Jeff Warren is the Chief Financial Officer at MOBE. His 30-year finance career includes 25 years in the health care industry. Jeff began his career at Arthur Andersen, then spent 18 years at Medtronic in Finance and Investor Relations. Immediately before joining MOBE, Jeff was part of Four Hills Advisors LLC, a strategic capital markets and investor relations advisory firm.
In this article, MOBE’s Jeff Warren talks about his career, MOBE’s finance function, and how MOBE is unique in the marketplace.
Why did you choose to join MOBE?
Jeff Warren: When I heard about MOBE, I was intrigued by their unique health care solution focused on helping people live healthier lives. I was especially interested in the combination of sophisticated AI-driven analytics and a profoundly human approach. I was also intrigued by MOBE’s innovative business model that provides a performance guarantee and involves taking full downside risk.
Most importantly, joining MOBE was a chance to get involved with an organization that was doing what I think is needed in health care: creating innovative health care solutions that help people live healthier lives without adding costs to the health care system.
How is being CFO at a startup different than working at a Fortune 500 MedTech company?
JW: First, at a large public company, there’s a definite focus on “making the quarter.” At a smaller, private, growing company, it’s more about “making it.” That’s a big difference, especially when trying to prove a new business model that involves taking risk. Additionally, when you’re in a smaller company, people’s roles have a lot more ambiguity. For example, many of our people wear different hats. We don’t have thousands of people to spread the work across. We have to get things done in a much more concentrated and deliberate way.
From a finance perspective, the medical device industry was a much more tangible proposition. It’s not easier, just more tangible. For instance, what we need to understand about raw materials, manufacturing processes, distribution, etc., is much more straightforward with medical devices. At MOBE, we’re analyzing massive amounts of data to identify hard-to-isolate subpopulations that we think will engage and get benefits from MOBE. That involves predicting and changing human behavior, which is inherently more intangible.
MOBE’s marketplace is also very different from Med Tech. In MedTech, it was much easier to understand the competitive landscape. There was the diabetes market, the spine market, the cardiac rhythm market, etc. It was clear who our competitors were and what they were offering. Almost every competitor needed to conduct a clinical trial, making it much easier to track. MOBE’s competitive environment is more opaque and quite dynamic. We overlap with several categories, including population health, wellness, health care IT, etc. We don’t fit into any one bucket.
MOBE is a very collaborative business. How does the finance function partner with the rest of the business?
JW: I challenge our finance team to always be collaborative and solution oriented. We want our colleagues across the organization to feel like they can come to finance and ask, “Hey, can I bounce something off of you?”
We also try to get involved early in various decision-making processes to understand what challenges and issues are bubbling up throughout the company. For example, a specific team might want to make a strategic pivot, and they’re wondering if resources are available and/or what tradeoffs would need to be made to pursue a new initiative. Almost every company has an annual budget or operating plan. So do we. But we want to be guided by the plan, not restricted by it. Our biggest message to the organization is that we understand we compete in a dynamic environment and that things change along the way. So if/when key assumptions change or we need to make important changes in the middle of the year, we can and will adjust.
MOBE’s cost guarantee sets the company apart. How does that impact the business?
JW: Our savings guarantee is the cornerstone of our business model. It underscores one of our core beliefs: We do not and will not add costs to the overall health care system. That means we only generate financial performance by engaging large numbers of people and making an impact.
Making an impact is at the core of our business model. We’re intensely focused on helping our program participants become better self-managers. When people start to see how they can directly impact their own health, it ultimately leads them to feeling better, consuming less health care, and interacting with the health care system in a more beneficial way.
Attribution for outcomes is a huge issue in the health and well-being area. How does MOBE measure success?
JW: Attribution is critically important at MOBE. We realize that our participants live in a complex and dynamic world where they are exposed to many different things that can positively and negatively impact their health. It’s crucial that we connect the dots between health outcomes, savings, and the direct/indirect impact of our programs. It’s a key strategic priority for us.
We feel good about our position in the so-called “attribution tug-of-war.” The confidence in the results we generate and the effectiveness of our programs is backed by a large and growing amount of sophisticated and rigorous data analytics. Our data science team is increasingly focused on measuring and correlating the results we generate with the effectiveness of our program.
My colleagues have often heard me channel my inner science nerd when referring to MOBE’s “theory of relativity.” I’m not referring to Einstein’s famous E = MC2 equation. For MOBE, our theory of relativity is E x I = P, where “E” stands for engagement, “I” stands for impact, and “P” stands for performance. We’re working increasingly hard to measure the things that matter around engagement and impact, while ensuring we’re constantly communicating our outcomes to our clients along the way.
How does MOBE’s innovation benefit the most important audience: MOBE participants?
JW: Directly or indirectly, everyone at MOBE plays a part in helping our participants live healthier, happier, more active lives. Yes, our programs are built on a platform of sophisticated AI-driven predictive analytics, but the essence of our model is driven by a profoundly human one-to-one approach.
MOBE’s amazing team of Engagement Specialists, Guides, and Pharmacists are the engine of our success. They help our participants make seemingly simple but significant changes that lead to a highly personal journey for each individual.
Everyone at MOBE is motivated by the large and growing number of participant success stories that we continually share across the company. These stories are all different. Sometimes it’s as simple as a grandmother being able take her grandchild to the park. Or it can be more complex, like helping a firefighter lose weight, reduce the number of medications he’s on, and getting back to work so he can help save lives. I’m constantly amazed by individual success stories that inspire us to bring MOBE to more people everywhere.
Find out more about MOBE, including how we’re increasing innovation, engagement, and outcomes for our clients and participants.