Posted on 4/4/2013. Interview by Howie Rhee
Tell us about yourself
Tell us about your time at Duke, what were you involved in?
At Duke my main interests were in increasing awareness about Entrepreneurship. I served as Co-President of the Duke Start-Up Challenge for 2 years and also was the President of the undergraduate entrepreneurship club, The Duke Entrepreneur my senior year. I also co-founded and was Chief Operations/Outreach Officer for the Duke Venture Capital Club that was dedicated to spreading awareness about Venture Capital in the undergrad community.
What's your major/program and when will you be graduating? Tell us something about your educational experience at Duke.
Duke was a phenomenal educational experience. I had the opportunity to not only study Biomedical Engineering and Economics, but also take advantage of the large number of inter-disciplinary activities and courses around. Some highlights included working on business plans, case competitions, writing finance essays and shadowing neurosurgeons in surgery to develop devices that would help them do better and make brain surgery easier.
Tell us about your idea.
Urova Medical has developed the Uroguide, a single incision surgical treatment for Stress Incontinence. Using novel concepts it is an elegant solution for a problem that affects nearly 1 in 3 adult women. The solutions out there are good but have many problems leading to an unaddressed billion dollar market.
How did you come up with your idea? When did you come up with it?
The idea came up at Johns Hopkins University where my teammates were part of a design team. It came up over the last year. I co-founded the company in May 2012 when we were accepted to the ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator in Memphis, TN.
How did you meet your team members?
We met through a mutual friend who also started the company with us.
How has the Duke Start-Up Challenge been helpful to you?
The Duke Start-Up Challenge has been a fundamental part of my entrepreneurial journey. Having helped shape and grow the competition, it has directly contributed to my entrepreneurial ambitions in shaping and influencing my thoughts and opinions. It also exposed me to many different speakers, people and contacts allowing us to do more better. In fact, we competed as a student team last year, and we were noticed by an investor leading to our current state of incorporation. All in all, I owe a lot to the Duke Start-Up Challenge.
The Duke Start-Up Challenge provides a lot of feedback from over 100 judges. Can you talk about that experience of reviewing the feedback?
The feedback and the questions are the best part of the Duke Start-Up Challenge. Questions from a different perspective is the most valuable information a start-up can get, and that is critical for us to grow and be better as a company.
Did you connect with any judges for advice, and if so, who were they and was it helpful?
We have as yet not connected with any judges for advice. We will do so in the future though.
What advice do you have for Duke alumni / faculty / staff entrepreneurs that are thinking of starting a company?
The best piece of advice that i have received is understand your customer very well. Always keep talking to people and understand their problem and what you can do to solve it. Always keep going through the customer discovery process, then and only then will you succeed as an entrepreneur.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Want more? Watch the videos and read the other interviews for all of the Round 3 teams in the Duke Start-Up Challenge
And join us for the Grand Finale with David Cummings ’02 for the 14th Annual Duke Start-Up Challenge on Thursday, April 11th, 2013 at 7:30pm ET at Fuqua’s Geneen Auditorium. RSVP on Facebook
Not able to attend in person? Watch the livestream on Duke’s YouTube channel.