Tracy Cornwell Simpson had worked in medical device and pharmaceutical sales for years when she spotted an opportunity. She noticed that medical clinics and industry groups kept expressing concerns about a 2010 federal law aimed at increasing transparency around visits to clinics by pharmaceutical representatives. Thus was born Simpson’s company, a web-based service called Clinicpass that streamlines visits from pharmaceutical representatives to clinics.
Seeking advice as a first-time entrepreneur, Simpson sought out founders of successful start-up businesses. Those discussions led her in 2015 to Innovate Arkansas, a state-funded initiative administered by Winrock International that helps scale promising Arkansas technology ventures. Innovate Arkansas advisers Ted Dickey and Mike Smith connected Simpson with another Innovate Arkansas client, Bentonville-based digital product development agency RevUnit, to develop the technology. They also put Simpson together with fellow Innovate Arkansas advisor Gre’Juana “G” Dennis, a former vice-president for innovation at Baptist Health in Little Rock.
In consultations with potential customers arranged by Dennis, clinic representatives liked Clinicpass and saw its value, but expressed reluctance to endure the disruption of installing a new scheduling technology. The clinics needed a reason to get over the hump and use it.
That’s when Simpson experienced a breakthrough. Simpson knew clinics were highly concerned about recent measles outbreaks, and recognized a problem her product could solve. In discussion with Dennis, Simpson tweaked her value proposition to highlight the Clinicpass credentialing feature, which confirms whether sales representatives meet vaccination requirements before entering a clinic.
“That was the shift and that’s where G has really helped,” Simpson said.
To Dennis, such results confirm why she works for Innovate Arkansas: to use her background to help emerging companies become better and more intentional, then work her connections to accelerate their trajectories.
“I think Innovate Arkansas’s role is to meet Arkansas companies and entrepreneurs where they are,” Dennis said. “If you need help with business planning, customer discovery, money, whatever your needs are, I think IA is supposed to be there to help identify and put you in a position to get your needs met.”
While the company has grown, Dennis has worked with and mentored Simpson as she continues in her journey as a new CEO and a woman in a male-dominated industry. To Innovate Arkansas Director David Sanders, it’s relationships with clients like Simpson and Clinicpass that drive the program’s work.
“Tracy’s a great example of the type of entrepreneur who saw a problem, sought to fix it, and is now reaching bigger and bigger markets with the results of her work,” Sanders said.
For more on Innovate Arkansas and Winrock’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, click here.