Madeleine Arkenius - VeniLearn
Blog post #1
Describe the idea!
Our idea is to develop a training equipment for practicing venipuncture, the procedure where access to the bloodstream is gained. This procedure is performed in order to draw blood or insert a venous catheter. The equipment available today is expensive and does not resemble human patients in a successful way. Our equipment is supposed to be cheaper, reusable and have a bigger variety of training scenarios compared to the equipment available today.
Who are you?
Both of us study Biomedical Engineering and we have recently completed our fourth year. We both have a big interest in medicine and engineering and especially when these two areas overlap. The projected started as a bachelor project where we worked with it part time for one semester. We applied for a leapfrog scholarship in order to take our project further.
What will you do during these three months? How will you spend the time?
We plan on contacting potential customers and try to get their opinion and input on the idea and its development. We want to build a costumer base and evaluate the interest and need of a product like the one we want to develop. Additionally, we have our own ideas on how to improve the already existing prototype of the equipment, as feedback has been received in previous work with the prototype. With the feedback gained throughout the summer and feedback from previous tests of the prototype, we hope to develop an improved prototype that can be tested in the clinic.
What do you expect to achieve during Leapfrogs?
We expect to have developed and created a new prototype that is ready to be tested in the clinic, but also to be presented to potential customers. We will also have identified customers and taken initial contact with these. We hopefully will have met many other inspiring students doing leapfrog and made many good business contacts. At last, we also hope that leapfrog will result in a great deal of fun.
Blog post #2
Tell us what you have done on your project so far during the Leapfrogs time.
In the beginning, our focus was to catch up on where we left off with the project a year ago. We wanted a better picture of the need, so we decided to do a market research.
Since we were planning on getting in touch with potential customers, we studied different sales techniques, but most importantly, we talked to other startups in the incubator about sales and meeting with the customer. This was really helpful and we felt ready to start contacting potential customers. This was very successful, and we were able to book meetings.
Has everything gone according to the plan? Has anything unexpected occurred? Has something been easier/harder than expected?
So far, everything has gone according to the plan. However, some things have been easier, and some things have been harder than expected. For example, knowing how to contact customers was hard for us, because neither of us have any significant experience in sales or entrepreneurship. It however, resulted in us learning a lot. Since we have booked meetings, we have so far reached our goals. In general, it is hard to have a detailed plan this early on, because the direction of work depends on the input from customers and is outside of our control.
What will you focus on during the remaining time? Will you follow your original plan or has anything changed along the way?
We have received valuable input from the market and potential customers. We will now continue developing our prototype according to this input and hopefully once again meet with the customer and receive feedback on the improved idea. Since the customer is the expert and knows exactly what the need is, we plan on working closely with the customer in further development of our idea. We also plan to keep contacting new potential customers to receive a more accurate image of the market and its need.
Blog post #3
How did you experience the three months?
The three months went by really fast. It has been really fun to work on our own project. We have met many interesting people and gained a lot of knowledge in areas that were unknown to us before.
What has been most difficult and what has been most enjoyable?
What we found most enjoyable was how much we were able to learn. Being new to the entrepreneur world certainly has its limitations, there is a lot of things that are completely new to you which makes the job difficult. But on the other hand, being able to learn everything outweighs the problems with not knowing it from the start.
Will you continue working on your project in the future? If so, what is your next step?
Yes, we have through the scholarship received a place at VentureLab. We have been working there during the summer and we will continue to do so the coming semester. The next step will be to produce a couple of different prototypes and test them with the potential customers that we have met during the summer.
What would you say is the most important lesson learnt while working on your project?
There has been a lot of lessons learned and one of the more important ones has been that everyone experiences ups and downs. Some weeks everything goes your way but other weeks you will struggle with every single thing. During those more difficult weeks, it might be hard to keep good spirits. It is important to know that everyone suffers these setbacks and difficult weeks and that it is completely normal.
Do you have any tips to other new entrepreneurs?
One of the most important tips would be not to be afraid to reach out to all the people around you. There are many entrepreneurs that are going through the same things as you are and almost everyone is eager to help out. By reaching out to be people you might not find your answer straight away, but they can almost always point you in the right direction.