Alumni / April 10, 2024

Scaling Success Through Startups

Elan Mosbacher ’08

Elan Mosbacher
From finance to founder: Meet Elan Mosbacher, empowering healthcare entrepreneurs with Pinch. His journey showcases the power of pivoting and making a lasting impact.

Like many finance majors, Elan Mosbacher ’08 began his journey at the Robert H. Smith School of Business with his sights set on Wall Street. But an internship at a venture capital firm abroad during his junior year inspired him to shift his focus to startups.

“I knew coming in that I could be a business major on day one, but there was also time to explore [different types of] business and evolve what I wanted to do,” Mosbacher says.

While at Maryland, Mosbacher was also involved in the Hinman CEOs program, where student entrepreneurs live together, learn about entrepreneurship and can launch new ventures. It was this program and the reputation of the Smith School that drew the Chicago native east to Maryland, where he was also a Presidential Scholar and participated in the two-year College Park Scholars program for academically talented students.

After graduation, Mosbacher found himself working as a startup marketer, which he says he was well prepared for thanks to his finance degree from Smith. The analytical skills he learned were especially useful in digital marketing, which he says is all about numbers and ROI. “The best marketers I know in the startup world almost entirely come from finance, math, physics, or some sort of mathematical background.”

Mosbacher has been involved in scaling five venture-capital-backed startups. The most notable to date is SpotHero, which he helped to grow from a small startup to over $1 billion in sales, helping millions of drivers every month in over 300 cities find and pay for parking in garages, lots and valets.

After the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Mosbacher says SpotHero faced challenges, but over the long run the business got stronger and the quality of life of his peers in technology improved through the flexibility of remote work.

“One day one of my childhood schoolmates, one of the smartest people I know who became a surgeon, called me up and said ‘The healthcare professionals I work with are burned out and they all want to quit. I want to do something to help them’. That conversation turned into our startup Pinch, which uses my skills building marketplace startups like SpotHero and my co-founder’s training as a surgeon,” he says.

As CEO and co-founder of Pinch (, Mosbacher and his co-founder Dr. Jacob Avraham recognized that essential healthcare workers couldn’t easily start a side business using their clinical skills due to various regulatory and financial constraints. “So, we built a platform that removed all the barriers for them to become healthcare entrepreneurs where they could start treating patients in their community as a side hustle,” Mosbacher says.

To start, Pinch enables board-certified nurse practitioners to offer in-home medical spa services to clients from their own community. More importantly, Mosbacher adds, Pinch is focused on empowering nurse practitioners to become healthcare entrepreneurs and launch their own side gigs instead of taking an extra night or weekend shift.

“We started with medical spa treatments because, as we talked to nurse practitioners, that's what they want to do. It offers them the most autonomy, offers them the highest earnings and offers them the opportunity to do something they are passionate about. They love us and the clients love their Pinch Providers.” he says. Pinch is up and running in Illinois. The Smith alumnus hopes Pinch can expand geographies, provider types and service offerings as the business scales.

As Mosbacher looks back on his career, he recognizes the reward of his hard work in moments such as the brand recognition he sees for SpotHero when he’s wearing company swag at the airport or hearing from Pinch providers and clients on how the company has changed their lives for the better. He says none of it would have been possible without the support of his wife, who also attended the University of Maryland with him.

He encourages future business leaders to “make an impact.” Mosbacher says to focus on showing up and doing what you can to make the lives of those around you easier and overall make the world better. “Whatever you do, give it your all.”

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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

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