People found startups for a variety of reasons. Some see a problem that needs solving. Others are chasing a big exit. Simon Carter founded his startup, ManageBGL, to help is daughter live a safer life.
Both Carter and his daughter have Type 1 diabetes, a condition in which the pancreas, a gland which produces blood sugar-regulating insulin, stops working. Type 1 diabetics need to inject insulin, doses of which are worked out by manually measuring blood sugar levels, several times a day. Incorrect dosage can lead to either too little or too much blood sugar in the body, both of which can be life threatening.
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ManageBGL’s PredictBGL app, which launched in April, takes data from fitness wearables, digital insulin pens, insulin pumps, blood sugar meters and continuous glucose monitors to predict the blood sugar levels of users. For those with diabetes, and the parents of children with diabetes, this helps predict, and in turn, avoid low blood sugar levels overnight.
“Current technology is inject and hope for the best,” Carter says.
“The patient has no guidance, and typically only the doctor changes the doses, and only once every six months at that”
It’s been a tough slog for Carter, who has a technical, not health, background. Recently he experienced one of his worst startup days, followed by his best. He’s been bootstrapping ManageBGL for the last two years and recently competed in the MedTech’s Got Talent pitching competition in Melbourne. Five finalists each received $20,000 with a $40,000 grand prize for the winner.
Of roughly 100 applicants, 30 were invited to pitch in a rapid fire round. Carter and ManageBGL were among the 16 best who went on to pitch to become a finalist and get a shot at $10,000. Unfortunately they didn’t make it. Carter returned home saddened he’d missed a chance to get the startup’s first external funding, outside of a matched $50,000 government grant he received.
The next morning he woke up to an email from 500 Startups saying his application to its new accelerator prep program had been accepted.
“We’re really rapt to get in, it’s really a positive for us, and we’re hoping significant traction will come out of it,” Carter says.
The program, a partnership with General Assembly, runs for a month in San Francisco and aims to fast track those startups for the full 500 Startups accelerator program. It was looking for between 10 and 20 startups to take part.
Startups taking part receive $8000 in funding and a $2000 tuition waiver from 500 Startups in exchange for 2% equity.
“They’ll help get us structured for investor readiness, which is a key part of dealing in the US. Part of the course is UX design, which is really helpful, and growth hacking – how to acquire more customers so we’re ready for the (500 Startups accelerator).
“We’ll get listed first on the pile to be considered for the subsequent class.”