After witnessing his grandmother’s trying health scares caused by mismanaging her pills, Victor Lesau decided to put his engineering background to work.
He and his friend Ivan Spogreev were kicking around business ideas, as they often do, when they landed on CuePath Innovation. They envisioned a system that would help seniors and their caregivers stay on top of their medication using an internet-connected pill box and a mobile app.
“We decided that this was where we wanted to keep the momentum going — we built prototypes, found strategic investors and brought in core team members with a similar passion to help the aging population live a more comfortable life with the help of technology,” Lesau said.
They launched the Vancouver, B.C.-based startup in 2015 and have been validating the product through interviews with potential customers. CuePath is currently working through the Techstars Seattle 2017 accelerator and plans to roll out pilot products in the U.S. in Seattle and the surrounding region this year.
We caught up with Lesau for this Startup Spotlight, a regular GeekWire feature. Continue reading for his answers to our questionnaire.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “CuePath Innovation is a medication reminder and monitoring service connected with a popular medication blister pack.”
Inspiration hit us when: “My grandmother had unexpected doctor and emergency room visits due to pill mismanagement several times a year. With multiple chronic conditions and more than 10 unique pills per day, it was difficult for her to get it right. She even used popular disposable multi-drug blister packs pre-filled by a pharmacist to keep the medications organized, but still landed in the doctor’s office. This affected the quality of her life and our family’s.
The same risk falls on over 35 million North American seniors who suffer from two or more chronic conditions. While thinking about this problem, we were inspired to create CuePath Innovation.”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “We decided to bootstrap through our first pilots, then raised an angel round with a strategic partner. We want to take CuePath Innovation to the national market and then global expansion, so we have a plan for further VC-backed financing later.”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Existing solutions tend to have ‘too much tech’ and learning for a senior. We remove these barriers by utilizing packaging that people are already familiar with, while seamlessly integrating into a pharmacy’s workflow.”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “It’s been important for us to spend the right amount of time to find a strategic investor. We didn’t want to rush. We also want to be thoughtful about how we hire. Bringing in core team members that are experts in our field while being a great addition to the culture we’re building is at the top of our priority list.”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Relying on one vendor and their timeline for delivering key pieces of our projects has been tedious at times. We learned quickly to have multiple avenues of choice available for vendor management and contingencies.”
Would you rather have Gates, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “We appreciate Bezos’ evergreen approach and the way he puts profits back into developing new initiatives. We would have loved learning from his WOW customer success experience.”
Our favorite team-building activity is: “We have a lot of interests, but a great meal is often enough to bring us together for a good discussion.”
The biggest thing we look for when hiring is: “Thoughtful problem solvers that are self-aware of their strengths and opportunities.”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Find the problem you are passionate about and really pissed off with. Find and inspire a good friend to solve it with you. Bring in additional people to cover the expertise gaps, and go fix it together.”
Editor’s note: GeekWire is featuring each of the companies in the Techstars Seattle 2017 accelerator as they prepare for their Demo Day April 19.