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Progressive Finance secured a niche by serving two client bases: those who cannot obtain traditional financing for consumer purchases like furniture or electronics, and the retail establishments that often must turn these potential customers away.
The company provides alternative lease-to-purchase financing on terms that are extremely competitive compared to the competition, says Curt Doman, CTO. “Our pricing is half compared to what our competition’s is. Also, when it comes to our financing terms, they’re very straightforward, and we don’t have any bait-and-switch or any fine print.”
In general, says President Brent Wilson, retail stores turn away up to 60 percent of customers because they don’t qualify for credit. “We approve 80 percent of those,” he says. “When we can teach the stores that that’s what we can do, that’s a big number to them—a big, big number.”
Progressive Finance developed cutting edge “auto-decision” technology that mines data from about a dozen sources—including Facebook—to determine whether to approve financing, rather than relying solely on a consumer’s credit score.
Healthcare Products & Services
In the early 2000s, surgeon Stephen Neeleman observed trends in healthcare funding and recognized that consumers would become more responsible for covering their healthcare costs in coming years. He realized they would need help navigating the process and managing their health spending. That’s why he started HealthEquity, which is now recognized as the oldest and largest dedicated health savings account trustee in the country.
Neeleman has been a pioneer in the HSA movement. He helped lobby Congress to create the law that made HSAs possible, which passed in 2003. HealthEquity competes against many of the largest banks in the country but regularly wins contracts from some of the nation’s largest employers. Many cite the company’s emphasis on customer service and active efforts to help customers improve their experience with their HSAs.
“I have a huge amount of faith in the average American,” Neeleman says. “The average American does a great job of deciding what gas station to go to and what restaurant to go to based on cost and quality. I think they can do the same thing with their healthcare.”
Mary Young and her husband, Gary Young, started Young Living Essential Oils from the ground up, literally. Nearly 30 years ago, the young couple used earnings from real estate sales to purchase land in Mona, Utah, and planted their first farm. “We purchased old farm equipment at auctions and were thrilled when we bought our first new piece of equipment—a manure spreader,” says Mary Young. “I had no previous farming experience, but was propelled into every aspect of farming out of necessity and had fun working with my husband.”
Together, the two have turned the homegrown startup into a global leader in the essential oils industry. They now operate 4,500 acres of farmland on four continents and offer a product line of more than 400 essential oils, nutritional supplements and personal care items. And Young Living continues growing; the company experienced record-breaking sales in the first quarter of 2013.
“We have built a company to stand the test of time,” says Young. “We continue to invest both domestically and internationally in our employees, customers, product supply and distribution chain.”
VRx is a pharmacy management company that works with healthcare plans and employers to deliver pharmaceutical care to plan members. Co-founder Douglas Burgoyne launched the company with the goal of bringing transparency to the pharmacy management industry. “We were determined to create a new type of program that reduced fragmentation common in the medical world and truly improve the quality of healthcare received by our plan participants.”
The company works with more than 63,000 pharmacies and also offers its consumers a unique mail delivery service. “Our model significantly reduces prescription costs, which account for about 20 percent of health costs, for the employer and for their employees.”
Beyond providing its consumers with transparency and savings, it also offers health and wellness education, another key component of VRx’s business model. “Our team of pharmacists teaches plan members how to use their medications correctly and coordinate care with their physicians,” he says. “The result is enhanced member satisfaction and a further reduction in total healthcare cost.”