033 – Real Advice from Real People of Real Startups Roundup

Want to hear from real startups about their journey in medical device development?  You got it right here…

When I was at the OCTANe Medical Device Investor Forum recently, I had the chance to interview several startups about their journey, what their technology is, and what advice they would give to someone just starting out. They’re battling the rough waves of development but they get right back on their board when they fall off. I hope this inspires you to do the same and IMUA with your idea!

Take action! Click here to sign up for FREE to beta test our new “Invention Idea to Profitable Product” OR you can text the word “INVENTION” to 44222.

  • The best part of a startup journey according to Rich Hanson of PhageTech and Byron Shen of Velox Biosystems [5:18]
  • A brief history of Milk Tracker by Avento Technologies [6:52]
  • The hardest part of being a startup according to Mandy Gagedeen of SugarCube [10:22]
  • Why it’s important to know how fit and adjust personality and leadership style in startups from Neto Sosa of Velox Biosystems [12:05]
  •  Why startup is more than just building a business or being cool [14:41]

Jiji the Penguin from the Mind Research Institute:

Jiji penguin

Next Steps:
Text INVENTION to 44222 to stay updated about upcoming beta launch of program for entrepreneurs and inventors or click here.

Host: Meghan Alonso

Host Company: Imua Services

PhageTech: www.phagetech.com

Velox Biosystems: www.veloxbio.com

Avento Technologies: www.aventotech.com

SugarCube: www.thesugarcubeapp.com

All Podcasts:
iTunes: bitly.com/Inspire

Full Transcription:

Recorder: Are you ready to master the waves of medical device product development? Well wax up your surfboard because you are listening to inspired by Imua. Here is your medical device product development expert that Hawaiian hearted hostess who will help you hang ten. Meghan Alonso.

Meghan: E komo mai and aloha! You’re listening to inspired by Imua, where we help you master the waves of medical product development. Each week we interview guest that educate, guide and inspire to give you and your product the skills you need to hang ten. If this is your first time listening, Imua is a Hawaiian word. It’s spelled I-M-U-A meaning to advance forward with passion despite rough waves. There are plenty of those in medical product development but keep listening because we’ve got you covered. So welcome back! I am glad you’re with me today. I have a different treat for you. We talked about a conference few weeks ago where I interviewed Bill Carpou of OCTANe and I just got back recently from the medical device investor forum and I wanted to give you a lot of inspiration. I know developing a product is not easy. I know that a lot of you had this idea in your head for awhile and just kind of thinking how do I get this out on market. What do I do next? Oh, it seems so hard and I don’t know if I could ever do that. I made it a point to talk to with quite a few of start up companies when I was there. There was lots pitching for investment and there was also lots of them walking around looking for investment, exhibiting, talking about their product; just building up some hype which is great to do by the way. If you are not out there networking, go ahead and start yesterday. You need to get out there and learn from people. And in addition to that, I’ll toot my own horn, you need to be listening to the podcast; you need to be checking out our video blogs. I have free trainings that I do on YouTube. If you’re more of a visual person where you can get it there. If you really don’t care of the visuals, just play it on your computer, walk around and do something else. So what I did, I compiled some audio for you from various startups that I talk to, I asked them about their company so you’ll hear what’s going on out there. And this is local somewhat to Orange County California on what’s going out there and I talked to them about what’s been really tough for them. If they were just starting now or they just met someone starting now, what advice that they would give. So these are real stories from real startups with real advice for you. So don’t just take my word for it, just take their word for it. So if you don’t already know, I have a program and it’s in beta right now. So you have the opportunity to go through this program for free. So whatever you’re doing right now unless if it’s dangerous, if you’re driving don’t do this, it can wait. So you can either head on to imua-services.com/iipp that’s short for Invention Idea for Profitable Product or you can text the word INVENTION to 44222. So either one of those will give you information about this program and fill up the application, I am accepting them until November 30th but hey if you catch this after November 30th, head on over there anyway because there are some treats for you and that just mean that the program is being refined and will be released soon for the paid version. So we’ll jump in to the audio. I do wanna say a funny thing that happened and I am bummed about this on our first segment of interviews here towards the end I get interruption and I thought I was capturing it and I missed it. So I missed the interview with Jiji the Penguin. Darn it. So I would like to give a shout out to Matthew Peterson of Mind Research. He was my translator for Jiji the Penguin. Jiji is spelled as J-I-J-I and Mind Research has got some cool things going on with Stem Education. Check it out, they have this adorable penguin who was at the event walking around. He was friends with everyone, of course. And I’m gonna put a picture of Jiji the Penguin on the show notes page today. So you can head on to imua-services.com or the homepage for this podcast actually just inspiredbyimua.com and it will take you right there to the podcast page. Okay without further ado we’ll jump into the interviews. Hope you’ll enjoy it.

Meghan: Say your name and the company that you’re involved right now.

Rich: Hi I’m Rich Hanson, founder of Facetag.

Meghan: So Rich what would you say and Facetag is not your first company that you started up, what’s been the best part about the startup journey? You have your ups and downs but at the end of the day, what’s your best part?

Rich: Well the satisfaction of getting it right is the ultimate reward. It’s constantly rewarding no matter what. You know you’re working with incredible people, smart people, getting something accomplished that’s never been accomplished before. There’s a whole list of things like that.

Meghan: Yeah, well good.

Byron Shen: Hi Byron Shen of Velox Biosystems. We’re on a Technosis space.

Meghan: So Byron what has been your favourite part about being involved in a startup?

Byron: Yeah, for me it’s about creating something new that nobody has done before. So that’s very, very interesting, very exciting.

Meghan: So both of you guys are on the diagnostic space and there’s a giant penguin right behind us.

Rich: That’s what happened.

Meghan: I wish I could interview the penguin. I wish this was on video.

Simof: So my name is Simof Maschiloch I’m a part of Avento Technologies and what we’ve done is we developed Milk Tracker which is a comprehensive feeding and breastfeeding tracker for NICU nurses in the ICU and in the PICU in the hospital space. So healthcare errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. And our aim as a company is to help bring down that number as much as possible. The very first product that we developed is the Milk Tracker. So the typical scenario when you don’t have the piece soft on place nurse tells or inform the mom that mom needs to pump the milk and the mom needs to provide the breast milk to the hospital because the baby is premature. So the baby can latch on and needs to sit on the bed and go through the typical premature baby process. So when the mom pumps the breast milk and provides it to the hospital, the hospital then has this some labelling system or handwrites notes on who the bottle is intended to be fed to. Then the bottle is put on the fridge or the freezer at some later point maybe on someone else’s shift, she grabs the bottle form the fridge, reads the label on it and walks towards the bed of the baby, reads the barcode or the bracelet on the baby and makes sure that those numbers matched. And then she plugs on the second nurse and says, ‘Hey nurse 2 can you come by and please take a look and verify that these two labels are matching.’ So already we got a system where we not only need two nurses to verify the feeding and it can also be done and there’s no digital method to scan it or verify and there’s a giant gap on technology in this space. So what we’ve done is we created the bar coding system where we provide a rim of labels that she can go home with and she instantly just peel of the label and attaches it to the bottle and that bottle can be sent to the hospital and the hospital can then scan the bottle to verify whether or not the baby can be fed that particular milk. The application also helps with the efficiency that don’t require the second nurse where you have that piece of technology in a way that prevents that eyepathy at three A.M. in the morning ones begins looking seven, threes began looking like eights. And there’s really a big disconnect here on getting tired on a twelve hour shift and being able to provide the best service required for the baby being born premature. So the application itself sort of verifies that the nurse is going through her work correctly. And in addition to that, we also handle donor milk, as well as nutrients fortification and bunch of different part of the nurse’s daily workload and sort of help of the efficiency in the NICU workplace.

Mandy: My name is Mandy Gagedeen we’re with Graphic Technology and our product is called the SugarCube.

Meghan: So what is the SugarCube? Tell me a little bit about that.

Mandy: The SugarCube is a revolutionary diabetes lifestyle management app. Where not only it’s an app, it has glucometer and test kit for type I and type II diabetes. Our glucometer meter and test kit will be Bluetooth to our mobile app. So when you touch yourself before you take the insulin or after you take the insulin it will be Bluetooth to our mobile app. Which is free right now on the Apple Store.

Meghan: So tell me, I know on the startup company you’ve had your share of ups and downs and it’s a difficult journey. What’s been the hardest part for you guys?

Mandy: The most complicated part for us is getting a network of people that understand your realm of what you do. A lot of people can understand diabetes but not understand how it affects your life. And meeting people in that industry is difficult especially if you’re from other state, when you’re in a new town or a new city, your network is just a lot smaller. And finding funding for that is even more difficult.

Meghan: If you were to give one piece of advice to someone just starting out, just starting with their idea, what would you tell them?

Mandy: I would say keep trying, use your social network; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Ask your questions out there. I’ve asked random questions and people gave me, ‘Hey you know try this guy, or talk to this person. Look this website up.’ And you start picking up all the things that you need, but if you give up you’ll gonna feel a disappointed. You’ll gonna definitely feel a heartbroken that your dream has really been gone out because you really didn’t try. And it’s easy to try now. Everything is in Google. You can go to a coffee shop and ask there, ‘Do you know anyone who is diabetic?’ And they might not know anyone who is diabetic but they might not know someone then know someone then know someone. So I think it’s a lot easier to get a network of people but to keep that consistency in your circle probably a little difficult.

Meghan: Well, thank you!

Neto: So my name is Neto Sosa and I’m the Chief Technology Officer for a Biotech company called the Velox Biosystems.

Meghan: So tell us a little bit about Velox Bisosystems.

Neto: So Velox Biosystems has a technology that can find microbes like blazingly fast. So currently, the fastest technology takes at least 8-16 hours to find bacteria. But bolt standard technology can take about 2-3 days but we do all of that in about an hour.

Meghan: So being part of the startup I know you have your ups and downs and it’s a long arduous journey, what’s one of the toughest moments you’ve ever had as a startup? Or one of the hardest things being a startup?

Neto: I think for me personally one of the hardest things I’ve had on my in this is my personality leadership style fits in with other personality leadership styles. And where you’re a startup, there’s a lot of chef in the kitchen and everybody’s input is valuable and it’s been a journey for me to sort of learn how I fit in a kitchen with three or four chefs. And how I can do, how I can adjust to make what we try to do as a team in the most efficient, in the most productive, in the most fruitful. You know that’s been a really big. I’ve had a lot of growth as a consequence of what i did. You know to not be the only chef in a kitchen in the sort of what I’ve been used to. When you get into a startup there’s a lot of people who are ambitious. You’re not gonna be on a startup unless you’re ambitious, unless you like risk, unless you like to sort of challenge status quo. And if you’re not on a startup, it’s very hard to find other people like that, but then once you do all come together, there’s a period where everyone sort of finding where they fit. An d we all have the same goals as long as everyone is trying to do that, you’re good. That’s been one of the things I struggled with for the past months.

Meghan: yeah, I think that’s a great lesson I haven’t heard yet. Just leveraging each team member’s strengths; where you’re most efficient with. Well one of you will do this, why I? I am a little bit better on engineering, someone will focus on that.

Neto: When you have clear cut skill set I think it’s a little bit easier. But once what if it’s like everyone want to take electrical engineering and on top of that one has that ego battle. ‘Well I should do the electrical engineering because you know XYZ or what if everyone sort sucks at market research but market research is get down set. There’s a lot compromise but I think once you find the flow and sort of accept the role and focus on the end goal it becomes a lot easier. And once your team centre gets the flow it’s like everything will be given. It’s nice.

Meghan: So if you had one piece of advice for not even a company yet, just maybe one or two people that says, ‘Yeah, we have this great idea. Yeah, we’re gonna start a company.’ What would be your best advice for them?

Neto: I think, what I think is the best advice is if you’re in this different version from different people, make sure you’re doing because you think it’s important and because it’s something you want to do. You know a lot of people wants to start a startup because the idea of doing a startup is cooler, because the idea of owning or starting a business like that idea feels to them, right? You know whatever the idea is just a sort of means to an end. I think it’s really important to make sure that you want the idea to be successful for its own sake and not because it has anything to do with having a startup or being a successful. I think that’s probably what I realized has kept me the longest as I care about.

Meghan: Great, well thank you! So there you have it. That wraps up our interviews for the Medical Device Investor Forum that was held recently in Orange County California. And I hope that you have some inspiration. I hope that you’ve heard this people talk about their products and what they’ve been through. They’ve had their fair share of rough waves, but they’re keeping the course, they’re getting on their board, they’re wiping up they get right back on and ride on the next wave. You know you can too. So I highly encourage you if you will head over to imua-services.com/iipp or again text the word INVENTION to 44222. Get in that beta program for my new program called Invention Idea to Profitable Product. So lays out kind of overview, what you should know about product development, the first steps that you can take crafting your pitch, talking about how you can get in front of investors you need to connect with and I’ll see you over there. Until the next episode, Imua!

Recorder: Mahalo for joining us. If you’re new to riding the waves of medical device product development, or if you’ve been in development for a while already, Inspired by Imua is here to surf with you. Want to be a master of the waves? Text hang ten that’s all one word H-A-N-G-T-E-N to 44222. We’ll send you the most common wipe outs companies make in product development so you can avoid them and reach master wave status. Again, that’s hang ten to 44222. We publish a new episode every Tuesday, so catch us at Inspiredbyimua.com. Imua!

About the Author

Meghan M. Alonso
Meghan M. Alonso, referred to by Shark Tank’s Kevin Harrington as a medical device development expert, is known for equipping medtech & IVD companies with the knowledge, resources, and connections they need to bring innovative products to market. She’s the IVD Product Marketing Manager for NAMSA and founder of Imua Services. She’s a contributing author for best selling book “Put a Shark in Your Tank” with Shark Tank’s Kevin Harrington, and the prestigious “Molecular Profiling – Methods and Protocols”(a must read in molecular diagnostics). Her podcast, MedTech Inspired, in which she interviews the hottest startups, experts, and investors, won iTunes “New and Noteworthy”. According to the Huffington Post, she helps clients navigate the complicated process of bringing their ideas to the marketplace. She’s a patriotic military wife, pet parent, founder and co-founder of 4 successful companies who thrives on guiding medical device and IVD companies through development and manufacturing. When she isn’t helping others, Meghan is hard at work on her MBA she is pursuing from Auburn University, staying active with her adorable husky Abby, crossfitting, enjoying great restaurants and fine wine with her husband, soaking up the sun the nearest beach, and promoting the adoption of shelter dogs.

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