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How we Built a Healthcare Agency Headquartered in Austin, Texas, With 0% Funding and 100% Passion

It was the day before 9/11

We all remember the frightening days of 9/11. It was an event in our country’s history that will forever be remembered. That time was also one of hard economic struggle as commerce seemed to come to a screeching halt. Here in Austin, the city was already in a recession after the bursting of the dot com bubble. Tech companies were shedding employees and subleasing office space as fast as they could. Planes crashing into buildings only made that scenario worse. So, what did I do when I found out that the ad agency I worked for was closing shop? I negotiated a deal that allowed myself and two others to retain a small medical device client based in San Antonio. My hope was to keep that going for a few months until something better turned up. Instead, a few months has become nearly 20 years.

What about investors?

In today’s business environment, everyone is searching for funding to get their company off the ground. To me, the notion that someone else’s money is the only way to create a sustainable model is shortsighted. There are no shortcuts to longevity. Hard work, long hours and deep-rooted passion for the work is worth more than cash flow. Sweat equity was the keystone of our foundation then and still is today. But along the way, I did come to the realization that the best kind of investors are clients. Over the years, numerous customers have trusted us with their budgets and their brands, and we’ve always treated that kind of trust like a sacred oath. Because of our mutual partnership, we’ve been part of improving the lives of hundreds of thousands of cancer survivors. We’ve aided in improving vision for millions who’ve suffered from cataracts. And the agency has introduced life-saving technologies for heart patients in nearly every cardiological category.


At HCB we get our fair share of RFPs, but we don’t answer all of them. We think of the opportunity as a request for passion. When a healthcare brand asks us for our ideas, our thinking, how we would approach their launch, we have to first assess whether or not we can bring them passion. Do we believe in what they are trying to accomplish? Can we make a difference in the lives of others? Will we be good partners together? Only by answering yes to all of these questions will we move forward. After all, it’s a mutual investment that’s being made. Client to agency. Agency to client. And the fact that lives are at stake makes us take our relationships very seriously.

Our business has evolved

Our roots are here in Austin, Texas, one of the nation’s leading technology centers. It’s both our home base as well as our launching pad. Our intent is to improve the lives of as many patients as we possibly can. To do so, a few years back, we decided we needed to be closer to clients in the Midwest and the Northeast. By exporting our Austin-tatious thinking to other markets, we’re finding that we have a unique approach to marketing communications — one that combines creative thinking with data and innovation. We’re having more impact than ever before by working with companies that are addressing the opioid crisis or are bringing life-changing drugs to market for patients with kidney disease. Our evolution is making a difference.

Join us

We’re growing. Not just in revenue but in the way we think and approach the work. We need believers who want to work with us. We have just as much passion today, if not more so, than we did on day one, and our funding still comes from the same source: clients who value great work.


Kerry Hilton


For new business inquiries, please email us at:

[email protected]

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