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Health care in the palm of your hand

Alum’s virtual platform makes health management easier than ever
Seth Merritt headshot
In the spring of 2020, Seth Merritt (MBA ’21) was halfway through his Online MBA program and preparing to launch Welby Health, a remote patient monitoring platform, when COVID-19 transformed the health care industry. The nation’s stay-at-home orders significantly affected the telehealth product’s growth.

“It was odd that we were going out to market and all the providers realized they couldn’t rely on in-person care for patients,” Merritt says. “It reinforced the need for what we were doing.”

Though Welby Health is Merritt’s first major entrepreneurial venture, he’s no stranger to the health care scene; he has spent his career in corporate health care, where he noticed few resources for physicians to encourage patient success outside the clinic. Merritt wanted to create a product that allowed physicians to monitor evolving patient health needs while enabling patients to better navigate the health care system without sacrificing the quality of care or cost.

Merritt recognized COVID-19 would change how health care was accessed and delivered, and Welby Health was positioned to fill a gap in the industry. Using $50,000 he had earned from winning ASU’s New Venture Challenge, an eight-week course and competition for graduate students to compete for funding and support that could help them develop their products, Merritt and co-founder Dr. Taib Rawi piloted the platform in Rawi’s medical practice.

Merritt had been encouraged to apply for the challenge by Jared Byrne, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship & New Business Design. “Seth was one of those students who came in and you just knew this person will be successful no matter what,” says Byrne. “He turned the class into a living laboratory.”

While the New Venture Challenge often splits the prize money between multiple ventures, that year Merritt won the entire $50,000. He says he was honored but also felt an obligation to the university. “If I didn’t use it to return and show ASU that we did something meaningful, I’d feel disappointed with myself.”

Welby Health’s growth did not disappoint, and Merritt took the company to market in 2022. The platform offers chronic and transitional care management and remote monitoring of patient vitals such as blood sugar and blood pressure. As the Welby Health team grew its clientele, watching the company improve patient care was validating.

“Seeing that even at a very small scale, the stuff we were doing was having a real impact on people’s lives was really rewarding,” says Merritt. “We started seeing data around clinical outcomes actually proving that we are better at managing patients with high blood pressure or diabetes, and their vitals are going down into more normal ranges.”

From graduating with his MBA to starting a business, Merritt has learned a lot in the past three years—and he isn’t stopping there. As a licensed private pilot, Merritt is just hours away from earning his commercial license, and is considering enrolling in a computer science program focused on machine learning.

“You should always be thinking of ways to learn,” Merritt says. “I always keep my eyes open for stuff I’m interested in if it feels like it will benefit me personally or professionally. I’m always happier at the end of it.”

Learn more about the next New Venture Challenge, which is offered in session B of the spring semester and meets once a week on Monday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m.: entrepreneurship.wpcarey.asu.edu/venture

Learn more about the Center for Entrepreneurship & New Business Design: