The Skandalaris Center Summer Internship Program is a paid 10-week summer program that provides an opportunity for WashU students to work at a local early-stage startup. Throughout the summer we will feature blogs from participating students and ventures. Following is our first blog with a local bio-medical venture called clEAR.
For the third year in a row, clEAR, an auditory brain training program that allows users to train with the speech of someone who is important to them, is hosting a summer intern as part of the Skandalaris Center Summer Internship Program. Recently, clEAR founder and CEO Dr. Nancy Tye-Murray sat down with us to discuss starting clEAR and what the business has gained from their summer interns.
As a professor at the Washington University of St. Louis School of Medicine, Dr. Tye-Murray is challenged with balancing her work with the University with her work at clEAR. While this is a challenge it is also the most rewarding part of her work. “It’s nice knowing your work doesn’t retire with you”, Dr. Tye-Murray shared. She explained that clEAR was started based on her research as a professor and she loves being able to take her life’s work out of the lab and bring it to those who need it.
clEAR was founded three and a half years ago with a business model focused on selling a three month listening therapy package to audiologists at a wholesale price. Shortly after the launch, they realized this model wasn’t sustainable and switched to one that targeted both audiologists and patients. Switching their business model wasn’t easy, it completely shifted their revenue streams and marketing efforts. It was their first summer intern who helped make the shift and eventual launch much easier.
When they decided to host their first Summer Internship program intern in 2017, clEAR was preparing to launch and needed someone to help prepare their marketing efforts and website. The decided to hire a marketing intern through the program and were extremely happy with her work. Dr. Tye-Murray shared that she knew there would be talented students but she was “so impressed” but their first intern.
The second-year of their participation in the Summer Internship program, Dr. Tye-Murray was amazed by the intern’s work, so amazed that she knew they had to hire him again this year. According to Dr. Tye-Murray, while working at clEAR, their intern Devin Griffin (EN, Computer Science ’21), used his game design skills to “completely resurface the product and make it look incredible.”
When asked about the Summer Internship Program, Dr. Tye-Murray described it as a “wonderful program” and a “win-win” situation for students and hosting ventures. It allows students to “get the vibe of a startup” seeing every part of from fundraising to staffing and everything in between. The program also gives students an incredible experience and role that they can share with potential employers. “The summer is long enough to really dig your teeth into something”, shared Dr. Tye-Murray.
clEAR has been thrilled with their participation in the Skandalaris Center Summer Internship Program and look forward to the contribution their intern Devin will make as they prepare to transform to a digital hearing healthcare journey that will launch in September 2019.
To learn more about Dr. Nancy Tye-Murray and clEAR visit: www.clearworks4ears.com
To learn more about the Skandalaris Center Summer Internship Program and other venture hosts read our recent blog about this year’s program.