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How Glen Tullman Uses Digital Solutions To Address Health Care Challenges

Courtesy of Glen Tullman
Glen Tullman led Livongo through its initial public offering (IPO), which was the most successful IPO in Illinois history and the largest consumer digital health IPO ever.

Glen Tullman has an undergraduate degree in economics and psychology, spent a year in Oxford, England studying social anthropology, lived for a year with the Amish, and is a highly successful software entrepreneur. He's founded, grown or invested in more than 20 businesses.

"Studying how cultures change is now about studying how we use different digital tools and electronic tools, and hopefully use them for good means as opposed to bad means," Tullman explains.

During the 15 years he led Allscripts, the electronic health record company went public and grew annual revenue to $1.4 billion from about $30 million. Tullman steered Allscripts and two other companies through initial public offerings (IPOs). The most recent, Livongo, raised $355 million in July 2019 and was the most successful IPO in Illinois history and the largest consumer digital health IPO ever.

"Livongo focused on chronic conditions. A third of the employees either had a chronic condition or had a family member who did," Tullman notes. "So the amount of committment and passion and energy behind it was unlike anything I had ever seeen. That made the business not only successful, but tremendously fun to be a part of."

Interestingly, not one of Tullman's companies got funding from investors in his native Chicago. In part to address that, he founded 7Wire Ventures — a Chicago-based venture capital firm focused on using technology to build companies that foster informed, connected consumers in health care and other areas.

"This is about how do we make the world better, how do we solve this healthcare challenge and all the inequities associated with our healthcare system?" says Tullman. "... I don't think the governement is going to do it, so we have to do it. And we have to do it using digital solutions that make healthcare available to everyone, just like everything else we've done with digital, how it improves our world."

Glen’s tips for other entrepreneurs — focus on six priorities:

  • People: Every business is about people and ensuring their hearts are in it. Never has investing, communicating, and supporting your people been more important than during the time of COVID-19.
  • Goals: The job of a leader is to set your goals high enough to be worth the sacrifice and make a difference.
  • Learning: Build a learning organization but also ensure that every day you are learning something new. Engage in reading, listening to books, podcasts online and/or new experiences.
  • Members and Clients: Put a fanatical focus on your members and your clients. They need to love you, not just like you.
  • Selling Relentlessly: Great sales give you time to fix everything else.
  • Measuring: We all measure what matters.
Kathleen Gallagher is the host of Midwest Moxie and previously the host of How Did You Do That?.