In Dublin, Ireland, I worked in one of the best startup accelerators in Europe, NDRC, at a very interesting biotech startup called Think Biosolution. The founders have developed a product called PulseR that allows medical professionals to obtain patients’ vitals over video in the telemedicine industry. Along with a fellow U.S. student abroad, Max, who was working with me at Think Biosolution, we formed a sort of ‘CEO / CTO’ team to work on developing a new product to highlight the PulseR technology called NeutronstaR. NeutronstaR is unlike any other mindfulness or meditation app in that it allows users to not only track but actually visualize their heart rate with our newly-developed bio-smart facemasks (which are similar to Snapchat lenses). It works with the same software technology as the PulseR product by utilizing phone cameras to track heart rate, and it functions as users complete breathing exercises. The app tells users their measured beats per minute after completing their selected exercise, and the facemask syncs with their actual heart rate. We believe that this biosmart facemask feature, as well as our other planned developments for further expansion, will put a new and fun spin on the mindfulness / meditation app market.
This experience has been really important to me as being a biochemistry and molecular biology / entrepreneurship & innovation student with the goal to combine the science and business skills into a future career path, this was my first step into making that a reality. By gaining exposure to the startup world, at a biotech startup nonetheless, I was able to learn more first-hand about how the world of entrepreneurship functions and all the work that goes into having your own startup. This was also my opportunity to pursue time abroad as a student and to gain some insight into another culture by actually living in the place for a couple months rather than just visiting for a few days. Myself and my ‘CTO’ Max made a lot of headway into developing NeutronstaR for our host startup. I did all of the business development and most design work, while Max handled all of the technical aspects with app development, facial recognition, Bluetooth linking, etc.
Being a BMB student, I had taken a course in the spring on reading and comprehending peer-reviewed scientific journal articles. I was able to use this to my advantage as I sifted through countless journal articles during my internship and was able to scientifically back NeutronstaR with strong peer-reviewed research. And also as mentioned, I’m in the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program (more specifically in the Tech-based Entrepreneurship cluster), and I was able to utilize some of the skills that I had originally learned in these ENTI courses such as making a business model canvas, accomplishing validated learning, and doing competitor analyses.
I think I learned a couple really important things that will certainly affect my plans going forward. First, when doing a startup and raising funds, focus on one product first, make it really great, and once you are successful with it, you can start building another. Second, for me personally as a senior and too-soon-to-be graduate, I have wondered what the best option for future education is… grad school for biochemistry and molecular biology or business school? After having this experience and speaking with some wise Ph.D.’s, I have decided to pursue an MBA after working for a couple years post-graduation. I’d like to be on the business side of science, and my path forward seems more clear after having completed my wonderful internship abroad in Dublin. I really am grateful for my time abroad and for all of the intelligent, kind, fun, and fantastic people I met throughout this adventure.