An overdue bill can be one of life’s most stressful scenarios. That’s where Debtle Co. comes in.
The business, featured earlier this year on Project Pitch It on WISN-TV Channel 12, was created by Sheboygan couple Stephanie and Houston Hoskins. The company’s cloud-based software helps organizations streamline the negotiation, settlement and payment of overdue customer invoices.
Stephanie Hoskins spent several years in the health care industry working for different organizations on corporate finance and strategy. In one of her positions, Hoskins was tasked with analyzing the organization’s expenses and finding ways to be more cost efficient. While examining different departments, Hoskins looked at the call center – which was a sizable expense – to see why people were calling.
“When I sat with them, I realized lots of patients were calling with questions about their bills and also trying to make partial payments and negotiate,” she said.
The organization would write off 90% of a patient’s debt on day one, assuming that most of it would not be collected. The couple saw a business opportunity that would not only benefit the hospital system, but also the patients in the long run.
“It’s very impactful to society to be able to help families avoid going to third party collection agencies,” Stephanie Hoskins said. “Patients are less likely to see a provider if they owe them money. It’s impacting access to care. We started hearing horror stories of people being sent to collections. That’s when it became a social impact mission too.”
Houston Hoskins was working at a university at the time and noticed the same debt problems in higher education.
All the couple needed to do to tackle this issue was find a software that would automate the negotiation process and enable a company to set guidelines for how offers can be made. The only problem was that software didn’t exist yet. The couple ended up finding a Wisconsin software studio to build out the first version of Debtle’s platform. That development process took about six months.
Debtle’s pilot run involved inviting approximately 3,000 patients from across the country to use the software, targeting several industries.
“Now what we’re doing is automating financial assistance and then automating discount programs. Once that new amount is agreed on, we connect patients with as many ways to pay as possible,” Stephanie Hoskins said.
Thus far, Debtle has raised $190,000 from outside investors and $50,000 from pitch competitions.
Debtle Co. Co-Founders:Stephanie Hoskins, chief executive officer; Houston Hoskins, chief operations officer Website:debtle.dudaone.com What it does:Offers a software that streamlines the negotiation, settlement and payment of overdue customer invoices. Founded:2019