Liine CEO and Co-Founder Brad Blaser did not know it at the time, but a “crazy” summer internship selling educational products door-to-door in Missouri more than a decade ago would bring him and one of his startup’s Co-Founders together. Working with a group of UNC students for the Southwestern Company (now Southwestern Advantage), Blaser met fellow Tar Heel Charlie Winn. In 2016, Winn would start Raleigh’s Liine (formerly SalesSync) to help doctors’ offices convert more incoming calls to the front desk into new patients.
With a background in healthcare-focused finance, Blaser joined the founding team in late 2016, the first of numerous Carolina connections in the four-man founding team. COO Eric Blaser, Brad’s brother, is another Tar Heel who came aboard in September, 2017. Meanwhile CTO Andrew Johnson, who was Blaser’s fraternity brother at UNC, joined in May, 2018, and like the others is listed as a Co-Founder. Winn now serves as Chief Revenue Officer.
The quartet eventually came together in the goal of helping medical practices schedule more new patient consultations with Liine’s SaaS platform, which reports and analyzes new patient phone calls. Their portal provides analytics, trackable phone-messaging training for front-desk staff and a financial incentive program for staff members who excel at bringing in new patients. The company was awarded a $50K SEED grant from NC IDEA in 2018 to help jumpstart its growth.
Winn originally realized the role that technology could play in the handling of new patient phone calls when he did sales consulting for provider organizations.
Blaser said, “Unlike any other industry, those calls that were coming in from marketing efforts weren’t being handled by a salesperson who is trained, monitored and incentivized for that function.”
Growing 77 percent in revenue in the first six months of this year, Liine currently has 60 customers, who recognize the power of a monitored and incentivized front-desk staff.
“They’re the telephonic front door of the office,” Blaser said. “That experience when you call into an office is so critical. So to be a tool that can help the office but also empower the front-desk staff is really what we’re shooting for.”
Liine raised $800K in a seed round in March, including attracting the investment of three of its customers. Blaser said that in digital marketing, it is easy to waste a lot of money, but Liine can help medical practices monitor the success of the incoming calls that their marketing efforts aim to make happen.
“The patient behavior the office is trying to inspire is for [potential patients] to pick up the phone and call them,” Blaser said. “If that’s not tracked, it is very easy to just blow through a ton of budget.”
Doubling Conversion Rates
The startup, which charges on a per-location basis, more than doubles conversion rates, Blaser said. The average call-to-consultation rate—meaning the percentage of cold calls to the office that are converted into the caller booking an in-person consultation as a new patient—is 29%, but Liine increases that to 61% for clients by focusing on the integral happenings at the front desk.
“It’s empowering practices to make better decisions around their marketing spend,” Blaser said, “and have truly accurate, highly robust data around that. As well as to really help the office invest in what is a chronically under-invested piece of the practice, which is the front desk and the folks who work at the front desk. We love the idea of them being incentivized for doing a really good job on those phone calls, because they should be. And it keeps them more motivated by having tools to make their lives easier.”
Liine’s customers are across the country. Blaser hopes that moving forward Liine can expand outside of healthcare, become a larger part of the Triangle startup scene and give back to organizations like NC IDEA, which helped Liine get off the ground with its grant. But for that to happen, Blaser knows that the startup must continue to execute on its core competency.
“There’s definitely a methodology for these three-to-five minute phone calls that can be used to drastically increase conversion rates,” Blaser said. “But without visibility into whether it’s happening, it’s not going to get into the bloodstream of the office.”