A Slice on Cindy Jordan, Founder and CEO of Pyx Health
Women founders in tech are few and far between, but Cindy Jordan saw that as a challenge, rather than a barrier. Jordan is no stranger to this disparity, as her journey started as a night-shift police officer in Washington D.C., and then a political fundraiser and marketer before becoming a health technology entrepreneur. What Jordan had on everyone else was the ability to connect. She’s been able to bring others along on her journey, raising $19.2 million to date for her current healthtech company, Pyx Health.
In 2017, Jordan set out on a mission to treat loneliness. Her stepdaughter, dealing with bipolar disorder, had been in and out of the hospital for 12 months. Jordan thought through all of the things she could have done differently to help her stepdaughter like any caring mother would. One thing her stepdaughter said caught her attention, she was feeling lonely. Jordan latched onto this and researched like crazy to see what was currently being done to treat loneliness… nothing. In the U.S., loneliness is stigmatized and not treated as a chronic condition. Already having started another healthcare company in 2010, Jordan was ready to tackle this problem herself, this time with a proven track record and a very personal mission.
Thus, Pyx Health was born with a “peanut butter and chocolate” approach to treating chronic loneliness and social isolation. The “peanut butter” takes shape as an empathetic and funny, 24/7, scalable chatbot while the “chocolate” is a call center of people (A.K.A ANDYs: authentic, nurturing, dependable, your friend) who can relate and are ready to provide companionship. Patients can use the chatbot whenever, and it acts as a friend to lean on rather than having intimidating clinical conversations. On the backend, the Pyx team uses an algorithm to determine what next steps they may need to take. That’s when the ANDYs step in and check in on patients who may be dealing with anxiety, loneliness, or an urgent social determinant of health. Further, if a patient is in a chronic state of loneliness, they’ll go through the Pyx Thrive program for eight to 12 weeks, with regular interaction and a positive psychology approach to move them through this state.
Due to her proven track record and ability to get others to believe in her mission, funding Pyx Health hasn’t been a big hurdle for Jordan. As a police officer, Jordan learned how to connect with people even in their lowest moments. As a political fundraiser, she learned how to get people on board with and passionate about a certain belief and the person who could deliver on it. In her first venture, Medical Referral Source (MRS), Jordan started with the classic “friends and family” fundraising round, which consisted of annoying her friends and family at BBQs about her business in hopes they could help her out. After eventually raising enough to make a minimum viable product, she could get investors on board and later sell the company with some nice ROIs.
Having this experience and building a positive reputation in the Arizona startup community, Jordan has had a lot of success finding capital for Pyx Health, especially recently with women-owned private equity firm Rallyday. Not to say the fundraising journey has been easy for Jordan, as a woman founder she found herself taken much less seriously and had relatively limited access to capital in a male-dominated industry and role. Finding investors who wanted to invest in her, not just get a monetary return, was a big learning for Jordan. She was able to relate to Nancy Phillips at Rallyday, also a “badass woman entrepreneur” who believes in her and can provide more than just money.
While pitching to Rallyday, Jordan took a personality test to determine fit, and her results came back with a very high score in persuasion. Reflecting on this result, Jordan agrees that she’s been able to use her high EQ (emotional intelligence) to connect with people and persuade them to believe in her even though she didn’t come from money and has struggled being a woman in male-dominated industries. “If I was giving advice to anyone starting out, it’s, believe and be persuasive. You’ll be surprised how many people will take a flyer.”
In 2020, COVID-19 and the following quarantine has brought the issue of loneliness to light. It has become easier for people to get on board with Pyx Health’s mission, having dealt with extreme loneliness themselves and the stigma around it dwindling away. Jordan will continue her path with Pyx Health and her personal mission to treat loneliness for the foreseeable future. She eventually sees herself starting an all-women investment firm, focusing on helping founders put the right processes in place to be successful themselves.
Cindy Jordan has had a career as a police officer, presidential campaign fundraiser, marketing strategist and founder of IT startup, MRS, now known as Crimson Medical Referrals. Jordan is now Founder and CEO of Pyx Health. Connect with Jordan on LinkedIn.