Off the Cuff

From Ruptured Eardrum To Million Dollar Business

Off the Cuff

Cyrus Massoumi was on a flight when he ruptured his eardrum. It took four days to find a doctor, but the experience sparked the idea that led to the founding of ZocDoc, an online doctor search website.

Although some doubted the concept, Massoumi realized that consumers were already searching and rating restaurants online, why not doctors?

"Stay focused and just don't stop," Massoumi said on "Off the Cuff," as his advice to other entrepreneurs coping with skeptics. "A lot of people are going to tell you there is no way for it to work. If everyone believed it would work, they would all do it."

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Now, more than 2 million people use ZocDoc each month, and the company is about to open an office in Phoenix. The service provides more than just reviews. It helps people schedule an appointment with a nearby doctor or a dentist, and assists in getting paper work filled out in advance. Patients also can rate their visits, adding an extra incentive to doctors to be nice. The site is free for patients, but doctors pay a fee to list their practices.

To fund its expansion, ZocDoc has raised $95 million over several rounds from the investment heavy-weights like DST Global, Goldman Sachs, Founders Fund, Khosla Ventures, among others.

As Massoumi works to build his company, the CEO said he finds inspiration in Steve Jobs' biography.

"The great things about him [Steve Jobs] that there is, perhaps, that he was flawed and how those flaws helped him to become such a great man," he said.

ZocDoc is not Massoumi's first entrepreneurial experience. He founded his first web startup in 1999 to specialize in online logistic solutions. In these experiences, he has found that one of the keys to success in a startup is hiring right people. In fact, he often screens through applicants' resumes himself to find a perfect match.

"I love it when my employees love the company like I love the company," Massoumi said. "They've adopted that we are all parents of this five-year-old 'kid' now."

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