Nate Maingi, founder of Therapy IQ, was born in Kenya and learned his first business lesson from his grandfather, who was in business of helping people. Nate emigrated to the United States and built a career in both tech and mental health care, which he has combined in Therapy IQ.
We asked Nate Maingi about his career path and what advice he has for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Grit Daily: Tell us about your background and entrepreneurial journey, and how that shaped your approach with Therapy IQ.
Nate Manigi: I grew up in Kenya.
One of my earliest memories was spending school holidays traveling (mostly on foot) with my Grandfather (Guka), who would fundraise to build churches and schools in remote villages. It was HARD work but he did it voluntarily —I just wanted to hang out with him, so I tagged along.
When I was about 9 years old I started questioning why my Guka would put himself through this mental and physical torture. So I asked him.
Without missing a beat he explained [ translating from Swahili ] that everyone has a right to define what success means to them. Adding that over the years he learned that the shortest path to success (however you define it) is to find a way to serve the most number of people. At the time I honestly thought he just dodged my question.
Fast forward to 10 years later when I decided to start my first business. Guka’s words instantly came flooding back. “Find a way to serve the most number of people…” So I committed to this quest not knowing where it would take me. It just felt like the only way I wanted to spend my time on Earth. That quest has led me on an unbelievable entrepreneurial journey that includes launching, bootstrapping, losing, learning, relaunching and exiting several successful businesses —all in the quest to serve.
Grit Daily: When did you emigrate to the US, and how did you support yourself?
Nate Maingi: After migrating to the US in 2003, one of my first jobs was as a social worker for the Department of Mental Health, where I interacted heavily with Therapists on behalf of my clients. What I quickly learned was that Therapists don’t do this for the money. It is a really tough job that requires way more personal sacrifice than the compensation received. Being a Therapist is a true call to serve fellow human beings. During this time I was also aware of the significant shortage of Therapists which persists to date.
I pivoted from Mental Health to tech in 2007. I currently serve as TiQ’s CEO and Chief Evangelist.
My co-founder, Amy, on the other hand grew up around family members battling severe addiction. “Growing up in that environment means you need to grow up faster than most kids your age. It also drives you to demand a better future for yourself and everyone you love.”
Amy’s healthcare operations career spans over 10 years, including launching our own Addiction treatment clinics in 2020 (since exited). Amy is TiQ’s Chief Product Officer in charge of Product Design.
You can imagine our excitement when the opportunity to use our talents to build a platform to help Therapists serve more people easily and more efficiently presented itself! This excitement persists to date. I get to fulfill my Guka’s call to serve as many people as I can by serving therapists. Amy gets to give back to a community of professionals who literally saved her family.
Over the last few years at TiQ, we have built a team of believers in the cause just like us. Together we have built a platform that takes growing a therapy practice go from feeling impossible to becoming inevitable. Because we believe in a world where therapy is as normal as morning coffee.
Grit Daily: What business advice are you uniquely suited to give this audience?
Nate Maingi: An easy way to differentiate yourself, company or product is to build/create solutions, not alternatives to what already exists. After being unable to find a solution in the market for our client, we decided to build one. While there are some decent products in our space, we avoided the temptation to build something that was only incrementally better than was available. We were fortunate that our first client allowed us to embed within their practice. So we completely ignored existing EHRs and built the TiQ platform solution by solution. The result, for us at least, is that we now have a product that users not only love, they are telling others about it!
Within a few months of launching, Therapy iQ has grown via word-of-mouth without $1 spent on advertising. 100% of our 400+ unique users found out about TiQ from other Therapists.
Grit Daily: How are you a different company than your competitors?
Nate Maingi: In the last few decades, healthcare SaaS solutions have done a great job at digitizing healthcare information and processes. Most EHRs are powerful tools built primarily to address the clinical needs of a Practice. However, a Practice is more than just clinical. It is a fully operating business like any other, albeit with compliance requirements.
Designing only for clinical workflows makes it challenging for clinicians to quickly find the information they need at the point of care. Therapists often have to navigate through multiple, disconnected systems to get all the information they need to care for a client. As we learned first hand when we launched our own Mental Health Practice, this is the single biggest reason most therapy Practices struggle to grow and scale.
A future proof, robust system should be able to handle all facets of running a practice, including supporting administrators, clinical teams, and billing departments. It should also be able to adapt to different workflows as well as future changes in Healthcare regulations.
That is what TiQ is: the Swiss-army-knife of Practice Management.
We have built an all-in-one Practice Management Operating System that not only automates all Clinical Financial, & Operational workflows, it also reduces the need for third party software to run a Practice. TiQ’s automations and integrations additionally reduce in-session screen time by 70%, while increasing client throughput by average of 25 clients per Therapist per day.
Like a LEGO set, it’s customizable to whatever workflow is in place in the practice. This makes practice growth go from feeling impossible to becoming inevitable.
Grit Daily: Are there any stats or figures that can support why Therapy IQ is the future of the space?
Nate Maingi: While we have momentum we’re honored to be growing so fast (mostly by word of mouth). Our milestones so far include:
- 174+ Providers growing their businesses on TiQ
- 10354 + clients/patients getting much needed treatment through our Providers
- $5.8m already made by our users on TiQ
- 76% MoM growth rate over the last 9 months
- 4 Agency Partnerships
- 2 Therapist Higher Education partnerships
Grit Daily: What have you learned specific to your industry? And please give us detailed examples of how you learned these lessons.
Nate Maingi: Grit comes from self-belief. It’s a mental muscle that you have to nurture and exercise constantly or you will lose it when you need it most. Here’s how I nurture mine:
- Listen to users (and your team) and make sure they know you’re listening. Validate your assumptions as quickly as you can or you’ll get burned in the market. Running down rabbit holes with inaccurate assumptions is an expensive confidence killer.
- Put out the best product you can today, even if you plan to improve it later. There are no MVPs in Healthcare tech. People’s lives are at stake, so your product ha to sing in tune from day 1.
- Get comfortable with change & frustration. Remember why you started this journey. If your “why” was big enough it will carry you through the frustrating phases. Things will take way longer, be much harder and cost way more than you initially thought. These problems will, however, also carry the seeds of their own solutions. The trick is to remain calm —it’s the fastest way to find the seeds.
- Consistency is an underrated key to success. Real business is a marathon, not a sprint. Always check in to see how long you can sustain what you’re doing today, along with how you’re doing it. If you can’t sustain delivering at 100% consistently, change it ASAP or risk mediocrity.
- Fight aggressively to maintain your life balance. You are human. Your core design is based on 3 fundamentals Body | Mind | Spirit. These HAVE to remain in balance at all times in order for you to perform at your peak. Your clients, your team, your family, need you operating at your peak.
Imbalance = Suffering, so build the discipline required to maintain that balance. Every. Single. Day.