This podcast is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an advertisement. Views expressed are those of the individuals and not necessarily the views of Thoma Bravo or its affiliates. Thoma Bravo funds generally hold interest in the companies discussed. This podcast should not be construed as an offer to solicit the purchase of any interest in Thoma Bravo fund.
AIR DATE: January 11, 2024
RUN TIME: 6:23
This podcast is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute an advertisement. Views expressed are those of the individuals and not necessarily the views of Thoma Bravo or its affiliates. Thoma Bravo funds generally hold interest in the companies discussed. This podcast should not be construed as an offer to solicit the purchase of any interest in any Thoma Bravo fund.
Hi, I am Ross Devor, partner at Thoma Bravo, and this is Beyond the Deal, a special bonus episode of Thoma Bravo's Behind the Deal. And I'm here with the Founder and CEO of Alma, Harry Ritter. Harry, this is an opportunity for me to ask you some questions about your inspirations for the business, your career and life. Listeners can get the full story of our partnership by listening to our episode of Behind the Deal. But in case people are joining now without having heard some of that background, tell us a little bit about Alma.
First, thank you for having me. It's always awesome to spend time together, Ross. Alma, we are a mental health platform that helps independent mental health professionals build thriving private practices that can accept insurance. We work today with providers in all 50 states, helping them take insurance, helping patients find providers that work for them, and really helping these providers exceed their own hopes and dreams for building a thriving practice in the work that they do.
It's great. And what an impressive company you guys have built, and it's fantastic to be on this journey together with you. So maybe just rewinding the tape, what inspired you to found Alma?
This founding story for me really begins with my own personal journey. I was a solo caregiver to my father who passed away about five or six years ago. I was living on the East Coast, first in Boston, then in New York, flying back and forth to LA where he lived dealing with the challenges that come with being a caregiver and the anticipatory, grief, anxiety, the loneliness that comes with that journey. Found my way to therapy it had a transformative impact on me. So as a physician, I started to really see for the first time just the incredible importance of mental health, which frankly I didn't get exposed to in medical training in the way that I came to realize it was so important afterwards.
So that was the initiation for me. I had an opportunity to work at Oscar Health where I got to build our first primary care mental health clinic. Started to see just the volume of need out there in the world for better access to quality mental healthcare, and that's really what got me excited to think about how we could work with providers in this space to build a better solution for the future.
I think of you as a renaissance man. Not only are you a tech executive, but you've worked at McKinsey and you've worked at other startups like Oscar and then also a JD and an MD. How those pieces help you become the executive you are today and really build Alma.
Yeah. I've definitely been on a winding path. I think it's one of those things where, when you look back, you try to make sense of the journey and try to tell a cohesive narrative. When you go through it, it's a little bit messier. McKinsey was incredible. After I finished residency, I went to McKinsey and that was just an incredible place to learn. I’d come out of clinical medicine and that was my first real exposure to business. I think the biggest lesson I learned at McKinsey was a really around storytelling. There was a partner there I worked with who used to always emphasize to us that business is about creating stories. And these stories are really what drive the path forward. The JD I don't have a good explanation for, except that I'm an only child of Jewish parents and you have to have a doctor and a lawyer in the next generation. So I got to do both.
Thinking about at the start of your career as you've looked at all the places you've gone, what's something that you'd wish you'd known or any type of great advice that you've received to help you get to where you are today?
One thing I've been reflecting on more recently is I think sometimes in life we're primed to this idea that once I get to this milestone, everything will be different. Once I raise my series X or I hire this key hire or I achieve this milestone, then all of a sudden things will be different. And I think if I could go back to earlier me, I'd say, "No, that's not how it works." Every time you accomplish something new, there's a new set of opportunities and challenges, and I think to do this job sustainably and to do it well over time, you have to find the ability to be excited about each and every one of those as opposed to expecting that it's suddenly going to change or be different.
That ability to focus on how you create sustainability in the role and in the job, I think is something that sometimes people work so hard in the beginning and they burn out, and I don't know that it's the right way to build over the long run. I think you got to be able to really understand that things don't really ever change fundamentally. You're always going to be worried. You're always going to be paranoid. You're always going to be thinking about what's behind the next corner. And that's okay. That's actually what makes the job fun. So you got to find a way to really embrace that and enjoy it and get it done in the right way for the business.
Wise words, wait till you get there and then add to your plate of the worries and the stress but at the same time, I think that's what makes building a company and helping support companies and investing companies so rewarding is that stress, that work, that grind, so to speak, that you put in, and it never goes away. And every success begets the next set of challenges. And I think it's great to be with somebody in the trenches that is so capable and so well-respected at your company and such a great business partner on both sides. So thank you for joining us on Beyond the Deal and look forward to continuing to grow with you and Alma.
Speaking of that journey, there’s also been another journey I’m curious to ask you about. You know, since we’ve known each other, you’ve also migrated south, moved from New York down to Miami and I think seeing a little bit of that tech scene in Miami blossoming. So, I have to ask the question, I’m still up here in New York. New York, Miami, what’s the story?
You know, like great companies that can grow really fast and do great things, and also have great unit economics, my answer’s both. Okay, New York and Miami, two amazing places and I am as excited to go to your board meeting in New York as I am to try to get Alma to host their board meeting down South.
It's getting cold up there. I know it.
It's getting cold.
I know it.
The leaves are changing.
Exactly. It's Miami time.
Certain statements about Thoma Bravo made by portfolio company executives are intended to illustrate Thoma Bravo's business relationship with such persons rather than Thoma Bravo's capabilities or expertise with respect to investment advisory services. Portfolio company executives were not compensated in connection with their podcast participation although they generally receive compensation and investment opportunities in connection with their portfolio company roles, and in certain cases are also owners of portfolio company securities and/or investors in Thoma Bravo funds. Such compensation and investments subject podcast participants to potential conflicts of interest.
Certain statements about Thoma Bravo made by portfolio company executives are intended to illustrate Thoma Bravo's business relationship with such persons rather than Thoma Bravo's capabilities or expertise with respect to investment advisory services. Portfolio company executives were not compensated in connection with their podcast participation, although they generally receive compensation and investment opportunities in connection with their portfolio company roles, and in certain cases are also owners of portfolio company securities and/or investors in Thoma Bravo funds. Such compensation and investments subject podcast participants to potential conflicts of interest.