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Lokvani Talks To Ace Bhattacharjya

Nirmala Garimella

(This article is sponsored by Immigration Solutions)

Durjoy (Ace) Bhattacharjya is an experienced entrepreneur and interactive advertising executive based in Boston. Before trading the agency world for the startup world, Ace worked for some of the world’s greatest brands including Ford, IBM, Mercedes Benz, Starwood, JetBlue and Pfizer. 

Ace is currently the Founder and CEO of medicalrecords.com, a Boston-based technology firm in the healthcare space. Previously, Ace was Vice President of Interactive Marketing for the renowned Athletes Performance, a Polaris Ventures portfolio company. He is also the former Director of Advanced Media for the United States Tennis Association / US Open.   He is an advisor and early stage investor to a number of companies including: Amino Apps, Toscanini's Ice Cream, SocialSign.in, AppliedQ, Digital Economy Ventures and Sharalike. 

Ace has a BA from Boston University in International Relations / Economics and is an active Mentor in BU's Kindle program.  As a member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences, Ace is a judge for the Webby Awards.   He is also a Senior Judge at the Harvard Business School Venture Competition. 

You founded  medical records.com How did you arrive at the idea/service and what does it do?

Having grown up in a family of physicians, I’ve had a long standing interest in healthcare (but never wanted to be a doctor!).  And to give my long-suffering parents some credit, they never pressured me to be one.

I started medicalrecords.com right around the passing of the HITECH Act. Only then, I was working for an interesting firm called EXOS / Athletes’ Performance that trains elite professional athletes around the world and also does corporate wellness business for organizations like Google and the US Military.

I started to field calls from physician friends who wanted to adopt electronic medical records (EMR) software in their practices and get government incentives. It was only then did I realize that there were over 500+ different EMR systems and the market was very highly fragmented.  We realized there was a new opportunity to help play matchmaker between the private practice physicians and the EMR vendors. 

While we were building our B2B business, we would hear from consumers who wanted to retrieve or access their medical records online.  Every major consumer-facing industry (finance, travel, retail) has provided consumers a way to manage their lives online- with the notable exception of healthcare.  We’ve long taken the view that this healthcare information is valuable to the patient and should be freely available.  

To that end, we’re building a platform to make it easier for consumers who want to request their medical records from their health care provider.  Today, it’s a long and cumbersome process:  call the office, get put on hold, get a medical records release form, fill it out, sign it, fax (yes, FAX) it back and wait 30 days.  We’re taking our cue from credit reporting companies like CreditKarma and trying to help consumers make the request easier.  We’re partnering with a few companies to make this happen as seamlessly as possible.

What we’re really excited about is the new medicalrecords.com consumer offering, which will launch in private Beta this fall.

 You are also a Entrepreneur in residence at  Toscanini's Ice Cream ? Can you share your experience what this program is about?

Truthfully, I made up the title one day and even have Toscanini’s business cards with EIR as my title. The Toscanini’s owners Gus Rancatore and his sister Mimi Rancatore have long been my “ice cream family”.  Mimi was actually my first boss when I was a student at Wellesley High School before attending Boston University.

When I moved back to Boston from NYC, Toscanini’s quickly became the center of my social life.  It’s an amazing place because of the location and its place in geek culture— almost everyone who went to MIT and Harvard has such fond memories of it.  I started to bring interesting technology and business opportunities to the store.  One of the many things we’ve done is install a solar-powered Soofa bench to charge cell phones from some friends of mine from MIT Media Lab.  We are also the testing grounds for innovative new companies like Socialsign.in (which uses Facebook authentication to offer free WIFI) and BentoBox, which is like a Squarespace for restaurants. 

How can entrepreneurs play a role in social impact?

Entrepreneurs can play multiple roles through impacting business plans, creation of contacts and connections, a growth mindset, and creating a donor platform to impact sustainability.   I especially love the idea of going beyond life skills and impacting education (and therefore career potential) of children through sport and am proud to be on the Board of a Boston-based organization called Crossover Basketball and Scholars Academy that uses basketball as a vehicle to impact retention and graduation rates of marginalized children in India through a curriculum created to teach leadership through structured play.  Learn more at http://www.crossover-india.org/

 What are your other hobbies?

In theory, I love to play tennis and travel. In reality, I have a six year old daughter and a startup. But my daughter Sabrina and I like to cook together and thanks to the Boston Globe, we are now published recipe authors for our seminal work in Indian Nachos. I bought the domain indiannachos.com and pointed it to the recipe, but we are still working on our business model. My wife Usha Shanmugan likes to point out that I can barely cook.

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