July 27, 2016
Jessica Traver, 25--CEO, IntuiTap Medical
Traver, who has a mechanical engineering degree from Purdue Univeristy and previously worked for ophthalmic company Iridex, is the CEO of IntuiTap Medical. The IntuiTap device was created to simplify and improve spinal tap procedures. The device's technology combines spine imaging, needle guidance, analytics, a digital pressure sensor, and fluid collection system.
The design was informed by the more than 250 hours Traver and her team spent in clinical rotations to pinpoint the needs and frustrations of clinicians and patients. As CEO, she has led the team through product development and is also focused on the company's commercialization strategy and fundraising efforts.
What's next--in her own words: "We are currently raising a seed round to continue development of our device. We just completed our first institutional review board (IRB) approved human study to prove the accuracy of our technology, and we are using the data from the study to refine our algorithms. We plan to build a standalone, wireless beta prototype by January 2017 and begin usability testing on that device with clinicians."
What are the biggest factors that helped you become a young innovator? "Programs such as the Biodesign Innovation fellowship have been instrumental in getting me to where I am today. I developed a passion for entrepreneurship in undergrad and was able to tailor my graduate coursework to product design and entrepreneurship, which gave me great experience and prepared me to be a good candidate for the Biodesign Innovation Fellowship at the Texas Medical Center . . . This program, along with my graduate school research and product design projects, gave me real exposure and first hand experience with each stage of the product development cycle, and taught me the best ways to approach each stage."
What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far? "Getting to be where I am today, a medtech entrepreneur, has been the biggest challenge I have faced. I never really followed what would be considered a typical path, so I getting here was tough. I became a Mechanical Engineer for the same reasons as many I imagine; I wanted to help people and make an impact, and I was fascinated by how things work. However I quickly realized that I was not going to be a "typical" mechanical engineer. I wanted to blend my love of healthcare and medicine with my passion for product design, human centered design, and entrepreneurship . . . So in graduate school, unlike most mechanical engineering grad students, I tailored my curriculum and research to focus on a mix of healthcare, entrepreneurship, and product design . . . I am excited to see that more multidisciplinary programs and courses are surfacing in undergraduate and graduate schools, making it easier for students like myself to gain the experience we need in order to become successful entrepreneurs."
[Image courtesy of JESSICA TRAVER]
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