Erica Plybeah (CEO/Founder) | Memphis, Tennessee
Erica Plybeah, MedHaul | Memphis, Tennessee
Erica was selected for a Google mentorship program focused on addressing the funding gap for startups led by Black founders. The program and its resources helped Erica get MedHaul going, and the company has since blossomed into a solution for thousands of patients across the country — especially those in underserved communities.
For example, 54% of Arts, Education, and Entertainment SMBs increased video conferencing to deliver what are traditionally in-person services.
Erica’s team, spread across multiple cities and time zones, has always relied on platforms such as Slack to communicate and software such as Asana and Upwork to manage projects. Her team turns to G Suite to get work done using “pretty much every Google product you can think of,” as Erica puts it, including Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Drive, Keep, and Analytics. MedHaul gets the word out on social media and via digital advertising through services like Google Ads. Erica says her business would not exist without digital tools.
Then, the pandemic struck, and the need for safe transportation options for patients with various needs became critical. Public transportation use is falling during COVID-19. Many public transport users are actively discouraged from using these services. Because of this, it’s clear that the model Erica’s company provides is going to become increasingly important for growing segments of the population.
Most SMBs (53%) also plan to continue to use more digital technologies in their business, even after the pandemic.
The first impacts of COVID-19 were felt through the company’s Google Analytics. The MedHaul team saw a large and continuing spike in traffic to its website and Facebook page. “The demand was so high, we weren’t sure how we’d be able to keep up with it,” Erica recalls. “But thanks to tools like Google Analytics, we were able to learn a lot about what our customers were looking for and how we could best serve them and engage with them.”
Since Erica’s company was accessible to customers online, and because it had already implemented strict sanitation protocols long before the pandemic, MedHaul was able to continue functioning nearly the same as it always had. That’s why, for Erica, the lessons of COVID-19 are less about the changes it forced on the company and more about the confirmation it provided about just how critical her services were. Indeed, MedHaul continues to grow and expand. Erica was able to add employees during the pandemic and plans to hire more.
Erica is already gearing up for her next project: helping the rest of the medical transportation industry move into the digital age with her. This is an industry that has, as Erica tells it, historically been technology-averse. COVID-19 has transformed this industry’s outlook dramatically. MedHaul is now working with transportation providers to help them improve and advance their own businesses — and, in doing so, MedHaul’s capabilities — by implementing more of the ideas that have already made her company so resilient.
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