The Curious Mummy meets Dad Bosses Charlie Templeton and Alex Harington, the founders of private medical app Qure. New fathers Charlie and Alex found accessing healthcare for their families was time-consuming and the alternative was expensive. So this daddy duo decided it was time to do something about it and Qure was born. Charlie and Alex share their top tips to start a business, their views on what it takes to be a Boss Dad and how they balance family life.
Tell us a bit about yourselves?
Charlie: We both worked in the financial sector for most of our careers; however, we always wanted to work for ourselves. We were lucky that we found great business partners in one another and were also on the same page about the need for a new approach to healthcare that would help the NHS.
Alex: I come from a very entrepreneurial family and a couple of years ago I realised that, out of 12 cousins, I was the only one who was not self-employed, which was a wake-up call to me!
Charlie: My career previous to Qure was in investment banking from 2008 – 2017 (JPMorgan then Merrill Lynch) for nine years before leaving at the start of 2017. To fund Qure, we sold our house in London and moved to Northern Ireland, where my wife is from. I love it out there and work in London Mondays through Thursdays each week.
Tell us about Qure and what gave you the idea to start?
Alex: Qure was launched in 2017 with one objective: to revolutionise the patient experience of primary care in the UK by offering affordable appointments, at a time and location that suits the patient, rather than the practitioner. As new fathers, Charlie and I found that accessing healthcare for families was either time-consuming and frustrating, or the alternative was prohibitively expensive.
Charlie: The struggle to get timely treatment for my young son, who had three separate minor conditions, will be familiar to many. My local GP surgery’s answerphone informed me there were no appointments that day and, when I finally managed to speak to a real person, I couldn’t get him seen for nearly two weeks. I did consider an online consultation, but didn’t feel comfortable about putting my son in front of a screen. And going to see a private GP was both inconvenient and expensive.
Alex: We realised that we weren’t alone in our need for immediate but affordable healthcare for our families, especially if it was also available out of hours. It was this belief that there had to be a way to deliver timely healthcare to people’s doors, at an affordable price that inspired us to develop Qure.
Describe your typical day?
Charlie: We get in at around nine am, two hours later than in our old lives which is a bonus, talk to the team about the goals for the day and week, key issues that need our attention and then get to work. As we are currently in the middle of a seed-funding round, our day-to-day activity in terms of strategy, sales, operations and management is balanced with external investor meetings. We try to switch off in the evening but, running a 24/7 business, that’s not always easy.
What is the best part of your job?
Alex: I enjoy the focus that comes with working for yourself.
Charlie: It’s going to sound clichéd but seeing my idea actually out there working and making a difference. That and being my own boss.
What would you say the most important thing is in running a business? What has been the greatest lesson you have learnt?
Alex: To take things with equanimity, nothing is ever as bad as it seems; that said it’s certainly not for the faint-hearted. The greatest lesson is to take care of the big things first and everything else falls in to place – listening to your customers is a good place to start.
Charlie: Don’t waste time. Take the plunge and commit 150%. I wish we had done that as it took six months longer to get going than we had originally hoped. The other thing is to have a very balanced life as it can get really stressful so eating well, exercise and sleep all helps in creating good energy to work to your best.
What do you think it takes to be a Dad Boss?
Alex: Good time management and a supportive Mum Boss – an understanding and supportive partner is critical to be able to have two interesting careers and dedicate time to family life as well.
Charlie: My amazing wife is the boss!
How do you find a balance between running a successful business, and raising a family?
Alex: Making sure that you focus on doing only things that add value and are important. By being focused you can cut out a lot of extraneous effort, which means you can be there for them. It’s important to ask yourself, ‘why am I doing this?’.
Charlie: Making sure that, when I’m in Northern Ireland, I make time to be part of family life. I love dropping / picking up my son from nursery and seeing him grow up. Running a growing business takes its toll but if you are flexible then work and family can thrive simultaneously.
After work, how do you find time to relax?
Alex: Spending time with the kids is relaxing, but our social lives have perhaps suffered, but setting up your own business means your priorities change and the balance between work and family is the most important thing so I wouldn’t change it.
Charlie: Dinner with friends and family or a good drama (TV or novel)
What are your top tips for starting a successful business?
- Find a great partner.
- Don’t be scared to lean on your networks, people want to help.
- Think about everything from the customer’s point of view.
- Jump in and commit 150%
- Be a sponge and soak up everything that comes your way
- There’s no such thing as a brick wall. You will come up against hurdles that feel like they are the end of the road. Don’t fret… take a step back and a door will open once you’ve thought about the problem
- Make sure you have enough money saved up so you can survive without a salary for 12-18months
- Make sure your employees feel like they are stakeholders and are valued
If you were to host the ultimate dinner party and you could invite anyone in the world, who would be on your guest list?
- Elon Musk
- Angela Merkel
- Vladimir Putin
- Christina Lagarde
- Arsene Wenger
- Nelson Mandela
- Barack Obama
- George Washington
- Tom Cruise
- Elvis Presley
- Elon Musk
If you wish to find out more about Qure, head to the website or social media below.