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Interview with Vijay Agarwal of CranioVation

4/16/2012 Interview by Howie Rhee

1) How did you come up with your idea?
I have been able to embrace my creative side during my residency and training over the past few years; I am constantly looking for better ways to treat patients as I go about my work at Duke Hospital every day.  I noticed that doctors are frustrated when they take a brain image only to find that it is obscured because there is a piece of metal in the brain - an aneurysm clip.  

I brought it up during one of the frequent brainstorms I have with my business partner, Craig.  Craig has invented medical devices that include PEEK material, miniature springs, and implants that have integrated springs. With this knowledge we started working on a solution to the problem.

2) How did you meet your team members?
Craig and I met in 2007 while working at a medical device company in Silicon Valley.  We have been exploring ideas and need-finding ever since.  Our goal is to develop solutions to real medical needs and get the resulting products on the market where we can make a difference.

3) How has the Duke Start-Up Challenge been helpful to you?
It has helped us to step back away from the details of the problem we are solving and look at the big picture.

4) The Duke Start-Up Challenge provides a lot of feedback from over 100 judges.  Can you talk about that experience of reviewing the feedback?
We enjoyed the challenge of communicating our idea to a broad and multidisciplinary panel of judges who have discerning perspectives. This has helped us to address the most pressing questions about our technology and market. 

5) What advice do you have for Duke student entrepreneurs that are thinking of starting a company?
Work hard, be fearless, dream big. And make sure you protect your idea.

6) Anything else you’d like to say?
This experience has been fantastic. The process is well organized, professional, and overall simply better than we could have imagined. It forces one to ask the hard questions and to investigate logical solutions.


Watch them compete in the Grand Finale on April 20th at 7:30pm ET.