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Ponytail Cap, Atlas MD Present at This Week’s 1 Million Cups

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This week’s 1 Million Cups at the Kauffman Foundation featured pitches for a ponytail-friendly baseball cap and a direct primary health care practice. Natalie Blake Scantlin, inventor of the Ponytail Cap, explained how her frustration with wearing a traditional adjustable-strap baseball cap led her to design her own version with a larger opening in the back to accommodate a ponytail.

After patenting the Ponytail Cap in 2001, Scantlin began selling it at kiosks. She also approached major headwear apparel companies to distribute the product. But they all declined, she was told, because women made up only 20 percent of the cap market.

Scantlin pressed on by creating her own infomercial, which she showed to the 1 Million Cups audience. The infomercial highlighted the different uses by girls and women of the ponytail cap—not only for playing softball, but also for tennis and golf, as well as during exercise and other outdoor activities.

“A lot of women wear it just because it’s not as hot as a regular baseball cap,” Scantlin said. “If you have shorter hair, you just spike it up in the back and make it stylish.”

Although still interested in going national with the Ponytail Cap, Scantlin said that her current goal was to sell the product directly to women attending baseball, football and soccer games at local sports stadiums through licensing or royalty agreements with the teams.

“I’d love to create a kiosk and just give it a hometown feel in the stadium …” she said. “It’s a demo product. You show women.”

Next up were Dr. Josh Umbehr and Dr. Doug Nunamaker, co-founders of Atlas MD in Wichita, which they described as the nation’s fastest-growing concierge or direct primary care practice.

“Healthcare’s broken, and we’re here to fix it,” Umbehr said. Instead of taking insurance, Atlas MD charges patients a monthly membership fee—$10 for children and $50 to $100 for adults based on their age. Patients in return get unlimited visits, no co-pays, a variety of free procedures and wholesale pricing on prescriptions and lab work with discounts of up to 95 percent. In addition, Atlas MD works with employers to provide less expensive health care coverage for their employees.

“We want to revolutionize communities and employers,” Umbehr said.

Atlas MD also sells its specialized direct primary care office software for $300 a month to other direct primary care practices.

“There are several hundred physicians already using this model nationally and growing rapidly,” Umbehr said.