Healthcare Wearable Technology Solutions Asthma Management
Nick Delmonico, CEO Strados Labs
On Today’s Show 031
Nick is developing a smart asthma management patent pending technology. He currently is getting a Masters of Business Administration in Healthcare at the Fox School of Business and Management Temple University.
What we will discuss on today’s show:
Nick is developing a smart asthma management patent pending technology. He is currently getting a Masters of Business Administration in Healthcare at the Fox School of Business and Management Temple University.
We talk to Nick about his personal story, background and what he is doing to help people. He also tells us why he got into the business of asthma management.
Our in-depth interview also touched on sales and distribution channels and the strategy for building it out in the future and raising money, pivoting from the initial design, how to commercialization and various go to market strategies.
For Nick, it’s about solving problems not just coming up with a rockstar idea. As a child asthma impacted Nick sending him to the nurse’s office and to the hospital. He dealt with it and played sports actively. We also talked to him about targeting the end user and making key changes on the device from feedback. The first version was going to be a necklace piece of jewelry but he had to pivot and iteract quickly.
He first pitched the idea to solve the problem to help people find out and learn more about asthma at a Jefferson Hospital Health Hackathon sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield. He created a real rough prototype and pitched it to the judges.
With the original prototype he needed to pivot and made changes. His team consists of a biomedical engineer now an MD, neurologist at Jefferson Hospital and lead technologist. A software engineer from the hardware side.
It’s not a diagnostic test like sounds of your lungs for asthma management. Nick did online asthma surveys as well as in person. Determined that a necklace with an adhesive type of device was not going to work but a chest strap idea would work better as it was able to stay clean so the process of iteration and leverage and focusing on what the end user really wanted was key as they came up with rapid prototyping.
So how do they plan on patenting the technology and raise money?
It’s all about leveraging resources – the group first went to the Drexel Law Club who work with entrepreneurial early stage startups but they did not have an FDA focus on technologies. However, Temple University Institute of Entrepreneurial Innovation helped provide a local patent attorney.
Strados Labs won a business competition this past spring and received an in-kind gift for that patent attorney which was provided pro bono to help them with the provisional patent. It was sponsored by Be Your Own Boss Bowl competition.
In additional to working with intellectual law firm Ceaser Rivise Temple University provides Strados Labs with working space. They college creatively packages these resources together in one bucket so that startup entrepreneurs can leverage all the resources. The competition provides three tracks: undergrad, grad, faculty, social tracks.
Strados came in second only for Nick to lose to his professor.
Ellen Weber is the Director of the Temple University Institute for Entrepreneurial Innovation who work with other venture capital firms like Benjamin Franklin Technology Partners , Robinhood, Mid-Atlantic Ventures who work with startups
We discussed the prototype and patent as well as how the company will get the technology to their end users, distributing and selling the technology. They anticipate having the provisional patent filed by the end of this year. Once the provisional patent has been filed with their end claims which give them first file rights if someone else comes up with the concept the first to file has a better claim to the idea. Strados Labs will have 12 months to spend finalizing the software and hardware algorithms –
When dealing with a patent it’s important to note what a company can say and what they keep secret
It comes down to what is proprietary or internal v what they can mention to the public. We know the company is developing a wearable device but they keep the sound capture feature private.
Their goal is to provide extra value in this narrow niche. Focus on those end users to help them manage their asthma, provide advice and feedback from the device,
survey done signs symptoms of an asthma attack of wheezing – sometimes wheezing starts slowly in lungs and you try through your own will to identify those signs and alerting them it’s not a diagnostic but alert something is happening to them alert to phone and message to parent or someone else take inhaler stop exercises breath deeply its an alert monitor track and monitor on back end but focus now is on front end – how they are bringing in people to do research – test it – market service – white papers how asthma needs to be better managed and that 2/3 can be prevented by not medicines but just managing it better – market research targeting asthmatics online forum Reddit American asthma foundation aaii – healthcare, MBA take quick survey for feedback to validate get qualitative information on people’s condition some type of technology to better manage people’s disease work with asthma research in NY how environment effects and how such technology would help doing focus groups up in Harlem pre-testing phase using this technology get feedback early then use it for testing.
We asked about some of the challenging moments the company has faced as a new startup and Nick being a business leader – they are entering a high regulatory, high barrier, high capital intensive business and also managing individuals. Nick working his day job and doing this at night and on weekends also while he was in California during the summer while the doctor neurologist was back in the Philadelphia area. Nick had to find the time and make sure he was communicating effective and quickly needed to find the right people and manage the work stream and also maintain his current job.
What wanted to know what contributes to his success – he said a relationship with his co-founders the neurologist and although Nick is the face of Strados Labs his co-founder makes things smooth when running ideas past him or acting as a sounding board for being a devil’s advocate which balances the good with the bad. Its good to be positive but things are not always rosy so his co-founder is a good balance keeping him well grounded.
Insurance reimbursement of the device for asthma management.
The problem is that once a year people with asthma can be admitted to the ER with cost of $2500 and where it costs $20,000 a device for their solution $150 bucks can reduce risk to go to hospital and reduce those high-risk individuals by 60% less reduce asthma and reduce potential death or going to ER. The plan on having the insurance company reimburse through ins company and promoted by doctor hard time managing we will provide you pluma ware system reimbursed end users, not the person using it but doctors new business development force
Build a relationship with insurance area health technology comp who work with Medicaid and chronic diseases – use reminders to become more engaged with asthma management to leverage their device to partner with health systems improve health understand educate them innovation partnership spoke at hackathon non-hackathon sponsored by BCBS.
Advice for others he gives – to startup overwhelming most common mistakes students or preventing them from starting – coming up with a rockstar idea best idea and they stop if they think it’s not the best – for him ideas change so much focus on problem and improvement upon those issues or problems – he started with wanting to solve the problem now is developing the solution focus on problems v ideas –
Recurring themes resources – help – people here to help – at top-ranked entrepreneurial program Philadelphia meet ups network events talk to them about ideas – Philly startup leaders – new in CC – new tech meetup Philly – leverage through temple Univer entrepreneur network summer studio incubator reach out to those you know in entrepreneurship – intellectual property hardship creating things v creating apps people want to invest in electrons v atoms –
Fully functional is challenge for things apps that is coding but here you have to build it and test it so more difficult to get funding federal grant challenging to get through Kickstarter IndieGoGo developing things medical devices – if he knew about these resources 6 months ago – doesn’t want to fail but will now know them federal funds natural science foundation SBIR funding process dept of engineer institute of health all have funds for small business who want to start businesses
who will help him write the grants trying to leverage innovation partnership through the small business association dev a tech national science foundation and they like your idea resources pre-proposal key components of stuff and how to develop commercialization of it
Voucher stipend to write grant, someone, to help SBIR agency to send to –
Lightning round sponsored by audible.
A book Nick recommends – The Alchemist, written by Paulo Coelho de Souza – It’s about an individual on his journey to find a treasure. His entire motivation as a shepherd is to be rich but he goes on journey not where you get but how you get there he ends up the same – for him, it’s about the journey what he has learned and get to place he wants to go and help asthma
Three take-aways from show:
Don’t be afraid to ask questions even as a new entrepreneur just talk to people about your idea to many people get caught up it being secreative or having to much concern about signing NDA, your idea will get stronger if you talk more about it; Focus on who you are working with, some people want to work with their friends but be careful who you work with and who you bring onto your team they might have a certain skill set but focus on the person beyond just their skill set and make sure it’s aligned with your vision; Have fun it’s an exciting journey, it’s risky but just be smart.
To listenup to our last show with Steve Bazemore and get all the show notes about career advice, personal development head on over to mitchellchadrow.com/show030
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Strados Labs is incorporate his business an LLC in DE but operates in PA in an incubator space at temple
How to stay in contact and connect
He enjoys talking about being an entrepreneur.
Product looks like team and blog topics on healthcare and asthma management.