Goodbye Boston, Hello San Francisco

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My name is Shobin Uralil and I am the co-founder of a healthcare payments startup called Lively. Lively is creating a new and improved Health Savings Account offering to employers, employees and individuals seeking to save for future healthcare expenses. I started the company with my long-time friend Alex Cyriac. Alex is one of the smartest and most determined people that I know. You will get to know him better through future posts, but for now, you’ll just have to believe me.

Lively HSA Founders

Our goal is to share our experiences, opinions, and general feelings about the HSA, health insurance, and the future of U.S. healthcare. Along the way, we will tell you more about ourselves and Lively, but for now, I will give a glimpse into some of the things I am dealing with as a founder.

Alex and I decided that Lively would be headquartered in San Francisco, CA. I currently live in Boston and Alex lives in the Bay. Company in SF + Shobin (and family) in Boston = startup challenge. Why San Francisco? Yes, it is costly to live there, hiring talent is difficult, and traffic is terrible. But at the end of the day, we are building a software company and our belief is that you stand the best chance at building a successful software company in the Bay Area (all else being equal). Partnerships, investors, access to talent, resources, culture, ecosystem, etc. etc. I am not saying you can’t build a successful company elsewhere, but we felt this was the best move for us.

Starting a company is hard enough. Starting a company and moving your family in the process is even harder and that is the situation I currently find myself in. Luckily, things seem to be falling into place. We are a family of three (myself, my wife, and our 18-month-old son). We live in a single-family home in South Boston and have been in Boston for the last 8.5 years. Boston has been incredible to us and we will always cherish our memories here. After making the decision to move, the first challenge was to sell our house. Luckily for us, the housing market in Boston is still strong. We were able to put our house on the market a few weeks ago and one open house later, it was sold.

Ok — house sold. Now what? We needed to find our son a daycare in the Bay. After calling 19 different daycares, there was exactly one opening that we found so we put down a deposit to secure his spot. Ok — daycare issue solved. Now we needed to figure out where we are going to live. My wife and I took a flight out to SFO last week to look for places to live. Arguably, this was the most difficult part. We looked at 8 different places, most were half the size of our home in Boston and more expensive! I thought I was prepared for the sticker shock, but I guess not. The very last place we saw was the one that we wanted most. My wife found it before it even hit the market and we would be renting directly from the owner. It was perfect. We submitted our rental application, which seemed like it was more complicated than applying for a mortgage. After 2 excruciating days of waiting around to hear if we were approved, we got the email saying we are good to go!

I got back to Boston late last week and spent all weekend creating an inventory of our home and what we would move (including our car). A cross-country move with a baby is not a desirable position to be in. Getting quotes has been tedious, but a necessary evil in this process. After much searching, we are close to securing a mover.

Thousands of dollars flowing out and no money coming in is also painful, but the reality is that when you find something worth working for, you will go through all kinds of hoops to make it a reality. I am nervous for many reasons, but building a successful company to help millions of Americans is not one of them.

I am sad to be leaving our family and friends on the East Coast, but looking forward to the next chapter in our lives. As a former colleague used to say: “onwards and upwards.”

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