Iman was born to Sudanese parents in Saudi Arabia. Her father is a successful ENT surgeon and her two older brothers are also surgeons. Over the course of her childhood, she lived in multiple countries including the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. Abuzeid moved to the United States when she was 24 years old.
Early Life and Schooling
Abuzeid received her bachelor of science in International Health from University College London in 2006. From UCL she also received an MBBS degree which is the equivalent of an MD degree in North America. Despite earning her degree in medicine, Abuzeid yearned for more, wanting to create change on a macro scale. Both of her grandfathers were serial entrepreneurs which really inspired her to do the same.
“I realized how much more of an impact you can have if you operate at a system-level. I wanted to have an impact on a macro scale. There are so many things — access, operations, and more — that if improved, can make a huge impact in health care.” she explains.8
Following this realization, Abuzeid returned to school at the prestigious Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. At Wharton, she studied Health Care Management and got her MBA in 2013. Abuzeid was a recipient of the Wharton Graduate and Kaiser Fellowship, both of which are merit-based.
Prior to founding Incredible Health Iman had an illustrious career working as a health policy associate and product manager. In 2008 Abuzeid was a summer researcher for Harvard’s School of Public Health where she assisted in the development of cost-benefit models for vaccinations. That same year she worked on the development and implementation of a high-profile charity initiative for the Prime Minister of the UAE. The initiative was critical in aiding the treatment and prevention of blindness for disadvantaged individuals in the region.1 Abuzeid was also a prominent employee at Booz & Company, a global strategy consulting firm. At Booz & Company, Abuzeid had many important roles. For instance, she planned the collaboration between New York hospitals and pharmaceutical companies to improve clinical protocol development and patient enrolment.2 Abuzeid also conducted stakeholder interviews and engaged with executives to improve efficiency and develop strategies for biopharmaceutical companies entering the diagnostic industry.3
In 2013 Abuzeid joined AliveCor as a Director of Product Management. Where she played a critical role in leading the product management of iOS, Android, and web for Venture Capitalist backed health startups. Abuzeid worked on product launches with FDAapproved algorithms, aiding in improving active users and increase in app downloads. Following her time at AliveCor, Abuzeid co-founded and led Lift League, an application that allowed wellness professionals to connect with their patients to build relationships and increase client retention. Lift League was her last startup before starting Incredible Health in 2017 and joining both NFX and Sequoia Scout.
Abuzeid, a former medical doctor and an expert in healthcare management, knows firsthand the difficulty of finding the right healthcare staff. She was privy to the difficulties of having nursing shortages and would often hear the same problems expressed to her from family members who are also in the health profession. Abuzeid recognized the problem and began working on solutions to address understaffing in hospitals and clinics. She partnered with co-founder Rome Portluck who was also a co-founder in her previous startup Lift League. Portluck, an MIT computer science alum, was an incredible asset providing critical input on the programming and software development side of the application. Abuzeid and her co-founder worked together to build and create Incredible Health, a hiring platform application that connects nurses with employers. Incredible Health was founded in 2017 and has since become the fastest-growing career marketplace for healthcare workers. As of today, Incredible Health has over 150,000 nurses on the platform and according to Inc is a number that is growing by 15 percent each month.2
Incredible Health had 3 funding rounds and raised a total of 17.3 Million. The company’s last funding round was a Series A and ended in September 12, 2019, with Andreessen Horowitz investing a whopping 15 Million dollars. Jeff Jordan, Managing Partner at Andreessen Horowitz comments on the investment and states:
“They’ve seen strong early success helping to match these health care professionals with hospitals throughout California, and are beginning to expand their solution nationally. We look forward to supporting their efforts to building a game-changing health care employment marketplace.”
With the money raised from Series A, Abuzeid and Incredible Health will work on expanding its candidate pool, enhancing matching algorithms, and optimizing the application. Incredible Health has cemented itself in the career marketplace because it vets and screens each applicant through a semi-automated process making it easier for employers to find staff. Additionally, Incredible Health analyzes over 40 different criteria including location preferences, licenses, and skills to increase match optimization.4 Interestingly, nurses do not apply to jobs on the application, unlike typical career marketplaces. Instead, it’s up to the hospitals to apply to nursing professionals that the algorithm presents as excellent candidates for the job vacancy.5 The switch from job seekers to being presented with hiring opportunities empowers nurses and allows them to be more in control of their careers. Incredible Health claims that nurses who found work through their platform saw on average a 17% salary increase and a 15% reduction in commute time.6
In addition to connecting employers with nurses, Incredible Health is very mindful of addressing race-based biases within the application. With thirty percent of nurses in the U.S. identifying as minorities, Abuzeid and the team at Incredible Health recognize the importance of diversity.
“By giving nurses salary data, it democratizes that and makes you more informed. We also provide talent advocates who are also nurses on our team that support every single nurse, helping them almost as career coaches to support them throughout the hiring process.”7 explains Abuzeid.
Incredible Health also takes steps to ensure the product isn’t itself reinforcing any existing biases that may be present, consciously or otherwise, on the part of hiring parties.
“We random sort the list of nurses as they’re displayed in front of employers and the application, or we use avatars instead of profile pictures. We’re also constantly monitoring the data that’s in the platform. So for example, we noticed that recruiters were biasing against nurses that lived farther away. And so we just removed the current location of the nurse, we just stopped displaying that, and that bias went away. So it’s really important that the software and our algorithms actually counter human bias.”8
Iman Abuzeid is part of our Black Founders50 Series. Download the complete 2023 BBVA Founders50 list here.