STSA Hardware Ecosystem: A Profile on Rev Hardware Accelerator Alum Company, Geri-Safe
Here at the Southern Tier Startup Alliance, we’re getting to know the startups in our incubator network. As we start to see applications for this year’s Rev Hardware Accelerator program, we decided to check in with an alum of the HA. We spoke with Nandita Bal, Chief Product Engineer of Geri-Safe, about her experience at the HA, her flagship product, the value of STSA mentorship and resources, and why she decided to become a full-time member at Rev: Ithaca Startup Works. Here’s an excerpt from our conversation:
What is Geri-Safe?
Geri-Safe develops technology to prolong the physical independence of senior adults (people over age 65). Our flagship product is Medi-Trust, which helps seniors take their medications properly. Currently we’re trying to solve the problem of medication management: taking pills on time, and taking the correct pills. Medication noncompliance in senior adults is costing insurance companies about $200 billion every year in reimbursement, and human error when sorting medication leads to 125,000 deaths annually. We’re trying to address the human error associated with the sorting of pills.
Why did you choose to stay in the Southern Tier and join Rev full-time?
It was perfect for me. I had rapport with Ken Rother (Rev Hardware Accelerator Program Director and Southern Tier Startup Alliance Entrepreneur-In-Residence) and there was a network built around Ithaca. I think Ithaca is a nice place to be because there are enough universities you can draw from, there are some really smart people, and everyone is excited about entrepreneurship. The $2,000 in development funds that I received as part of the Hardware Accelerator program was enough to get a functioning prototype–the 3D printer in the Rev prototyping lab helped us test a lot of the small details of our specific designs before considering manufacturing. And the mentors were always there to guide me, so my work never stopped. There are so many events that keep happening at Rev, so the whole community thinks of Rev as the place to come talk about startups. For networking, that was great. The university, the location, the mentorship, the space, the Hardware Accelerator workshop, the network–those are what made me stay in the Southern Tier.
How did the Rev Hardware Accelerator impact your company and product?
The Rev Hardware Accelerator provided the tools to build a prototype that gave me confidence to work in the market. It taught me how to understand my customer segments, and how to develop for them, so I can build something the community will want. My company’s not based on what I think now; the focus has shifted to what the customers want. The Hardware Accelerator provided the money we needed to build the first prototype, then mentorship in terms of management, how to get funds, how to talk to people, and how to pitch. It makes me more confident about my project!
See more at about Geri-Safe here.