080: IVD Startup Goes from Sharing Home Office to Amazon Best Seller and VC Funding feat. Greg Sommer

Greg is a mechanical engineer turned entrepreneur after he got his feet wet at Sandia National Labs in point of care diagnostics for biodefense technologies. He was inspired to change the face of healthcare by empowering the consumer to monitor their own health at home in his startup Sandstone Diagnostics.


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More about Greg’s background:

Greg’s focus has been on clinical diagnostics in point of care and microfluidics in the emergency preparedness realm. Like others, he was frustrated that the majority of tests require you to go to the lab, wait a few days for the results, and consult with your doctor to get their report on those results so he wanted to make testing available at home for fertility.

How Greg’s company, Sandstone Diagnostics helps others:

Their product, Trak Fertility, empowers men to measure, count, and improve their sperm. Fertility has mainly been geared towards women and not much focus has been on the male side. In addition to their product, Sandstone has started a great community over at Cookyourballs.com to get the conversation started, provide support for one another, and to learn about male fertility.

Sandstone Diagnostic’s value proposition:

Sandstone’s goal is to empower men to take control of the fertility problems they’re facing. This is a growing epidemic and it’s finally getting some attention. Their product, Trak is #1 best seller on Amazon and they recently launched in January 2017 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Type of investment Greg and Sandstone Diagnostics are seeking right now:

They’ll continue to fundraise after establishing channels. They’re very direct to consumer now.

How Greg was able to sustain their living pre-revenue:

Like most startup founders, Greg was naive about how long it would take and how much money would be required to get his idea to market. He went about a year and a half with no salary or benefits but never had any doubts. He believed in his product and it was character building. He says that focus is critical and you need to be ready and able to take risks when you’re starting up.

The biggest rough wave Greg has overcome so far in his startup:

FDA clinical trials were more demanding than he thought. They had to go through a 240 patient blind clinical trial but for good reason. The FDA is really willing to work with people and they want to make sure tests are accurate, people can use diagnostics, and understand the results.

How Greg has kept himself motivated:

He’s had a goal to make this a successful startup and he’s been able to keep focused on that goal. Even more motivating than the goal is the nature of the product and to be a part of people starting a family is such a great feeling.

Greg’s best advice you can give medtech entrepreneurs:

Find your focus! For Sandstone Diagnostics, it was building the product. Weed out distractions, and do your homework on what works and what doesn’t work. Listen to stories from other startups that have come before you so you can learn from their journeys.

Greg’s best book recommendation and why:

How to Fail at Everything and Win Big by Scott Adams. He’s the creator of Dilbert and Greg has learned that goals are meaningless without systems.

Best way to get in touch with Greg:

linkedin: Greg Sommer
Twitter @trakhq

Join them in support of men’s health and prostate cancer awareness with their Movember campaign. More info at trakfertility.com

Favorite quote: Risk something or forever sit with your dreams by Herb Brooks

Host: Meghan Alonso

Host Company: Imua Services

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