Nine WashU student-lead ventures are finalists set to compete for $22,500 in awards in the 2020 Skandalaris Venture Competition (SVC) later this month. This week, we are publishing Q&A articles to feature each venture team. Today’s featured team is Caralyst.
Caralyst offers a humanistic matching platform for patients and physicians based on identity, personal characteristics, and communication styles.
Industry: Healthcare Innovation
Number of Employees: 4
Total Funding (as of March 2020): $2,000 from Sling Health
What problem are you solving?
Patient-physician relationships are incredibly impactful on a patient’s health; however, the healthcare industry is not fostering these relationships in the most optimal way. There is an abundant amount of evidence linking patient wellbeing and adherence to the relationship they have with their doctor, and this is more profound for patients with marginalized identities. If a patient is unable to form a strong relationship with their doctor, they will be more likely to switch, which is costly and increases overall health spending.
About the Founding Team:
Matt Millett - A medical student at Washington University in St. Louis. He worked as a software engineer at Facebook and several startups after studying computer science at Stanford.
Havisha Pedamallu - An undergraduate student at Washington University studying Computational Biology and Genomics and Healthcare Management. She has experience working with biotechnology startups and has a strong understanding of healthcare disparities.
Moataz – A Pharm.D./MBA student at St. Louis College of Pharmacy. His passion includes innovations in healthcare and business pharmaceuticals.
Owen Zhang – A moral entrepreneur and developer passionate in innovation, healthcare, and philanthropy. He is an undergraduate student at Washington University studying in the Joint Business and Computer Science Program.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting your venture?
The biggest lesson our team has learned from working with Caralyst is the importance of experience. We have relied heavily on other projects we have been involved with, either related or unrelated to this project, to shape our perceptions regarding the different areas of the project we are leading. In addition, during the need-finding process, we have had the opportunity to speak with individuals with different expertise, which we have worked to incorporate into our design. Hearing about someone’s very short or life-changing experiences have all come together to strongly influence our humanistic approach.
What do you love about being an entrepreneur?
An amazing part of being an entrepreneur is the opportunity to grow an idea into something big. As a founding team, we have all had to take on roles that we had no experience with before, which has given us the opportunity to gain unique transferable skills we would not have been able to get otherwise. In addition, we have really enjoyed building a network with people working in a wide number of fields and learning about what projects they are working on or how we could help each other.
What words of advice do you have for those interested in starting a business?
I would suggest aspiring entrepreneurs to always think big. Working with a startup, especially, it is easy to doubt yourself and think some targets are out of reach. Having a large idea has pushed my team to reach out to others for help and learn how we can make it happen. Our goal has always been to deliver the best product possible, which can only be done by thinking big.