Emilio Galan M.Sc. ’15, Founder, HonestHealth

Berkeley Founders’ Pledge member Emilio Galan received his M.Sc. in Health & Medical Sciences in 2015 with a domain focus on Healthcare Policy & Economics.

Emilio founded honesthealth™ to make information on network, quality, pricing, and value of healthcare plans and providers more simplified and transparent to the public. Berkeley Innovators asked Emilio to share his thoughts on his experience at Cal, and to discuss some of the opportunities and challenges he’s seeing as his startup gains momentum.


What have you carried from your Berkeley experience to your work in innovation and entrepreneurship?

My masters program at Berkeley encouraged me to explore the health care system through the lenses of Berkeley Law, Haas, and the I School in addition to my department in the School of Public Health. This perspective enabled my work through HonestHealth where we provide data analytics and software development for commercial and public health care organizations.

What advice would you offer students just beginning their careers in the startup world, either as founders or as early team members?

Your greatest assets will be industry experts, potential customers, and other entrepreneurs to 1) learn as much as you can about the field or market you want to innovate and 2) get feedback quickly and frequently to truly meet a market need.

What’s the hardest thing about your work in a growing company? What keeps you up at night?

Our greatest challenge, and opportunity, is the shifting landscape of our current health care system. Changes in regulations have drastic effects on the health tech ecosystem.

How did you bounce back from your early failures and use those experiences to fuel your later successes?

[F]ailures are not wasted effort. I frequently learned most when I have unexpectedly failed.

As an entrepreneur, you’re told to push through barriers and face down rejection. How do you know when it’s time to pivot or sunset a project you’re working on?

Pivots come in all shapes and sizes. Both opportunities and repeat failures have prompted us to pivot. We have tailored our services to customers almost on a day-to-day basis.

Has Berkeley been helpful to you in your entrepreneurial endeavors? If so, what have you valued most about your interactions with Cal or the resources it provides?


Berkeley has provided me with both skills and colleagues that regularly help me in my work at HonestHealth. Especially through Quantitative Methods for Health Policy with Dr. Brown and Health Policy & Law with Dr. O’Leary, I was well equipped to approach large-scale challenges in the healthcare system with quantitative, data-driven solutions.

What is your company’s biggest challenge or hurdle at your current stage?

The biggest challenge at this stage has been expanding our services into the commercial insurance market because of the highly technical and specific nature of our work in state-level health care data and transparency efforts. There are significant applications for our work in the commercial market and we are actively seeking opportunities in this space.

What’s the most exciting opportunity at this stage?

Working with novel health care data in innovative ways. Most of our contracts are with state-level organizations working on building a data infrastructure to serve their residents for years to come.

You’ve chosen to make the Berkeley Founders’ Pledge. What inspired you to do that?

I chose to make the Berkeley Founders’ Pledge to support ongoing entrepreneurship at my alma mater. Berkeley is training some of the brightest minds in the heart of the start-up world.

Interested in joining Emilio Galan in his commitment to Cal? Make the Berkeley Founders Pledge and have an impact from Day One of your latest venture.