(From LocalBusiness.com) AmericasChoice.com picks up $4M investment
Apr 17, 2000 01:58 PM ET
By Peg Brickley, LocalBusiness.com

Houston, TX., April 17 (LocalBusiness.com) -- America's Choice Healthplans landed a $4 million investment for its Web site, MyAmericasChoice.com, from Eureka LLP, a fund managed by Philadelphia's Berwind Financial Group.

The Web site links self-insured employers with employees, doctors and brokers. Its technology is what gives the site an edge over the competition, said Peter Gould, chief executive of Berwind, a 130-year-old private collection of ventures and companies that pulls in more than $1.5 billion in annual revenues.

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"In our due diligence we became convinced that America's Choice (the trademark name of MyAmericasChoice.com creator Medical Care Management Systems Inc.) had up-and-running Internet capaility for employers, employees and physicians that places them well ahead of anyone else," Gould told LocalBusiness.com.

"The tech edge is real, the clients love it and it's creating real value for those clients."

MyAmericasChoice has no plans to hustle into the public market anytime soon, said Chief Financial Officer Jefferson Kise.

Revenues were $1.3 million in fiscal 1998, and $2.6 million in 1999. In the fiscal year 2000 ending June 30, MyAmericasChoice.com is looking to bring in $4.2 million in sales. According to Kise, the target date for showing a profit is one year from now, April 2001.

America's Choice HealthPlan revenues are fees for the firm's services in providing self-insured companies the ability to manage their benefits packages online: sign up employees, verify eligibility, find doctors, and file, process and even pay claims.

MyAmericasChoice.com Chief Executive Clelland Green spent about $100,000 on technology to make the Web site useful. A veteran of the benefits industry, he spent most of last summer traveling around with his laptop, pitching the program and testing beta versions.

The company has spent nothing on advertising, yet has lined up clients like the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team, Kise pointed out.

"We were a nobody company and now (Phillies owner) Dave Montgomery carries an America's Choice card," the CFO said.

Instead of being a "bolt-on application," like competing Web sites that must link to insurer's sites and those of employers, MyAmericasChoice.com is a standalone operation that does more than communicate, he explained.

Our competition can't do what we're doing easily or quickly," Kise said.

Eureka cash paid for a minority stake in the company, in the form of preferred stock.

"There are numerous exits possible for this company, including just being recapitalized out," Gould said. "We have no particular game plan in mind here."

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