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St. Pete startup SoleVenture partners with Austin-based health tech firm

Margie Manning

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SoleVenture, a St. Petersburg technology startup focused on helping self-employed white collar professionals, is rolling out health insurance as its first offering.

The company is partnering with KindHealth, an Austin, Texas-based firm with a national health insurance marketplace. Through the partnership, members of the SoleVenture community can get anonymous quotes, enroll in a plan and get help with their medical bills.

Eve Epstein, founder and CEO, SoleVenture Inc.

The partnership and health insurance offering are key steps for SoleVenture, which was established earlier this year by Eve Epstein, CEO. The company says it is redefining the gig economy by solving the biggest challenges of independent contractors.

“Our platform is designed for professionals based on what we learned in the Tampa Bay area of the most critical business needs. That focus is on building a professional network, building their credibility and sales lead generation,” Epstein said.

It’s important that SoleVenture offer quality health insurance with diverse options for all  its members, just as they would be able to access if they worked for an employer, Epstein said. KindHealth offers limited medical plans as well as major medical plans with major carriers and ancillary products.

“Their principal is that 80 percent of people sign up for the wrong health insurance,” she said. “We know it’s a difficult process to navigate. Our members are looking for a way to streamline their businesses, grow, go out on their own, and we needed a partner who could help them navigate the health insurance process.”

Epstein and Robyn Rusignuolo, SoleVenture’s chief operating officer, met the KindHealth leadership through industry connections, and found KindHealth to be a like-minded company.

“As soon as we started speaking we realized this would be an ideal partnership,” Epstein said.

KindHealth has built a marketplace for individuals’ health insurance that is customized to serve SoleVenture members, said Albert Pomales, CEO, in a news release.

“We’re here to help individuals seamlessly manage their healthcare. We’re looking forward to partnering with SoleVenture since they are helping to serve the growing sector of ‘solopreneurs,’ freelancers, and independent professionals,” Pomales said.

Epstein expects SoleVenture next to offer financial benefits, such as the ability to save for retirement accounts or vacations, and she’s looking for partners that can help with that. She’s tapping the expertise of a new board member —  Jason Putorti, executive director of Resistbot, a civic engagement nonprofit. He was the lead designer at Mint, a micro-savings app acquired by Intuit.

SoleVenture has started generating revenue from sponsorships, and is continuing to seek funding. SoleVenture has raised $900,000 as part of an overall $2 million funding round.

Potential investors and others will get a sneak peek of the SoleVenture marketplace platform next week, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10 at Webb’s City Cellar at 1133 Baum Ave. N.

She described the platform as “LinkedIn meets Instagram.”

“There’s a question prompt and you can do 30-second video clips in response to it. It’s a wonderful way of vetting, because you start to understand who the professional is. You get a better sense of is this a person I want to work with or hire, and then you are going to look at their profile to see their rates,” Epstein said. “The focus is not on bidding against one another, but much more about vetting and finding the right service and match for you.”

Epstein, a St. Petersburg native, said she’s excited to be building the company in St. Pete.

“It’s designed around the professional needs of our community but ultimately this will be a nationwide platform and we’re proudest that we’re growing it here at home,” she said.

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