On March 1, I formally started as entrepreneur. After a great 6.5 years at Mars, it is time for me to follow my heart and start a “Medtech” (Medical Technology) company that will bring devices to hospitals that will:
– Reduce pain and stress in infants
– Improve the parent-child bonding
As you can see on the left, the fortune cookie I had just over a month ago already knew what was going to happen! 🙂
I have founded Bambi medical together with my dad, Sidarto. My dad is a pediatrician (or actually neonatologist) and a part-time professor at the University of Eindhoven (TU/e). Next to being a doctor and a professor he is an inventor who has invented some nice devices over the last couple of years. We will now join forces to make sure these devices leave the university and end up in the hospitals were they belong.
Over the next couple of months I will dedicate almost all of my time to the development of a product that we have called the Smart Jacket. (today I understood from a patent expert that it will be impossible to protect this name, so it might change in the future).
The Smart Jacket is a Medtech device that allows monitoring of vital signs in (pre-term) babies to happen wirelessly and in a non-intrusive way.
I can hear you thinking, Why is this such a big deal?
Let me tell you why.
Nowadays babies that are born well ahead of the normal term of 40 weeks are treated in incubators. They are connected to the patient monitor by a combination of adhesive electrodes and a spaghetti of wires, which looks something like the picture you can see on the right.
We have two main concerns with this situation:
- Removing the adhesive electrodes (which happens at least every 24 hours) gives a lot of pain and stress to the infant.
- All the wires make Kangaroo Mother Care (skin-to-skin contact between parent and baby) difficult, having a negative impact on parent child bonding and the development of infant.
The Smart Jacket will take away both concerns as we will use non-adhesive electrodes to monitor vital signs AND the signal will be sent wirelessly from the Smart Jacket to the patient monitor.
So, enough about the product for now.
What does being CFO of Bambi Medical mean in practice?
Well, the job title in a start-up doesn’t say a lot to be honest. Yes, I am doing the financial administration of our company (which isn’t too complex yet!) and I am also doing financial planning work for the business model.
But on top of that, I am taking care of everything that needs to be taken care of. I talk to tax advisors, IP advisors, technology partners, distributions partners, etc.
The top three priorities for the next couple of weeks are:
- IP : we have some IP protected, and now need to decide what else we want to protect and how
- Funding: In order to further develop the product and do the required clinical trials and testing to get the CE mark and FDA-approval (important for doing business in the US and some other parts of the world)
- Staffing: I have a pretty good idea about my strengths and weaknesses (I think!) and doing the development of the Smart Jacket is not something I am capable of doing myself. Therefore we will need to recruit some people to help us here.
The first weeks have been a great experience, given the fact that so far everything seems to be going well. Hope it will stay like this… 🙂
We have had a first meeting with a prospect who is interested in distributing the Smart Jacket to hospitals in over 80 countries. The meeting went very well and their enthusiasm grew over the course of the meeting. This gives us a lot of confidence that we are moving in the right direction and have a product that will make the world a better place for our smallest inhabitants.
Will keep you all posted!