Lab testing firm Mako Medical’s positive results
North Carolina is filled with hard-charging entrepreneurs, but few can match the energy, creativity or success of Chad Price. I learned that during an interview last week that will be included in the October Business North Carolina. But here are a few highlights of a major success story.
Chad Price and Josh Arant started Raleigh-based Mako Medical Laboratories in 2014 because they thought they could do a better job testing blood, urine and other materials than the lab industry’s giants, Madison, N.J.-based Quest Diagnostics and Burlington-based Labcorp. Price was ticked off at repeated delays endured by his special-needs sister during her frequent medical visits.
It was a crazy idea for the duo, who had no laboratory or medical experience, limited business acumen and little money. But they had three driving motivations: develop close ties with nonprofits that could benefit from Mako’s support and in turn help market the company’s brand through social media; hire military veterans; and support various Christian ministries.
Price watched internet videos to learn how to set up a lab, how to solicit money from bank, the definition of EBITDA and other details. He also discovered the importance of building relationships with influential people like Dale Jenkins, CEO of Raleigh-based Medical Mutual Insurance Co., which insures physicians. Jenkins, who chairs the UNC Health Care board of trustees, helped connect Mako with physician groups that preferred a local testing company.
The company forecasts revenue of $125 million this year, $250 million next year and $1 billion in five years. Sounds incredible, but Price says growth is accelerating as more medical groups seek alternatives to LabCorp, which had revenue of $10 billion last year, and Quest, with $7 billion. Being smaller and more nimble has its advantages, he says.
Mako now employs more than 500 people, about half of whom have military backgrounds, and it supports a couple hundred nonprofits, developing goodwill that Price says leads to more business.
“No one asks, ‘Who are you’ and `what are you’ anymore,” he says