Thank you to those who came to our demo Voice your Opinion meeting this last Tuesday night. We were lucky enough to have three guests from a local start-up, MedPilot, speak with us about their venture. We met to open dialogue about Innovation and Entrepreneurship on campus, and these gentlemen fit the bill for the night’s dialogue. Here’s a quick plot of the conversation:
1) Mike and Jordan (left and middle) started out of a school in Vermont. Coming to the city to engage the resources available here, they found their way to the human capital of Poly. Their company now employs their technical team almost exclusively from Poly grads
2) They started with a problem, like any good entrepreneurs, and built their business around a vision.
The task: provide a service to medical patients falsely charged for procedures.
The solution: use a non-profit company to assist patients dealing with debt from incorrect and exorbitant hospital charges.
3) The team now works out of the medtechspace united by their mutual passion.
More than any interview, however, there were many significant insights made along the way. And more than any interview, the passion, the strength, and the raw emotional power of their convictions emphasize how a product design can become a human-centered solution.
For our prospective entrepreneurs out there, nothing can beat meeting company leaders in early development when the pain and struggle is daily. Nonetheless, here is a recap of just a few of the insights they provided in their not-so-spare time:
· “The best way to solve a social problem is to build a business around it”
· You aren’t selling a product; you’re selling the vision behind the solution.
· For certain services it is good to be hyper focused and dominate the smaller markets. Once you dominate your niche, you gain a competitive edge.
· Orient your product towards the customer, spending any more time or money is simply guesswork.
If you haven’t caught up on your videos, they suggested you catch up on Simon Sineck “Start with Why” and Peter Thiel’s “The Stanford Startup Series.” Also, watch The Shawshank Redemption. Not just because there’s a fantastic quote that’s relevant to I/E, but because it’s also a dang good movie.
Other helpful hints:
· Always leave on good terms. Jordan told a touching tale about his previous boss who taught him everything he knew. Because of good relations, he was able to talk to open channels again after leaving their company and now his previous boss serves as one of their most spirited mentors.
· Don’t worry about profit in the beginning; you won’t be getting any.
Disregarding that last pearl of wisdom, it was exciting to have them there to speak with us! They opened the topic for us and provided some lasting impressions for those who attended. While there wasn’t as much time to discuss our perspectives, we enjoyed learning from our fellow entrepreneurs.
For those who didn’t make it, you missed some good face-to-face time, but come for our next event! Keep posted on the Greenhouse Stories site for more information.
Thank you and see you all again soon!
Noah, Jay and John, the Spring 2015 University Innovation Fellows