From Silicon Valley to Cedar Rapids: Serial entrepreneur behind Punctil returns to Iowa

After growing up on a small farm near Fairfield, Iowa, Ben Picard headed for the coasts and never looked back. Until the Iowa Startup Accelerator, that is. Picard studied economics and mathematics at Yale and recieved an MBA from Duke. He worked in corporate jobs in New York City before moving to Silicon Valley to pursue an entrepreneurial life. He built and sold two successful companies there. But, when he wanted to break into the health care industry with his next startup, he realized the Midwest was the place to be. Several of the largest health care companies in the world, per the Fortune 500 list, are located in the Midwest – including UnitedHealth Group in Minnetonka, Minn., Express Scripts Holding in St. Louis,  Wellpoint in Indianapolis and Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance in Milwaukee; Picard also noted Cerner in Kansas City, Epic in Verona, Wis., and Wellmark in Des Moines. “When I was looking at the companies I would be looking to to partner with, they were all Midwest-based,” Picard said. So, he joined the inaugural class of the Iowa Startup Accelerator to launch Punctil, a website and app that hopes to minimize patient wait times and appointment no-shows. The idea for Punctil was formed while Picard was sitting in a hospital waiting room with his two toddlers – and, after 45 minutes, they were not happy. Meanwhile, he overheard the receptionist struggling to re-arrange the doctor’s schedule because of several late arrivals and no-shows. Punctil hopes to solve both of these problems by giving the hospital or clinic a better idea of when the patient will arrive. The app sends out a…