iSono Health Co-Founder|CEO
Stanford University Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Electrical Engineering
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How did you get to where you are today? What incidents and experiences shaped your career path? What inspired you to work on this startup idea?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
I s Oh, I'm an engineer by training. Eso I did my PhD s Stafford. Um, Andi, I did a post aka Sandia Labs. Eso I had worked on ultrasound technology. Onda The passion behind the idea came from having lost close friends to breast cancer That was missed by the current standard care. Andi, I thought we gotta do better for women's health. So Onda knowing, uh, not ultra town can be effective for the stage detection we set on a path to improve. Uh, it's, you know, image acquisition by automation of the hardware and then interpretation by adding and I

What is the elevator pitch of your startup? What problem does it solve? How were your customers solving their pain point before your startup?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
eso having a pitch? Eso no health is developing A I powered the platform for accessible on personalized breast health monitoring that combines the automated three d ultrasound with machine learning.it solves is access, uh, to breast cancer screening. Globally, over a billion women don't have access to breast cancer screening because our system is automated. Uh, it doesn't need a special. Is a specialized operator to operate eso It sells access problem. And before this globally, millions of billions of women don't have access eso on, uh, the other. The problem that it solves is that the current standard care, which is mammogram, doesn't work for nearly half of women who have done expressed eso those women. Either we're not getting any additional screening or they were getting a handheld ultrasound, which has often poor specificity. So we improve on the specificity on duh Republic's ability by adding automation, and we help physicians by adding a I and decision support.

Can you walk us through your first few weeks when you started working on this project? How did things change over the next few months?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
That was years ago. Um s o the first few weeks Waas mostly exploring, to be honest. So when we started the company, we were still had both jobs, their industry. So we're both working at companies. And, uh, on the 1st 1st step of any idea should be Is there a product market fit? That means Is there somebody out there who wants Thio? Pay for it, right. This is a business on you wanna, you know, you have to have a customer. So there are many fantastic scientific ideas or technical ideas that necessarily don't have, ah, customer product market fit or, you know, it's not. Timing is not right. Often, you know, there's the ecosystem is not there. So the first question the first few months is that is that is there somebody who's willing to pay for it on But to get there, you need to go out. Essentially, Steve Blank has ah, great terminology says, get out of building. So you need to go on talk to a lot of potential customers, potential state holders, you know, not just customers, potential partners, you know, on health care. It's a very complicated, uh, ecosystem. So you need to get out and then just talk to as many people as you can on ask me the honest, non leading questions to see what their pain points are on. If you're solving a really need or is it a nice toe? Have or it's not something that you know anything is interested in, so that's the first step in my mind.

What were the challenges in building the initial team and how did you overcome them? How did the team's composition, dynamics, time, and resource commitment evolve?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
co founder. So we got together and started the company on. Then after that, you know, um, its fundraising or the challenge, obviously, to grow the team, you need to do fundraising. So that Z, that's one challenge after you do fundraising. Also, bringing the initial team is convincing the team that this is a worthwhile technology. So it's almost selling your products you're selling your company is the same as fundraising. Essentially, eso different, uh, customers. So yeah, so it starts challenging. But that first, uh, team is super important on as you grow then. And the first thing is that the first team that you bring along the first few key members have to be flexible and, you know, be interested in doing different things because startups means wearing a lot of different hats at the same time on they gotta be flexible and willing to learn quickly and learn things that they haven't done before eso. But as you move forward, then you have more and more poor people. Then people will be working in more specialized, you know, groups and you know, more closer to the areas of focus. So over time, that evolves, obviously, but initially you gotta find a team that is agile on was willing to do whatever it takes. So

How did your venture get its first professional funding? What were the challenges and how were they overcome? How'd your fundraising efforts change in subsequent rounds?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
So the first checks we got were from family and friends on. Then That was followed by a Bible on then y Combinator. So we're part of Y Y c On those were the first checks we got and then followed by some professional NJ investors on some physicians so that we got coming from for us, we're in health care, so that makes a difference on the first check. And then we also got a funding from National Science Foundation from S. P. I. R. I highly recommend for people who are trying a new idea. S p I. R. Is fantastic because it gives you the seed fund that's called America's Seed Fund. But so it's highly recommended eso they gave us the initial these together or initial, you know, fundraising. And then as we move forward and built the initial prototype and got some clinical data and got some validation and hard, you know, bought a few people important. Then we raised the venture around where, you know, we raised, you know, from venture capital on, uh and then we're fundraising again. So as you move forward, then now obviously increases than then. You know, e gets harder, but also you have more kind of traction to show. So it's, you know, it goes many different ways, but yeah, that that was our journey specifically.

What major challenges did your venture face in scaling operations? How did you overcome those challenges?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
fundraising. Um, for us, like we were in the middle of building our, you know, our products and prototypes for verification validation for FDA in the middle Cove. It happens. So having to, you know, get we get some parts from China, we get some, you know, parts. We built the system. A little system is built here. So having to move some of the operations in house because our manufacturer, you know, was shut down because of pull it s o or slow eso it's, you know, those are some of the challenges on as we move forward. You know, um, you know, scaling well, you know, will depend on fundraising and the team sub that's it's a combination. And then also finding the right partnerships is also key to scare it.

How did you set the scope for your minimal viable product? How did you get to product-market fit? How did your product evolve over time?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
different for every, you know, products. So for us Waas, you know, having a system that can capture images automatically and create, you know, good quality images from, you know, from phantoms and models. So that's kind of the first minimum viable product. Um, product market fit. You gotta talk. I mentioned we've got to talk to a customer. So we talked to a lot off surgeons. Radiologists, You know, we talked to a lot of women s o. Um, but I think the question is, how did you get to? But I think I'm gonna say how we explore product market fit. And that's how we did it. Uh, we're not selling our product yet because we're in the middle of the FDA process. So that's to be seen on. Then how did your product will evolve over time? Obviously, we've improved that, and we made that you know, like initially when we started, we wanted to sell this directory to consumers to women at home. And then, after exploring from both regulatory perspective from the clinical adoption perspective, we decided that it's better to first go to clinics on, then bring it to home. So that's how our products and strategy weld over time. So we said, Okay, let's go to clinics because we get also clinical validation on then, you know, and also our software, depending on you know, the regulatory landscape. We've also involved a little bit what it needs to do, what I can do initially and then expanding record on. So, um yeah, it's been based on multiple factors that I mentioned.

Who were your early users? What marketing channels, approaches, and marketing tools did you use to contact users? What worked and what didn't?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
users have been breast surgeons and radiologists. So, um on, uh, more marketing channels, marketing tools We used to contact users. So for us has been mostly going through professional societies and professional events conferences. Where we contacted the people there and we set up demos. We showed them demos. We also reached out a few physicians through, you know, social media and things like that, or email. Most of the time. As I said, the best methods we found more email and, uh, email lengthen and they like typical on then also for us, the most successful us through our conferences. But this is different. I think for every different fields, we are not healthcare. Eso going to best cancer on breast radiology conferences was the best for us. But as I said, this could be very specific to the, uh to the field where I am

What changes would you attempt in customer targeting, acquisition process, and marketing tools in the later growth phase? Why?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
being the clinics. But as we move to growth phase and labor phases as we wanna move no targeting to home, then our channels and customers will be different because, initial, you're targeting positions. So the channels already different as you go towards consumer than you are, you can go through, come understand or social media, you know, channels and marketing tools that are, you know, that is used for consumer products. Person. Initially, right now we're using different channels and marketing tools that later on we'll be using will be involving eventually for that.

How'd you hire, incentivize, and track the progress of your sales and marketing team including agencies and part-time workers to scale user base?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
but and I can talk about our general teams. So I think it's important. Thio we have higher team That's passionate about the products you're developing because startups are hard and as long, you know, long hours and hard work. So it really takes dedication on you gotta be working with a team that's really cares about the mission on the work you're doing S O. That was our focus and obviously a team that's very technically savvy and knows you know what you're doing s Oh, yeah, that's Zo. That's what we've done with Latina. As I said, sales and marketing team asked me hopefully in a few months and I'll be able to tell you, uh, as we go there and then part time. We have a lot of consultants and part time workers because, you know, we can't hire everybody full time right now. So eso as we have, we're working on different parts of technology. We hired, you know, part time workers. But we have also part time workers that we worked overtime and developing relationships with them, and we keep working with them, uh, sort of competition

Who were your competitors when you started and how did the competition evolve? How did you create a competitive advantage and a unique selling proposition?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
specifically are companies that are developing low cost handheld ultrasounds on there are competitive advantages, you know, developing applications, specific ultrasound with the addition of a I that's very portable and also automated. So bringing both portability and automation in one platform. It's a unique selling proposition, Uh, that enables use of our device and setting That's not possible before, like point of care, mobile or other places Where having a, you know, capital, uh, equipment they costly automated ultrasound is not possible. And then, uh, you are not a specialist to, you know, afraid that, you know, I've been a local council ultrasound. So our system has, you know, kind of the the ball for us to you know, um, so I offer unique selling propositions.

What were the major exciting and memorable moments? Were there also any moments that almost got you to quit? How did you get past them?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
I think I remember when we got into y Combinator. That was quite exciting when we got our first, uh, S P I. R. From ft. From an essay on, uh, from phase one and phase two. That was exciting. When we close our first round of the sea financing, that was quite exciting. So So the only the exciting moments on and on then there are many, many moments that you're like, you know, this is too tough, you know, I don't want to do this anymore, but then you think about why you're doing that on. Uh, you know, I often think about the women you know who are going to breast cancer or women who have breast cancer on. They tell me this constantly on my mind, I'm always worried about it s o on the other woman, you know that we're doing this for So that's how you get past it. But it's definitely roller coaster. So there are sometimes in the same day that you get some really good news or you, you know, selected for some I wore in the competition. And then the same day you're gonna email because no, I'm your like uh, so roller coaster. You just kind of have kinda gotta keep cool and think about kind of why you're doing it and why you're in it. And that's how you get past it, so

What responsibilities and decisions did you handle? What were the top three priorities and pain points? What strategies were effective in dealing with challenges?

Based on experience at: Staff MEMS Engineer, IDT - Integrated Device Technology, Inc.
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
designing Jr on and my responsibilities where doing simulation for the kind of a new product lines that were in the park line, you know, working on design and simulations, um, s o priorities. You know, a lot of these priorities that big companies are set, you know, by the management team. Eso It was, you know, designing products that would fit the customer needs and then assimilating them are making the first that, you know, And then once it got past that phase and the test results were, you know, satisfactory, they're moving them to production. So on the pain points, you know, everything company has this pain points. You know, uh, limitations kind off, you know, not being able to work on a paradox, but you have to focus on your, which is kind of a different environment. Um, on the strategies where, you know, we kind of gotta communicate and, you know, try to, you know, so help where you can so that you can show your value. And then that's kind of as much as I could say so that's

What helped you to stand out in your hiring process? How should someone prepare for an interview for a job like yours?

Based on experience at: Staff MEMS Engineer, IDT - Integrated Device Technology, Inc.
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Yes. On also, You know, I got introduced through, you know, a colleague that knew the product manager, the director. So that helped, I think, in preparing your the material and knowing obviously the material. So that helps us. Well, um yeah, that Z Yeah. What do you mean that programs I

What college programs did you attend and what were their best parts? How did each of your college programs prepare you for your career?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
best parts. Um, it's hard to say. I really like all three of them. There's a very different kind of environments. Um, underground. Obviously. I was involved in a lot of societies active. I did research. So I think one of the things that prepared me for Korea was that during my undergrad, I was active with working with professors and doing some research as an undergrad. I haven't got a publication out of it s Oh, I think that's really, uh, that's the one. Advice. If you really want to go to graduate school on a good graduate school top graduate school, my advice is thio. Things that will set you apart are letters of recommendations on having research experience. And, uh, that's what I did. So I would go to professors and tell them that I'm interested in, you know, doing research for them. They always want free help, right? So they would, you know, uh, partner me up with one of their grad students and, you know, I would help them. Not only I would learn, and it would expand kind of my horizon about what are the things we're learning? What are the potential real world application like, uh, that's that kind of was very useful. Doing an internship is very, very good. I highly recommended, you know, doing as many internship as you can. But also doing this depends on the career trajectory. So if you wanna go Thio, you know, graduate school and do a research or working a research map, then definitely doing research if you want to go and industry, I highly recommend doing internships and, you know, so it depends on the career trajectory that you're interested in. Onda and I highly recommend work. If you're interested in, um, doing a startup, I highly recommend working at a start up something that I didn't do What I wish I had done eso it really gives you perspective on bond. Yeah, So that that I highly recommend, you know, for doing your undergrad and grad school. You know, I was focused on my research, and, uh, I also try to collaborate a lot of different teams because it gives you, But also another breath off about, you know, potential not just being focused on your own research, working on different projects and different things that gives you a little bit of a more expanded wealthy. Also wrong