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Meet the SVC Finalist: Pareto

Skandalaris Center
April 20, 2020

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 Pareto.



Pareto is developing an automated storage and access system that draws a dose sterilely and then dispenses a syringe to the provider. To protect the sterile internal environment of the vial, we will inject sterile, inert gas into the vial, thus forcing the medicine out through an inserted syringe. This is a similar concept to the Coravin wine preservation system.


Industry: Biotech/ Healthcare

Number of Employees: 3

Total Funding (as of March 2020): $2,000


What problem are you solving?

In order to prevent cross-contamination after a dose is drawn, excess medication in a vial is often thrown away. This leads to billions of dollars of infusion drug waste every year in the US.


About the Founding Team:

  • Kelley is a Senior Neuroscientist at Washington University School of Medicine working in drug and device development. She is a member of the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society and has a robust regulatory strategy background. She is finishing up her MBA at Olin in the spring of 2020. While at Olin, she has been a United Way Board Fellow and obtained Beta Sigma Gamma honors.  Kelley is passionate about bringing innovations in healthcare to market and is excited about the opportunities that Pareto Medical Devices bring.
  • Rachel is a Long Island native and has arrived in St Louis less than a year ago to complete her Masters in Biomedical Innovation at Washington University in St Louis. She has a BS in Engineering, Product Design from Stanford University and made the decision to transition into the medical space with the goal of creating designs that are impactful and help those around her.
  • Mitchell is the founder of Pareto Medical Devices. He is an MD/MBA student at Washington University in St. Louis and will graduate with both degrees in May of 2021. In 2016 he graduated from the University of Georgia with a BS in Biological Engineering, and his passion is improving the quality and efficiency of our healthcare system. It was after seeing the prevalence of wasting medicine during a medical rotation in Barnes Jewish Hospital that the idea for Pareto Medical Devices was first formulated.


What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting your venture?

The most important part of starting a venture is finding the right team. It is often more important to tackle what you can and then look for additional help rather than trying to do everything yourself- getting impactful technology to market quickly can be the difference between the product becoming realized or having it fade into creation oblivion. Trying to do everything yourself is the surest way to slow down your product's development. That has been one of our biggest strengths so far – the depth and bread of team member expertise.


What do you love about being an entrepreneur?

We love the freedom and creativity that comes with being an entrepreneur. We love coming up with the weird, out-of-the-box solutions that differ from the status quo. You don’t know that they’ll work (or maybe you even know they won’t), but getting the ideas out there for others to build off of can lead to innovation. You don’t get that in more structured and established roles. We also love the ability to work on something about which we are passionate and that it has the potential to help a lot of people. Finally, though entrepreneurship requires teamwork (no one can do it all), it also requires everyone to wear multiple hats. We thoroughly enjoy being able to work across multiple roles within an organization, which is not something commonly found in more established firms.


What words of advice do you have for those interested in starting a business?

Know it will take more than you think, that the timeline will most likely be longer than expected and that you will go through lots of ups and downs. Also, keep in mind that working within a startup is similar to starting a family in many respects. It will take a lot of time, patience, and energy, and who you choose as your partners will make the difference between a successful experience and a failure.