Read the Transcript for Startup Lessons From the Edge: From Desperation to Success


Startup Lessons

[00:00:00] P&G venture studio and are working together this week to bring you an incredible outstanding group of speakers and content. Yes, we were supposed to be live from CES and we’re not live from CES. We’re actually live from clubhouse on start-up club. And so here we are today and we’re launching a nice ad that I used to see Edna.

Um, we’re launching today, um, a, a show that’s all about taking, you know, as an entrepreneur, going to the edge and coming back. And I can tell you this. I do not. My story does not complete. So the story that you’re going to hear today from the people on stage, um, this is probably it’s going to be really [00:01:00] a tough session to get through.

This is going to be something to think about because these entrepreneurs they’ve taken it. They’ve gone to the brink and they’ve come back. They have, they have achieved great success through extreme hardship. And I can, I can’t tell you how, how, um, thankful we are to have the, um, the, uh, cooperation with P and G ventures.

And Sarah, I see her on stage right now. And, uh, Michelle, if we, and Rachel, could we, uh, ping the, uh, ping them in as well to make certain that they, I know a lot of the people coming on now are pretty new. We, you know, CES trade show, moving to clubhouse. A lot of the, a lot of the individuals have not been on clubhouse, but, um, but we’re bringing them on now.

So it’s going to be a great show. Stick around. I’m going [00:02:00] to pass it to you, Michelle, to take it away

or not. Sarah you’re so Florida, right? Okay. Hey there everyone. Hey, how you doing? Good to see you. Great. Hello here from the trade show floor here at CES. Oh, you’re actually at the trade show floor. Wow. Yeah. Can you hear it in the background? I’m right in front of our booth. I can see you bucked the trend, but that’s the trend.

And, uh, we are here spreading virtual peace, mental fitness in the middle of this stress Olympics that we’re all facing Olympics. I love that. I think you are the queen of helping us. Try to manage that stress Olympics. Like, you know, we’ve read all about Sarah. Like it’s amazing your story and how you’re trying to help people via VR and [00:03:00] AR managed stress finance.

I can’t even say it and anxiety. I we’re just dying to hear more about that. Tell us a little bit about what you’re doing. Absolutely. So we are making stress management, engaging, um, and allowing you to control virtual and augmented reality environments with your brain patterns and heart rate. So you become more self-aware of your thoughts and emotions and, uh, we’re live streaming your bioinformatics here at CES.

We’re releasing your stress animal, which is a 3d Jaguar that you could actually change the colors of the. On the Jaguar’s coat and tamed its movement. So it reacts to your unique biometric data. If you reduce your stress or include, increase your flow state, that stress animal will lay down and start to lick its cough.

So again, giving the user a reminder that their thoughts do have [00:04:00] power to control things, not only in the virtual world, but the real world as well.

So we’re curious, like we really want to hear your story, right? We’re here unless it’s from the edge. So we really look in and help each other by telling, you know, like how hard it was or what our story was and how we came out on the other side of that. You know, a lot of folks don’t like to talk about, you know, the bad times or the hardships or the failures, but we here on this show, we believe that you can really learn.

By hearing how others were able to cope and get through those difficult times. So, Sarah, what is your story like? How did it feel? Like what did you go through to get where you are or what was your motivation or your inspiration? Yeah, so I was a television journalist for twenty-five years, covered a [00:05:00] lot of trauma, uh, rapes murders, homicides.

We went in with the trauma teams in the aftermath of the tsunami in Sri Lanka and Indonesia. And ultimately when you spend decades covering the world’s negativity, uh, it takes an impact on your own mental wellness. I developed an inability to sleep and that insomnia, uh, eventually led to panic attacks.

And so to make an incredibly long story short, uh, I turned to new neurofeedback and, uh, found the experience. At first kind of boring. You looked at these, uh, uh, little airplanes and try to move at higher and lower. I’m a storyteller. My background is in media. Uh, I wanted to make a more engaging, so I made them more engaging by adding story and, uh, media tech, which is augmented and virtual reality, uh, so that you can actually immerse the user [00:06:00] into a virtual world because the brain believes what it sees.

Uh, and the person who wrote that original neurofeedback prescription for me is now my co-founder. And he creates the brainwave algorithms combined with our immersive storytelling to, uh, develop a digital Seussical, which is just a digital drug, a drugless non-harmful coping mechanism, uh, to reduce, uh, Self manage anxiety.

And that’s what we’re trying to do to teach people, to learn to self-regulate their brain patterns and, and their heart rate, not a replacement for psychotropic medication or professional counseling, obviously, which was one of the best things that we can all do for ourselves, but a portable tool that we can use at home.

Uh, like a video game that you play with data from wearables that you would already have in your home, like an apple watch.[00:07:00] 

Well, it’s interesting that you took your past your experiences, your issues with anxiety, um, and then you turn that into an opportunity. Um, but at what point, like, was there a point in time when you said, oh, this is really bad and now I got to make money from this. Oh, I got, I don’t know if you caught me there.

I got a text, but was there a point in time when. This is really bad. And now I’ve got to make money from this, or was it, was it, was it more of a longer crawl out of this, the challenges that you had, and then you identified that in the past, it was certainly was not, um, overnight and there are many layers of it, uh, and in personal and self discovery that I had to unpeel.

Um, and you know, when you’re, when entrepreneurs are constantly there, their mental wellness is taxed. Uh, they get a lot of nos, um, and a lot of [00:08:00] rejection and you have to have a lot of resilience in order to move forward from that. And so, you know, what I did is used all those nos as fertilizer. Every time I’d get a no, I, I deal in, know his data and we’d also, uh, celebrate our nose here at our company.

We get up on the couch literally and stand, uh, and celebrate that, know that we got, because it gets us that much more closer to you. Um, and so, you know, that process doesn’t ha happen over the night. The first few punches to the gut are brutal, but ultimately when you get punched in the gut 300 times as an entrepreneur, which is probably how many times we heard the word, no, in the first year and a half of, of our company, you get pretty resilient almost to the fact where you welcome that know.

And because you know, that it’s, uh, something it’s data lead to make your product better.[00:09:00] 

Well, you’re a woman after my own heart, you know, I, I have to, I’ve done in my past, you know, in addition to starting companies, a big part of that is business development. I have a similar mantra to me. No means later, like, okay. I always say when somebody says, no, all right, we can talk about. Or don’t hesitate to contact me when you’re ready.

So, so I love that you’re saying that. And what I’m hearing from you, your whole vibe is you have a very positive way of getting through the diversity, getting through the nose, as you said. So I think that’s pretty amazing. Well, thank you. It’s fertilizer. It stinks, right? It’s kinda like manure sometimes, but you wipe it, you know, all on your arms.

And ultimately we know that all those nos will one day grow beautiful flowers [00:10:00] and we can step back and say, you know, reframe that situation, uh, that it ultimately got us to those yeses, including one with PNG, uh, you know, that allowed us the opportunity to compete in innovation challenge. No, I, I think that, you know, we, as entrepreneurs, as startup.

And by the way, this is where, the reason why I asked Michael and Edna to join us as well, is that we often don’t recognize the mental challenges that entrepreneurs have or startups have we think of startups. Like we’re all, they’re all like, um, iron man, you know, they’re, they, they, they’re all everything’s sorted out.

Everything’s perfect. But yet there, there are a lot of mental challenges. There are a lot of, lot of, um, issues there that an entrepreneur goes through a nice wide. I hope maybe you could share a little bit of your thoughts on that, Sarah, and how your app works or how, or how your technology works. [00:11:00] Yeah, absolutely.

So as an entrepreneur, one of the things that you struggle with, uh, is sleep, right. Um, they’re doing a, a variety of different, uh, jobs and roles. You’re the, not only the CEO, you’re the CTO, the CPO, the DPO. Um, et cetera, et cetera, the entire C-suite. So, uh, entrepreneurs, as well as anyone else in high-stress occupations, like nurses or physicians need to develop those drug lists.

Non-harmful coping mechanisms, uh, that allow you to learn to self-regulate. And just as you work out your body and, and entrepreneurship is a mental marathon, and if you know your body isn’t in shape, it’s, it’s the same thing with your mental wellness. And it can lead to things like lack of sleep as it did for me in my journalism career.

Um, uh, and you know, you have to have those tools. So I use my own product, [00:12:00] uh, before I go to bed at night, you can lay down and be in a beautiful, magical kingdom. And again, the brain believes what it sees. If it’s seeing that it’s inside a beautiful water. Your body responds as it, if it’s inside the, the beautiful waterfall and that product that, you know, I selfishly built for myself is now used around the world with the air force, major league baseball teams, NFL teams, um, uh, elite athletes, as well as frontline healthcare workers and mental wellness counselors that are just wanting to provide some portable tools for again, people to navigate the stress Olympics.

That’s amazing. I want to try it certainly. Yeah, absolutely. It’s we have a free app. Um, right now you can download it on, on iOS and Android. Um, and then you can unlock a pro version if you want to use it with an apple watch or something like that. Uh, but [00:13:00] that’s our R and R the simplest form. It’s a free app on your iPhone and Android, uh, inside the goggles, uh, their, their upgrades.

That’s fantastic. So also on the stage we have Richard hamper, Larry Richard went through incredible personal tribulations, near death experience. If I understand it right, and as really revolutionary revolutionizing, excuse me, pain management, as I understand, but Richard, you, you suffered this firsthand.

We really want to understand the, you know, the pain you went through and what it took to get to where you are now, personally, as well as with your product. Well, thank you. Um, really appreciate the opportunity to be here and share my story. Um, yeah, [00:14:00] so for me it started age 19. I was driving down a route in the Yemen.

Um, Arabic was my undergraduate degree. So, uh, we were in the Yemen for that, and I was given a split second choice of a head on collision next to a petrol truck, or go off a bridge. Um, went off a bridge, 60 foot dine into a dry river bed. So sayings spinal, uh, spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injury and a rip to your water and a bunch of other things.

Um, but did luckily survival of that, um, was medivaced back to the UK, uh, then was dead for eight minutes, came back from that. Then I came and came back from that. And then all of that resulted in a nerve damage pain problem. That was so severe. I was given a five-year life. Um, essentially once you’re over a certain level of chronic pain, you’re in fight flight the whole time.

Um, and you know, realistically I wouldn’t have waited [00:15:00] five years to my body’s full apart because I had no quality of life whatsoever. Um, but I did, I got my lucky break in hospitals, so they did try and teach us some meditation in hospital and the problem with meditation when you’re already in very severe pain and very all, very sparing.

So it is that it makes you just simply more present moment aware of the state you’re in. And so that didn’t work for me. I tried that quite a few times before I gave in. Um, but then I watched a movie, um, and it was a very, not a very well though Bruce Willis movie that flipped me in and out of what we would now call the flu state and.

At the end of the movie, I thought, holy crap, I changed my pain levels more than morphine. And then the, then the thoughts after that work, Hey, well, interesting because the states that made me feel less pain made me feel [00:16:00] like I used to when I was skiing. So that was making me, um, look towards flu states.

And then the next thought was well, okay, well, if I had medicines, there’s all my life. That’d be kind of useful right now because I’d be able to go in and actually state so well. And that got me to looking at all of the EEG research into, um, how meditation changes the brain. And essentially meditation gives two very different classes of benefit.

One is the wisdom. Um, of sitting in your own psychological crap and figuring things out over time. And the other is how it changes the electrical patterns in the brain and the dominant electrical patterns and the, the work that had been done by many, many brilliant people, uh, basically gave me a roadmap to then work out how to use audio visual neuromodulations pulses of light and sound to change the patterns in my brain.[00:17:00] 

Uh, long story short that then fixed all of my nerve damage pain and about three months. And it’s been a 28 year journey since then to figure out how to get it to other people. And, uh, yeah, that, that, that w what, what’s a waste locally from now, what would it be? What, what would be interesting for me to talk about?

Well, I mean, I can’t imagine what you went through. I, when I was 23 years old, I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis. It was debilitating, but what you’ve gone through is a hundred times greater than what I went through. I was very lucky. Um, and you took, I mean, you took was so like a lot of people in this life would look back at that and say, you know what?

Life sucks. It’s [00:18:00] horrible. This is, you know, and, and, and, but you turn, you said you did the opposite. You said, okay, I’ve gone through this and now I’m going to try to help others. And just, I dunno how you make that connection. I don’t think I could do that. That’s well, that’s, that’s very kind of, I mean, really it’s, um, basically from, from the day that I first had first had my first day of being.

Um, which was October 30th, 93, I was afraid of the pain coming back. Um, and I’ve spoken to cancer survivors since, and, and a similar sort of thing of you. You’re just too afraid to admit that you could be okay. So I figured, Hey, I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna live in this kind of favor. And I’m just going to write a note in my diary for six months time.

And if I hit that mark, I’m going to acknowledge that I fixed it and, um, go to six months, hit that mark. And the very next thought was, [00:19:00] what’s going to help with this then. Um, and yeah, I just, it, it th that those first days I was asked, someone, asked me to help them, um, was the first person that was a guy with panic attacks.

And I said, look, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve literally made this stuff up. So, you know, I will only help you if you promise not to tell anybody, um, he broke that promise until three, um, Three women who had PTSD from, from rape and sexual assault. And the first person who came into my room and this was in my university dorm room, said to me, I said, look, I can’t, I can’t help you.

I don’t know what I’m doing. This is you need medical help. And she said to me, she said to me, my priest has made me feel guilty about what happened to me. And that makes me want to kill myself. Um, the drugs that I was given, um, which was Prozac amongst others, um, made her more [00:20:00] suicidal. And her therapist, every time he tried to help her talk through the problems was giving her increased flashbacks.

So she said to me, your worst case scenario is that I commit suicide slightly faster than I would do if you didn’t help me. And your best case scenario is. You helped me fix my problem, but you really going to tell me away and that, and it was that, that was, that was the point where I was like, okay, uh, yeah.

Um, good point. I’ll try and help you. Um, and, and that was the start of it. And then after that, it became, well, there are all these people, who’ve got all these problems. Um, I, I used to feel because all of that was one-on-one. I had to help individuals with my laptops, wires, and boxes, and, you know, wearable tech didn’t exist as a thing that I could then go help people with.[00:21:00] 

So I used to really have helping each individual person and an officer was, have this horrible feeling of like, oh, well, you know, it just helped with the person with PTSD or, you know, stroke balance or whatever, and then go, yeah. And there were another million people in this country that I haven’t helped.

Cause I haven’t figured out how to make this into something. The anybody can use on their own. And that was a long, long struggle because the technology just didn’t exist. Um, so I did six months of that. So six years of that one-on-one stuff, um, then quit to go to business school. And, uh, and then McKinsey, because I was trying to figure out well, is there a business model that I can make scale around the technology as it is, came to the end of that was like Nat and there really isn’t.

Um, and I fast forward to 2015 and one of the air force, uh, USF fools, medics that I’d worked with sent me a [00:22:00] prototype HIV sensor, but it was designed to go in the, um, a pilot’s helmet and it was not good enough. It was too big. It was too expensive, but he sent it to me and I thought, Ooh, this is a bunch of chips on.

Yeah, most is going to take care of the size, caught some complexity of this, and then maybe I can, you know, be able to build a standalone wearable within a year or two. And that’s, that’s what restarted the company. Um, so now with devices and standalone wearable that, um, anybody can post on, um, turn it on getting pulses of light and science and, uh, the generating of relaxation effect.

So very long winded answer to your question, but yeah, essentially it was stubbornness. It was like really, really pissed me off. Every time I met someone who was struggling, but I knew if I could figure out how to make a solution more scalable, but I can help. Um, and seeing the, [00:23:00] the really limited options that were available with, with the drug options.

Um, all of those things, every time seeing suffering once you know, how you can fix someone’s suffering and use. I challenge anybody not to be able to go, you know, I’m gonna, I’m going to, I’m going to carry on doing this until I figure it out because it just sucks seeing someone they’re like, no, I should be able to help you still felt a bit of that, but we’re very close now because we’ve got two pivotal trials, um, on the way in fibromyalgia and neuropathic pain.

Um, so hopefully we’ll have those two years FDA indications by the end of this year. Um, we’ve just got a DOD grant for PTSD, um, to help us do clinical trials on that. So, yeah. So, so now it’s, it’s still frustrating. Every time I meet someone that I should be able to help, but we’re getting really close.

We’re getting really close. We were running a thousand person fibromyalgia study now, [00:24:00] um, with a group called the mighty. Um, so yeah, by March eight, Uh, we should have a thousand people within fibromyalgia. We’re helping in one single clinical trials. So yeah, it’s been a, it’s been a long journey, but, um, I couldn’t have done it any other way.

Stubborn. This wouldn’t let me, if that makes sense. It does. And, and I, I will say that, you know, a theme today that through a lot of the sessions, especially the P and G venture sessions, you know, people, um, experienced a situation and then they develop a business around that. Um, I mean, but we’re not talking here about a better frying pan.

We’re talking about life-changing stuff that you’re working on and, you know, I really applaud you for that. And, uh, I think it’s incredible what you’re doing. I also brought Michael and Edna on stage too. If you guys want to ask a question, you know, feel free to feel free to flash your mic as well. Um, and, uh, you know, we’re, we’re, we [00:25:00] want to make this a conversation.

Um, let me ask, uh, both Sarah and Richard, we’ll go back to you, Sarah. Um, you’ve got your business concepts, um, funding, like, can we talk a little bit, this is obviously the topic of the day funding and, and Richard, how have you funded the company so far and what’s your intention going forward? It’s a great, great question.

Uh, we funded our company with revenue. Our revenue is one of the best, uh, validators and best ways to fund a company it’s non diluted, and it also allows people to vote with their dollars. So for the first, you know, two years of our current. Uh, we did a service. We had service, uh, we created VR and AR content for people around the world until we had our product built.

And, um, you know, while that sometimes is a difficult [00:26:00] business model for some people, because they say, well, you, you know, the company can’t run a service based business and a product at the same time. Uh we’re from the Silicon Prairie where we don’t have access to traditional venture capital. So we had to develop a revenue stream in a way to make money in order to fund our product development.

And so that’s what we. Uh, through, you know, a half a million dollars in, uh, revenue, uh, not just from a services, but also from selling our product. That game. Ben gave us the clinical validation. Uh, we now have, have, have five peer review journal articles, uh, that allowed us to get additional enterprises who, who were customers, um, and ultimately, uh, raise our first institutional and.

And we are in the process of closing a $2 million seed round, uh, that we are [00:27:00] using to scale our sales and marketing efforts, uh, add additional wearables to our platform that unlocks, um, more user base for us, but in the early days, not having access to venture capital at the time, you know, we saw that as a strategic disadvantage, but as an early stage company, it was actually fortunate because it allowed us to, you know, build the company on, on revenue.

And there are a lot of, you know, things as, as young companies in our area, uh, um, that you can do with developing a service-based revenue stream with you don’t have access access to traditional venture capital.

Yeah, it’s interesting. We’ve done a couple of sessions on serial entrepreneur, um, our, um, which is every Friday at two o’clock Eastern, where we’ve done customer funded startups. And what you’re [00:28:00] talking about here is really about, you know, getting your customers to fund it. And, you know, I know we always talk about VCs and angel investors, and we’re always looking for raising money as startup, but sometimes it’s you hit it right there.

I think you can, you’ve funded it with revenue.

Absolutely. And, um, that’ll also allows, you know, your leadership team to, uh, retain a larger control of the company and also to, to bring on employees and have them have a, you know, a valuable stake in an, any kind of equity incentive plan. So, and not that that’s, you know, right or wrong for any industry.

Um, you know, now that we have investment, we got in strategic partners who, with sales channel partners, um, uh, whether it relates to our IP, something that can bring us value beyond just dollars, um, that they can use their influence to help us [00:29:00] move the needle. That’s awesome, Richard, uh, you’re up next? Uh, let’s hear the CRA you’re funding this cause it’s, it’s phenomenal what you’re doing.

Well, thank you. I’m I am the opposite end of that spectrum. Um, the first million or so, um, Was basically funded by the London housing market and having a home that I continuously mortgaged and remortgaged to carry on paying for the research. Um, I did have some early customers, um, that paid me, uh, Richard Brown, someone who was flying around the world was an, a balloon was using one of the very early versions of laptops was in boxes.

Um, did get some military funding, um, and McLaren formula one, but because it was all laptops, wires, and boxes, it required people who had a very large amount of money to pay me to do something that was immediately valuable to them. [00:30:00] So I couldn’t, there wasn’t a business model that was going to work around laptops was in boxes and people in pain or, or sleep, except for that very, very rich, um, you know, category of sports and, and a high-performance stuff.

So yes, it was, it was. Remortgaged my house and again, and again and again. Um, and then eventually when it came time for a great, okay, wearable technology is becoming a thing I’m going to be able to build an actual device. Uh, it was some friends and family borrowings, um, moved from the UK to California, to Silicon valley because there wasn’t enough, um, investment in the UK.

Uh, and my company, my, my country went mad and did, uh, did a thing called Brexit, um, which meant there’s a medical device startup. It wasn’t viable to be in a, in a place where, um, we didn’t know what I made, what regulation was going to look like for the next five years or, I mean, markets. So moved to California, [00:31:00] um, venture capital.

And we were very lucky with, uh, getting some really good support from SOSV, um, which is a, um, hacks. Um, they weren’t very fast institutional investors, um, find fund dream it, um, NCL, uh, we, we, we got very, very lucky. Um, we’ve raised 18 million to date, um, which sounds like a lot, but for a medical device, getting through Denovo is actually the average amount of money that someone has to raise, um, for a successful device is 35 million.

So we’re about half of what it normally costs for a medical device so far. Um, We’re currently raising another bridge round. Um, so if anybody wants to talk about, please let me know. Um, but yeah, we, we, uh, we are raising, we do have some revenue coming in now. Um, but we have to be, we have to get on a very, um, strict clinical pathway, uh, [00:32:00] because as soon as you’re dealing with people who have pain, anxiety, depression, uh, with a device like, oh, as you become a class two device, um, which means you can’t market for anything other than the wellness.

Um, without an FDA approval, um, and hence the clinical data route. So yeah, I, I, I wish I kind of stumbled across the technology, um, that they will meet to have, uh, done the recent of revenue first. That would be lovely. Um, but you know, you’re stuck with the technology that you, that you stumble across. Um, and we’ve been incredibly lucky with the support that we’ve had and, um, yeah, that’s, that’s where we kind of the other end of the spectrum, but it’s been an interesting journey because, well, look, I mean, you had a horrific accident, you mortgage your house multiple times.

Your country decides to [00:33:00] leave as if you need that. Right. As if you need Brexit. Okay. And then you move all the way to Silicon valley and you raise $18 million. They’re going to make a movie at a view. My friends, they really will. You need to now just start the book, like talk about a mission. Both of you, like that’s a calling my friend, like you have serious staying power, like unbelievable.

And you know, admittedly you’re in pain the whole time. So I I’m just floored by the dedication. Like we all should be thanking you. And I’m so excited to actually learn about both of your products and, you know, hopefully try them both. Absolutely. And you need not just, yeah, you need not just one. You need both of them.

I, you know, that’s [00:34:00] something that’s so great. You know, just like you have a variety of real medicines and your medicine cabinet, you also need a variety of digital ceuticals from Sana health, whether it be helium, whether it be any other intervention that you need, uh, it’s a spectrum and, uh, you need everything, not just one.

Um, I dunno, like my mind is going wild right now, thinking of all the applications for these, you know, we talked about anxiety and stress and pain management, I’m thinking addictions and even positive reinforcement. It just sounds like the world is, you know, needs these products. So, you know, I didn’t know these existed, you know, I thought it was all in the matrix.

So, uh, yeah, I, I really appreciate it. What I reiterate what Sarah said, because there’s so much, um, you know, one of the interesting things is when you go in front of a VC and the guy, well, you know, here’s your company. [00:35:00] And the, the reality is that so many of the technologies don’t actually compete. We are your tools and a toolkit that needs to be put together.

And the idea of a silver bullet of one thing, solving a problem is a hangover of, of, of the pharmaceutical influence. Um, you know, in fibromyalgia, the average person is on eight different drugs and they interact and they have side effects and they have compounding problems. And, you know, it’s called polypharmacy.

It’s a, it’s a problem. Um, on the device side, it’s the opposite, all of these different approaches, um, you know, they are synergistic, they build on each other. Um, we typically speaking on the right side, we don’t have side effects. Um, so yeah, I very much like, you know, when people do have really serious problems, um, can’t say.

You’re going to, you’re going to assemble the toolkit of the bits and pieces that work for you from, from all different approaches. So,[00:36:00] 

yeah, it’s been a real privilege to hear from both Sarah and Richard, like your journeys have been phenomenal and, uh, the stain power was great. And the thing, a couple of things that I think you said Sarah really stuck at for me was you wouldn’t have built a business versus raising the capital. And I remember when one of my, my businesses, I had another business partner involved and he said, all, we need to raise all this capital.

And I said, you can go do that. I’m going to build the business. And the thing that in the end allows you to raise the capital. The fact you’ve actually built something. And, uh, I just want to commend you for that. Like, well, that was what it guts me. Cause I met behind that one statement. There would have been a world of pain.

I would have thought of building a business, but [00:37:00] probably not enough capital to be able to do it. So, so Sarah, like my, I tip my hat to you, lights. It’s fantastic. And the other thing you said was getting nos all the time. And I think a lot of entrepreneurs out there don’t understand, well, they may understand mentally, but to understand it emotionally, the number of times they’ll receive a note, it will be quite phenomenal.

And to still keep on going. I remember one time when I was ready to the capital back in the nineties and, uh, the, the, the, the potential investor said, well, what happens if Microsoft gets into this market? And I said, Know, if we worried about what Microsoft is going to do. Cause they were the big boys in the block.

That time, that time they still are worried about what they’re going to do all the time. None of us would do anything is what support investing in any new technology. And it like turned around and looked. Yeah, good answer. And [00:38:00] sometimes that’s the thing we need to think about is that yeah. We’re going to get a, no, we’re going to get a note.

We’re going to get a no, but how do we handle that emotionally as well as just that the mechanics of, okay, so another, now I need to go along, do the pitch to someone else or something like that. If you’re in rows and capital and to hear you say, talk about that, Sarah was amazing. Like obviously a lot of people in the audience who may not have raised Catherine before.

Happened actually ha D maybe having that to deal with the, the numbers of nos and that, and that, um, internal fallout on the entrepreneur that occurs in that process, it can be quite, quite challenging. So, well then Sarah, like seriously and Richard, your stories is like phenomenal. So, uh, so I go from Sarah, [00:39:00] just thank you for that.

And, um, you know, before we, uh, our, our very first investment in order to get that we had 157 nos, and I know exactly how many, because I saved them. Um, uh, we S I, I saved them all on a desktop. And someday I have a joke with some fellow entrepreneurs that, you know, once we have our. Successful exits and, uh, we’re on a beach somewhere or have sold the company.

Uh, we are going to go back and read those nos and either burn them or something. And, uh, because those are the exact knows that, you know, eventually built our company and got us to, yes, because each know had product feedback. And within that first, you know, some of the 157 no’s were young lady, you don’t have a product yet build a product, show me what the heck you’re talking about.

And then come back to me and ask that. And [00:40:00] they also said, you know, you never get that patented. Um, well we did patent it. We got two patents and we built the product. And, um, in the early stages, if you don’t have access to revenue, like Richard said, um, non-dilutive capital is funny. Uh, we got a couple SBR phase one and twos with the air force, which is not in diluted and also pitch competitions as a former broadcast journalism student and, and professional, uh, over a couple of decades, that was something that I knew how to do, I could pitch.

And so I went on the pitching circuit and, you know, raised about $110,000 in, in pitch competitions, uh, which, Hey, that was, you know, that’s $110,000 is great. Non-dilutive capital to an early startup. Um, I reached out to free entrepreneurship, legal clinics, um, in order to, uh, get our IP, uh, secured, uh, and filed.[00:41:00] 

And in every university out there, chances are, if you’re an entrepreneur and you don’t have funds to, uh, file or even explore, uh, you know, does my product have some kind of intellectual property opportunities, uh, go to that free entrepreneurship legal. I did that. Uh, they took pity on me and said, you know what, uh, we’ll do this, uh, patent pending paperwork that we need to do to file and on your, all your trademarks for free.

And that was a great news to us because the original attorneys that we had talked with, they had said, well, that’s content, you can’t patent content. And they weren’t understanding that it’s not content it’s, you know, what connects sensor data to the metaverse that manipulates that content and it modifies it.

And so, uh, you know, again, an example, you get a know, you find somebody who will say yes, that free entrepreneurship legal [00:42:00] clinic, uh, did get, uh, not one. Uh, but eventually, you know, we were able to pay for additional IP, uh, attorneys, and, and now we have to, but it all started from asking, Hey, can you, can you help us out?

Yeah. Just, if I can ask the question, they’ll share it. Like you’re getting one now after another nurse and I’m hearing a journey you went on, which is basically, it’s very tactical. You said, where can I get money from? Which is not going to dilute me and all that sort of stuff from pitch competitions to whatever it was.

Yeah. To be able to get things to work. But how did you handle all those nos just in yourself? Like, like to be able to have someone to say no, no, no, no, no different groups of people. Did you at any stage, did you doubt that what you’re building was sensible? Like you think, well, maybe they seem something that I don’t.

[00:43:00] Is there anything that went through your mind? You’re saying, yeah. Well maybe I’m backing up the wrong tree. Yes. In the early stages, before we had actually used the product, uh, with. Customers and before he had gotten any feedback, but all of that self doubt dissipated, when you put a headset or you connect someone’s mind to an augmented reality experience on their mobile device and they take off and they say, I loved how I felt.

Can I watch that again? And you know, the, the, the feedback that we get from soldiers and airmen who are deployed out on the USS Nimitz in the middle of the Pacific ocean, they can’t see nature for months and, you know, share about how that brings nature to them. Uh, we had, uh, a soldier in the army deployed in the middle east and he’s using helium in order to learn to self-regulate.

So, um, uh, if you have that self doubt, get that product [00:44:00] out there, uh, and you’ll know very quickly if you have a home run, um, or if you need to go back to the drawing. And that, that, uh, product feedback and using my own product was wind in my sails that got us through those times when lean times. And not just lean times when I say in monetary compensation, but lean times, uh, when you had an idea in your head and people didn’t necessarily understand what you were talking about, and there’s probably other entrepreneurs in the room, know what I’m saying?

When I talk about you have a twinkle in your eye, that product isn’t fully formed, but you need additional feedback. And in order to know, you know, how it can blossom into, into a fully formed, uh, flower. So, you know, certainly sometimes you have to give yourself your own attagirls and attaboys, and that’s [00:45:00] something that I.

Uh, you know, there’s days when you don’t have a boss or a supervisor anymore, you know, working in newsrooms, uh, for, for decades, uh, you know, you always had someone who would give you a formal evaluation or give you some positive feedback. You don’t have that as an entrepreneur. So you have to be your own boss or your own supervisor, and look at yourself in the mirror each day.

And even if it’s something small, like, you know, uh, um, uh, I went through all my emails today. You got to give yourself an attagirl or an attaboy, uh, to get you through those experiences, to help you become more resilient. Because if you don’t develop that very important skill early on, when you get punched in the gut, you’re gonna lay on the floor, um, and you might not be able to get up.

And we all know those, those companies that have had people. Not [00:46:00] either understand their product or, um, you know, they just weren’t able to go forward with all of those nos. So, you know, again, you gotta make yourself mentally resilient in order to be able to deal with all those blows that you’re going to get financially, emotionally, um, uh, competitively as it comes to that, that entrepreneur journey.

So, so you’re here now, right? And still there’s, you know, a big field in front of you. So we might say because clearly these are ground breaking technologies. Like, what is your plan? How do you move to the next level to get that mass adoption and, you know, iterate your product? You know, I, I w I’m sure you probably would say, there’s always room for improvement.

Like, how are you [00:47:00] getting from where you are now to that point where we’re like, oh my gosh, Richard, you know, your, your products easily accessible, but more importantly, you know, we all know about it, hospitals, emergency rooms, physical therapists, et cetera, are using it. How do you get there? What, what’s the next step, Richard?

Um, well, thanks. Yeah. So just to, just to go back to one thing that Sarah said, I think it is, um, the, the, I think all the answers to all these things is kind of, um, uh, minimum viable data. But at any stage you are, what is the minimum amount of data you’re going to get? That’s going to de-risk the next day.

Um, and there were times when I tried to bite off more than I could chew. I could try to get a 200 pounds of the study when we didn’t have pilot data. And then I then went to the local meetup group and said, Hey, can you give me 20 people with [00:48:00] chronic pain who can come and try and come and try the device for, um, an hour.

Um, and I ended up with 75 people, um, and say, and that question of minimum viable data applies all the way through. So the next scale question for us is, is really around paying for it because the, the list someone’s chronic disease, um, the worst that finances are likely to be. Um, so, and, and we, uh, we were, we were a business that, you know, we’ve got end users.

The worst problems they have, the more we want to help them. And the more financial issues they have. So for us, um, the reimbursement, uh, question is absolutely the key. Um, we did a survey of 142 doctors, um, at a pain pain week conference and find that for the pain market, 5% of it is paid out of pocket.

50% of it is Medi-Cal. Um, and the rest is divided between private payers [00:49:00] and, um, Tri-Care and the VA. So for us to focus now is getting the data that is going to allow us to get reimbursed by Medicare. And we’ve got breakthrough device status from the FDA, um, which gives us a, a fast track. Uh, but for us now, the, the 1000 person study we’re doing, uh, on fibromyalgia with mighty, uh, is going to be the next, really big step in us getting the data that allows us to get reimbursement.

Um, so that’s. Yeah, that’s the, that’s the rate for us. It’s FDA approvals and then, um, reimbursement so that people can get access to, to the help they need. Does that make sense? Yeah, absolutely. I am not in the medical field, but it’s all making perfect sense to me when I hear you explain it, like, you know, that’s just a Testament to really understanding the market that you’re in and, you know, you’ve found the [00:50:00] problem there in you’re trying to address it and get the product accessible to people.

So kudos for you for trying to break through you’re you’re speaking specifically, you know, about us medical repayments. That’s amazing. And I, you know, I just think both of you are, you know, you’re pioneers in a way, because it’s not typical that insurance companies in the U S at least reimburse for these types of products.

That’s just the honest truth. So, you know, we have to thank you. So, Sarah, how about you? Yeah, couldn’t agree more as far as, um, you know, uh, uh, digital therapeutics out there, uh, like what’s Richards developed and others, they are the canaries in the mine, so to speak. And so they are paving a path forward that, you know, the rest of us can walk on.

We are not in the V therapeutic space. We are in the wellness and fitness space, even though we [00:51:00] have a clinically validated product. Um, we are, you know, uh, it is for the self management of anxiety and stress. It’s a self-awareness tool, uh, that helps you. Self-regulate your brain patterns, uh, sleep better and, and feeling.

And so your question was about scale and ours relates to wearables. So right now we have two compatible wearables with our product and EEG headband, as well as an apple watch. Uh, and we, one of the reasons why we’re raising to add additional compatible wearables to our platform, helium is the world’s first media channel.

That’s powered by your body’s electricity. So anything that captures data, we’re hardware, agnostic, um, uh, uh, you know, we, we can use as an. Uh, in order to create content for that wearable device, uh, in order to demonstrate its value, instead of a 2d, a number on your wrist, we [00:52:00] can personify that data into something spatial that you can see and interact with.

So we scale by adding those additional wearables, there are a hundred million apple watches. There are more than 800 million wearable devices in the market. That again are currently capturing 2d data. So a lot of, uh, blue sky, uh, as it relates to our product, uh, in developing immersive media content, augmented virtual reality content, and then secondarily, uh, we own the IP that connects wearable data to the metaverse.

And so that’s a piece of real estate that we are developing an SDK for, uh, to enable other individuals who have. Wearable devices. Ultimately, they’re probably going to want to connect them to AR VR or Mr. And certainly modify the assets, um, on the basis of biometric data. So our, our company, isn’t just [00:53:00] a product, but it’s also that valuable IP.

Uh, and that, that future goes through helium. That’s great. I love that. You’re trying to open up your development community, EG your distribution so that that’s, that’s great. Fantastic. Um, both of you, you know, we’re so excited for both of you, but you know, selfishly excited for us like these products. I, I, you know, now I’m wondering like how we are living without them quite honestly.

So super exciting calling, ask Edna Edna. I asked her on, you know, I. You know, onstage here, she’s a, an entrepreneur, a very successful entrepreneur. Who’s done a lot of, um, work in the, with the solar panels and, and, uh, just want to see if she had any thoughts or questions that, you know, around this topic. [00:54:00] Hi, Colin.

Thanks for bringing me up. Um, if I voice sounds a little funny it’s I, I’m getting over a little bit of a cold here. Um, you know, it it’s just what both Sarah and Richard were speaking about in terms of like the mental toughness and the mental resilience. I mean, that’s really the key to staying the course when you’re building a business, um, you know, it’s tough.

It’s not easy. Being an entrepreneur is not easy. And the challenges that you face on a daily basis, um, you can have the systems, the processes and everything in place, you can be highly motivated. You could be somebody that’s a go getter and you’re constantly out there doing stuff. But when you get hit, you have to learn how to take a hit.

And when you get hit and you get hard, you get hit hard, knocks the wind out of you. And oftentimes people, you know, they make the mistake of saying, well, hurry up and get back up. No, [00:55:00] sometimes you need to stay down. Sometimes you need to take that punch and go, okay, how did this happen? And how did I get here?

And as you’re getting back up on your feet, right? And you’re getting your breath about you again, you’re coming back with a plan with an agenda with how your. Overcome some of these things and it’s, you cannot overestimate the, or underestimate the power of the mind and just having a resilient mindset that doesn’t allow you to quit.

Right? Because you’re saying failure’s not an option. And even if I fail, I’m failing forward and I’m doing it fast. And so I just love the comments and the resiliency and everything that these two, um, exemplary individuals have overcome. I mean, and they’re still thriving and you’re still, they’re probably still going to see more setbacks in the future, but it’s that resilient mindset that they’ve got that, you know, that’s gonna take them.

[00:56:00] And, and, and that’s what really makes a difference between those companies that thrive and succeed and scale. And so I just, as always, thanks for having me here and, um, great conversation, happy to be part of it. They love the power of the mindset. Let me kick it off. And then Sarah, like the power, the mental, the mental strength.

Talk to us about that. Oh, it’s very kind of, I, I don’t know. I I’m, I feel very privileged, um, because of my background. Um, I think there is, you know, there is a reason why most entrepreneurs, um, in America, by the members, um, uh, white middle class, um, and the really rare people are those that don’t come from such a privileged background, um, that take these risks anyway.

Um, so I kind of feel like a bit of a fraud sometimes when I talk [00:57:00] about, you know, how resilient I am, because I, I, I came from a background where it was. You just got and do stuff on top of that. It’s a real sort of bunch of stubbornness. And I think you’ve really got to know your why. It’s like, if you, if you, if you’re doing something that, I mean, the people who say, oh, I want to start a business.

I want to start a business. I don’t know what I want to start at about they’re mad. They just, they have no idea what they’re letting themselves in for. I mean, it is, it is hell at times. Um, so I mean, if anything, I think the real key is just being really crystal clear on the entrepreneurship road is it sucks in many, many ways.

And it’s only worth it if you really, really care about what you’re doing, or I think you’re like, I don’t know if I speak for Sarah. Maybe if I’m wrong, Sarah had something, but you kind of have a feeling of, I don’t have enough. Yeah, we’ve got to do this because otherwise it can feel guilty and pissed off every time we come across [00:58:00] someone, we could have helped, but we didn’t.

Um, so yeah, I wanna, I want to say, you know, if you want to really look at, um, resilience, it’s look at the people who’ve come from backgrounds where, you know, they could have, they could literally end up on the street if they fail. Um, I think there is a degree to which, um, all of us, um, who, who do come from backgrounds that are, you know, middle-class, um, you know, I think we have an easier and I got, um, and I do think is important to acknowledge that.

And I also think, um, men entrepreneurs clearly have a lot easier time when it comes to funding than, than female entrepreneurs. I think that’s another sort of thing that’s worth pointing out. Um, But yeah. If whatever position you start from, and I started, you know, with a lot of advantages, um, the wheelchair stuff, um, hasn’t been too much of a disadvantage really when it comes to VCs.

Um, [00:59:00] but yeah, I think the real thing is know exactly why you want to do it. What, why do you care enough about what you’re doing to get out of bed in the morning? Do you care enough to, to take the knocks, um, to do it anyway. Um, and then another, the really, really important thing about the resiliency piece is assemble a team around you that you, that, that, that care about what you want to do as much as you do.

Um, you know, the whole African saying, if, if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Um, that, that, that is a hundred percent true. I mean, I’ve got a team of 24 people now who are extraordinary and we’ve been helped by thousands of people. Um, you know, I just, I can’t say enough about how much support we’ve had from so many different people.

Um, and that’s why, you know, if, if I’m asked to help out, um, with someone in a different field, you know, if I’ll find the time to do that help cause so many people have helped me. [01:00:00] Um, but that helping community is really part of the resilience piece too. And likewise, you know, thank you for all the help you’re giving us by allowing us to talk about all this stuff.

And I love that Richard, I, you know, talk about the, the support and couldn’t agree more and something that helped me as an early entrepreneur. Was surrounding myself, um, with our first year first founders, which are your family. Um, and you know, before you make that decision to, uh, you know, create a company, you absolutely have to tap your family as your first co-founders because they’re going to be those supports on the different legs of the table, uh, that are, are going to ground you, um, and support the other things, whether it be, you know, uh, with, uh, if you have children, uh, or, or anything else, and not only your family, but the ability on those table [01:01:00] legs to have people point out to you when one of your table legs is off.

So whatever you value on your table, uh, that keeps you balanced, whether it be your family, your faith, your exercise, your, your mental fitness, your pets, uh, someone who will, you know, uh, call you out and say, you know, That table leg is a little short and you’re kind of wobbly. I think you need to shore that up.

Um, that will also provide a great stability to you even before you have to have a team, uh, because your families are really your, your first founders. Co-founders, you know what, I, I don’t think you could have ended it better because that is our show today, Richard, by the way, I just tweeted out your last, uh, 32nd quote on Twitter.

Hopefully you’re okay with that. But, uh, they liked that on the app. Um, the, this is [01:02:00] just you two have given, given, given your entrepreneurs that are out there, sticking their necks out there and doing whatever it takes to succeed, and then you give them. It’s just incredible. They thank you very much from like, from the bottom of my heart.

I know Michelle is really appreciative, Rachel. We don’t often hear from, but she’s our technical person who does a lot of their recordings and stuff, but we all appreciate Sarah Richard. Um, just thank you very much. Thank you for hosting us

the opportunity to share and the platform that you share about other entrepreneurs. So keep going and things. Thank you for that. On that note, we have two more sessions and our Procter and gamble [01:03:00] CES challenge series. So tomorrow please join us at 2:00 PM Eastern time where top inventors will share what it takes to succeed.

That’s during the serial entrepreneur. At 2:00 PM Eastern, it should be an amazing show. We’ll we’re here all kinds of tips and hacks on how to move your inventions forward. And then at 6:00 PM tomorrow, we’ll talk about getting funding for personal or taboo product. That should also be an amazing show.

You know, not everything is sexy. Dare I say, but you know, often times things are taboo. They’re just things people don’t want to talk about, but they’re, you know, definitely needed category killers that, you know, greatly improve people’s lives. So please stay tuned and follow us. Go to WW to join our email [01:04:00] list and join the club.

Thanks so much everyone. And please be well, thank you, Sarah Richard Edna.


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