Author Archive for kiskaea1

Ann Wang and Jessica Willison realized that there are many people around the world with products to sell and that there are also numerous markets in the U.S. to which these people could sell their products. However, the sellers were separated from these U.S. markets by oceans and tens of thousands of miles.

So Ann and Jessica started a website called Enrou. Enrou works with 31 vendors in 57 global communities to provide artisans in other countries and continents with a market for their goods in the U.S. They tailor payments for the goods to the individual vendors’ needs and amenities. “Wages and how we structure payment to artisans really depend on local customs and community needs,” says Jessica Willison. The pair’s main goal is to help the less fortunate in other countries make a better living for themselves. Ann Wang summarizes, “Makers on the ground usually don’t have access to build a future for themselves. Our company is based around giving individuals access to provide a future.”

In addition, Ann and Jessica want to give their customers a window into the lives of the artisans. For each product they sell, Ann and Jessica provide a story about the place and people from which that product originated. It’s a unique aspect to their company that humanizes the workers who produce the products that American consumers take for granted.

Enrou is still young, but Ann and Jessica hope to continue to grow the company and partner with larger organizations to aid their vendors in better ways.

EchoMark and EchoSure

David Narrow has created substantial waves as an entrepreneur in the field of healthcare. At the mere age of 25, he is the CEO of Sonavex and creator of EchoMark and EchoSure.

David’s career with Sonavex began when he noticed that doctors would often have trouble locating previous surgical sites on patients. Locating these surgical sites is crucial for doctors if they are performing a follow-up procedure on a site. Usually the sites would be marked with implants that could be viewed later with an ultrasound. However, the implants that were currently being used were often difficult to accurately pinpoint in the ultrasounds. David realized that the healthcare industry needed a better implant that could be more easily seen and located with an ultrasound. So he started Sonavex and designed EchoMark.

EchoMark is a surgical implant made from a polymer material that is harmless to the human body. At the end of surgery, a doctor can insert EchoMark into the surgical site to mark it for later procedures. EchoMark’s unique shape causes the sound waves of an ultrasound to bounce off of it at multiple angles, enabling doctors and nurses to distinguish its location more quickly and accurately than previous surgical markers. If a second surgery in the area is not needed, EchoMark dissolves within 18-24 months after insertion, without needing to be removed. David’s product aptly filled an important need in healthcare, but it wasn’t long before he found a new need to tackle.

Another problem that medical professionals face is the occurrence of blood clots in patients who have undergone any surgical procedure in which veins or arteries are reconnected. Over 550,000 patients per year experience this type of surgery, which always involves the risk of blood clots. If a clot occurs and is not diagnosed and treated quickly, the patient may experience serious harm and have to undergo even more extensive surgeries. In response to this problem, David designed EchoSure, an ultrasound system that monitors patients’ newly connected blood vessels for clots. The system automatically alerts medical personnel of flow loss in a vessel. EchoSure’s intuitive interface allows medical professionals to use it without needing any training in ultrasound. As such, EchoSure acts as an early warning system against blood clots, allowing for rapid diagnosis and treatment before they can cause substantial damage.

David Narrow’s creativity and innovation to solve problems in healthcare have benefited numerous patients and have paved the way for even more valuable technology.

The Mind Behind Mozilla Firefox

Blake Ross epitomizes what it means to be a millennial entrepreneur. But before Blake’s story is told, here’s a word about Netscape.

In the late 1990s, Netscape Communications Corporation, an internet suite, was competing against the Microsoft giant, Internet Explorer. One could hardly call it competing, though, because Internet Explorer was beating their competition to a pulp. Netscape needed a better product in order to survive against Internet Explorer. So in 1998, Netscape made development of their new version open source, meaning that any programmers could help develop it. This is where Blake enters scene.

Blake loved programming, and by the age of 10 he had constructed his first website. At the age of 15, he started developing with Netscape. He and two others, David Hyatt and Joe Hewitt, would eventually become the major minds behind Mozilla Firefox through the Netscape open source project. In 2004, at the age of 19, Blake helped release the first version of Firefox. By 2010, Firefox surpassed Internet Explorer as the most popular web browser in Europe, and Firefox continues to be successful to this day.

Blake started working on another project in 2006 called Parakey. It was a computer interface that he wanted to be able to perform the same functions as an operating system. Shortly after its development in 2007, Facebook bought Parakey for a multi-million dollar deal.

Blake Ross excellently shows the benefits of starting young and getting out into the entrepreneurial world as soon as possible. He took something that he enjoyed doing and was able to use his skills to do big things in the field of technology.

Health Recovery Solutions – Bringing the Hospital to Your Living Room

Jarrett Bauer’s grandmother rebounded back and forth from her home to the hospital due to complications from chronic heart failure. Frustrated at his grandmother’s situation, Jarrett resolved to improve hospitals’ patient care systems. He and two colleagues, Rohan Udeshi and Dan Priece, developed a software for patients to do self-monitoring from the comfort of their homes. Eventually, Health Recovery Solutions resulted from their software.

Health Recovery Solutions is an organization that partners with hospitals and clinics to reduce patient re-admissions by using an innovative patient monitoring technology. When patients are discharged from a hospital or clinic after a surgery or some other medical procedure, they are provided with a few things. The patients are given a tablet connected to several Bluetooth monitoring devices, such as blood pressure cuffs, pulse oximeters, thermometers, etc. The tablet comes pre-loaded with a specific treatment plan for the patients to follow or their caregiver to administer. In addition to tracking all the patient’s vital signs, the patient’s diet intake, pictures of wounds, and other medical information can be entered into the tablet. Doctors at the hospital can view everything entered into the tablet and be alerted if the patient displays unstable vital signs. Overall, Health Recovery Solutions makes self-care easy for patients and their caregivers, which reduces hospital re-admissions and, in turn, decreases costs and the drain on medical resources.

Jarrett Bauer recognized the difficulties that patients with chronic conditions face and the inconvenience of frequent hospitalizations. He also realized the drain on medical personnel and resources that these patients present. Consequently, he stepped in and filled a need. Now, his multi-million dollar company, from its Hoboken, NJ office, serves over 15,000 patients, works with 60 agencies, and continues to grow. It will be intriguing to see how Health Recovery Solutions and its monitoring system will keep revolutionizing the healthcare industry.

The App That’s Taken Our Phones (and Lives) By Storm

It started with a few friends at Stanford University. Bobby Murphy, Evan Spiegel, and Reggie Brown designed a photo messaging app in 2011 with a unique feature: the photos you send are viewed once and not saved. They called their app “Picaboo” and mostly marketed it toward female users; as their product description put it, “Picaboo lets you send photos for peeks and not keeps!” However, they soon changed the app’s title to its current, household name: Snapchat.

By 2012, Snapchat catered to 100,000 daily users, but was only available on the Apple App Store. Later that year in October, Murphy, Spiegel, and Brown expanded their market to Google’s Android platform, causing their daily users to jump to over 1 million. Even though the company continued to grow and add new features and users to its app, it still had not made any profit by 2013. In addition, Reggie Brown left the company after a dispute and lawsuit. Things were not exactly fine and dandy for Snapchat. At this point, entrepreneurial powerhouse Mark Zuckerberg contacted Murphy and Spiegel and offered to buy Snapchat for $3 billion. Murphy and Spiegel refused.

Over the next few years, Snapchat included more features, such as “My Story”, image filters, geo-filters, Lenses (dog ears, rainbow vomit, etc.), and Discover. The first few of these aspects of the app increased user interest, and the Discover feature allowed journalistic sources publish their content on Snapchat. The year of 2016 brought the launch of voice and video calling and stickers to the Chat feature, and Memories allowed users to save snaps and stories. Snapchat also incorporated Bitmoji, an avatar component, into the app, and they reached the milestone of 150 million daily users.

As of now, Snapchat is valued at about $20-25 billion. Bobby Murphy and Evan Spiegel took an idea from the ground floor to a multi-billion dollar company in less than six years. They did so through many factors, but most importantly through patience and strategic marketing. With the addition of geo-filters, Murphy and Spiegel allowed outside companies and individuals to sponsor filters for snaps. Furthermore, the Discovery component opened Snapchat to journalistic sources to publish their content on the app. Both of these innovations brought in immense amounts of revenue and new users for Snapchat. Murphy and Spiegel could have easily given up hope after not making any profit. They could have sold their app to Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook and walked away with a huge lump of cash ($3 billion). But they didn’t; they persevered. They knew that they had created a unique, marketable app, and they marketed it successfully. As a result, the pair ended up making seven to eight times (and counting) what Zuckerberg offered. Their creativity and innovation not only revolutionized photo messaging apps, but also gave birth to a whole new form of social media. Some might say their patience paid off.

Jolt — A New and Innovative Concussion Prevention

Ben Harvatine, a wrestler and a junior MIT, had no idea that he had just suffered a concussion during one fateful practice. Unfortunately, neither did the MIT training staff. Ben continued to practice and compete, trying to push through what he thought was general fatigue or dehydration. When his dizziness persisted, he sought further treatment and was diagnosed with a concussion. This late diagnosis put his wrestling career on hold for a time and precipitated multiple hospitalizations. If Ben could have been diagnosed earlier, his injuries would likely have been much less severe.

While recuperating, Ben began to brainstorm ideas for how this type of situation could be prevented in the future. He and a friend, Seth Berg, eventually designed Jolt, a sensor that could be clipped on to virtually any type of sports headgear (helmet, hat, headband, etc.). Jolt would monitor head trauma during any physical activity and vibrate to alert the wearer of significant injuries. It would also send data and alerts via Bluetooth to an app on a smartphone, tablet, or other device. Jolt has a range of over 200 yards and a battery life of up to two months. Additionally, the app can monitor an unlimited number of sensors at once; and, another huge feature is that a Jolt sensor only costs $99.

This would allow sports players, coaches, or parents to monitor the head impacts sustained by the players. With the information Jolt provides, coaches, parents, trainers, etc. can know when their players suffer serious hits and decide whether the players should keep playing or stop. Jolt would act as an important prevention system to catch concussions before they worsen from further trauma.

In true entrepreneurial fashion, Ben Harvatine and Seth Berg found a need from personal experience and then brainstormed to solve that need. Now, their inventiveness is aiding players and coaches in the fight against concussions. Jolt is keeping players playing and protecting them in the process.


Jolt website —