Some companies are just different. Whether it’s the nature of the industry, the culture, leadership or all three; it’s something I’ve come to recognize over the last decade of interviewing and writing about tech firms in Indiana.
Renaissance Electronic Services is definitely different. Walking into the new Southside Indianapolis headquarters feels more like entering a contemporary art gallery with vintage motorized billboard pieces, encaustic beeswax collages, colorful cairn-like wooden sculptures and other art on display throughout the expansive former Gerdt Furniture store off of S. Madison St. and Southport Road. I met four dogs who came to work with their owners on the day I visited, and I observed preparations for an employee recognition event while taking a tour. More about the space and vibe is included later.
Renaissance Electronic Services processed 65 million dental claims last year through its software-as-a-service platform, connecting more than 30,000 dentists across the country with their patients’ insurers and providing products and services that enable better dental care. That volume of business amounts to a 15 percent market share of the nearly 200,000 practicing dentists in the U.S., leaving room for significant growth. The insurance companies and insurance clearinghouses are also a customer source for Renaissance Electronic Services, which provides clean, quick and compliant claims processing much improved and enhanced over traditional paper claims.
“In truth, the dental market has been a bit slow in terms of technology adoption compared to the healthcare industry as a whole,” said Eric Joseph, CEO of Renaissance Electronic Services. “The majority of dental practices are still small businesses operating on about $650,000-$850,000 in annual revenue, which makes a big investment in back office tech difficult.”
For a $49.95 monthly fee and no contract, Renaissance Electronic Services provides electronic claims processing that saves the average dental practice up to $1,300 a year. They also gain access to productivity tools, payments processing and customer care services that allow them to focus more on patient care.
“Dentists, like other professionals, are passionate about what they do, and they didn’t spend a small fortune and eight years of schooling to spend most of their time processing insurance claims and doing other paperwork,” Eric said. “For less than what most people spend just on Internet service every month, our software and services eliminate a lot of the hassles and can help make a dental practice run more smoothly and profitably.”
Further, what Renaissance Electronic Services provides is a streamlining to the entire process of going to the dentist. Instead of the patient or dentist (or both) calling the insurer to see what is and isn’t covered, Renaissance Electronic Services connects them to detailed and real-time coverage feedback that offers piece-of-mind and avoids costly surprises.
Over the past few years, Renaissance Electronic Services has made some monumental shifts in infrastructure moving from its own large server operations to cloud-based software-as-a-service, enabling a much more nimble approach to providing the latest functions and features while still secure and HIPAA-compliant.
Kris Grimes, vice president of engineering at Renaissance Electronic Services, recounted that at one point the company had three server rooms and that a great deal of staff time was dedicated to “keeping the trains moving” instead of innovating.
Decommissioning servers and moving to the cloud was a pivotal moment for the company that supercharged everything and unleashed the creativity and ambitions of sales and marketing, customer support, and especially his technical and engineering teams.
“From a recruiting perspective, I don’t think there’s a better draw for tech talent than showing them you’re working in the cloud, in serverless environments, and experimenting with the latest technologies,” Kris said. “Instead of working according to the limits of our technology, we’re free to work the way we want to, the way business and our customers demand. We’re agile-based and partnering with other Indiana tech companies like Trek10 on architecture, and that has proven to be very appealing to engineers and other tech-skilled team members.”
Renaissance Electronic Services currently employs 150 people, and according to Eric the growth will continue as the company brings new innovations to dental practices and dental service organizations (DSOs — like Aspen Dental) that increase efficiency and profitability.
“Of course there’s a lot of room for growth and we’re pursuing it, but not chasing it,” Eric said. “Success is a great feeling. Who wouldn’t want more of that? However, we make and sell a utility mostly to small businesses in an industry where a lot of software companies are always moving up-market to sell higher-dollar products to enterprises. That’s not who we are or what we do and I think that makes us unique.”
The uniqueness of Renaissance Electronic Services isn’t limited to its business model as the art collection, visiting dogs and employee appreciation event foreshadowed. It could be the Southside location, the focus on serving small businesses in a different industry, or a lasting humility from starting in a garage in Martinsville, Ind., some 17 years ago. Jill Casey, vice president of marketing & business development, thinks it’s a combination of all those things and a purpose-built culture that appreciates the individual.
“There was a time when we thought of ourselves as more of a healthcare company than the tech company we are today, and it just didn’t fit us,” Jill said. “Yes, we offer all of the perks people have come to expect working at tech companies today, but it’s more than the superficial freebies, it’s a company-wide vibe, behaviors that tell you we’re in this together and we love coming to work every day with our coworkers.”