$42K/Month – Disrupting Traditional Medical Casts and Splints with 3D-Printing – Diana Hall of ActivArmor
INTERVIEW VIDEO (Length – 57:27)
Sponsors & Partners
Diana Hall, the founder of ActivArmor, shares the story of disrupting the traditional medical casts and splints with custom 3-D printed plastic alternatives that offer better fit, waterproof protection, and better lifestyle fit for individual patients. Diana shares the unique value proposition of the product, business model and large market size, overcoming challenges in driving adoption, and changing medical provider and patient behavior in how they use casts and splints.
Diana Hall is the founder of ActivArmor, a company that provides customizable, washable, and breathable alternative casts and splints for immobilization. Their products are made of waterproof plastic and are designed to fit each patient’s unique needs and lifestyle. Unlike traditional casts, patients can use ActivArmor products immediately without waiting for swelling to go down. The company’s goal is to make medical devices more affordable and accessible to those in need. They have expanded their business to 11 other countries and are focused on scaling through partnerships and strategic planning. They have a strong sales and marketing strategy, including advertising in trade journals and participating in medical conferences. Their open-source software allows for customization, and they work closely with doctors and businesses to ensure patient safety. The company is also exploring new product lines in sports medicine, protective gear, and veterinary care. In terms of entrepreneurship, Hall emphasizes the importance of strategic thinking, adaptability, and staying focused on the best course of action for the business.
- 00:00:00 In this section of the transcript, Sushant interviews Diana Hall, the founder of ActivArmor. Diana started her business as a chemical engineer working in a mentoring program for children in poverty who often had casts and splints that were difficult to care for due to their living conditions. The company’s mission is to provide a sanitizable, washable, breathable, and customizable alternative for immobilization. ActivArmor casts and splints are made of waterproof plastic and are custom-fitted and designed for each patient’s unique needs and lifestyle. Patients can use the casts and splints as soon as they receive them, without having to wait for swelling to go down like traditional casts. Di explains how a patient would use ActivArmor products, starting with getting a temp splint or trauma splint in the emergency room or urgent care and then going home with an Ace bandage or similar wrap on the splint. ActivArmor products offer a more comfortable and convenient alternative for immobilization that allows for easier care and hygiene.
- 00:05:00 In this section of the YouTube video, the speaker discusses a process for using ActivArmor casts to treat injuries. When a patient has an injury that needs immobilizing, they will typically be put in a traditional cast. However, if a lot of swelling is involved initially, it could displace or require a recasting. Once the initial edema phase has passed, trauma splints can be used. These splints are not always very practical in emergency situations, as they are not waterproof and can be uncomfortable to wear. The speaker discusses trauma splints that are heat mouldable and custom fit to the patient’s body, which can improve patient compliance and reduce the risk of displacement or re-injury. Additionally, the splints are reusable, which saves on medical waste and time.
- 00:10:00 In this section, Diana Hall talks about the future of 3D printing and how it will become more mainstream in doctor’s offices. The company they work for has evolved from being solely focused on manufacturing to being more focused on software design. They have made the intellectual property of their scanning and fitting process standardized and their design software works for any existing printers. They also plan to sell their design services to any provider, regardless of their location, through registered third-party manufacturers with the FDA. The company’s motivation is to make medical devices affordable to people in need of them. They have already expanded their business, including working in 11 other countries and have a philanthropic aim to help people in need of medical devices. They are careful with medical devices because there are quality standards protocols that must be followed to ensure patient safety. In terms of their business model, they started out as a founder, but on-going expansion has involved partnerships and additional employees.
- 00:15:00 In this section of the transcript, the founder of a company discusses their personal investment in the business, as well as their goal of scaling the company and taking on institutional investment from collaborators. The founder, Diana Hall, invested all of their personal savings, including 41K, into the company. Additionally, they have raised funds through angel investors, crowdfunding, and individual investors, most of whom are physicians that believe in the product and want to help make it successful. Hall’s primary motivation for starting the company is to improve the quality of life for people and to make a difference, and she hopes to grow the company to help even more people every day. She believes that the market for the company’s technology product is significant, and that the risk of investing all of her savings into the business is worth it for the potential rewards.
- 00:20:00 in this section, Diana Hall discusses the important role of her Advisory Board in her medical device startup, specifically in the Orthopedics and Sports Medicine space. She explains how their expertise and input are critical to the success of the company and that she cannot do it alone. She also discusses the evolution of the company from fabricating devices in-house to outsourcing manufacturing and eventually putting devices in the hands of clinics for point-of-care use. She acknowledges that the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the company’s plans and they had to pivot and adapt to the new environment. She mentions the development of an iPhone app and the adherence to quality control and accuracy standards as some of the key developments that have helped the company grow and scale.
- 00:25:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the competitive advantage of their custom splinting products, explaining that while obstacles may arise, they can be turned into opportunities to overcome them and stay ahead of competitors. The products are made of plastic, which is easily recyclable and sustainable. The speaker also touches on the importance of sustainability in the product design. The speaker then talks about competition in the splinting market, stating that they are the front-runners in the field, focusing on customization and easy adaptation. They mention that they have offloading walking boots for patients and can add biome monitors to their products. The speaker believes that while there are some competitors in the space, they have not received the same level of success as their company has in terms of customer validation and commercial availability of their delivery system. Finally, the speaker touches on their sales cycle and the market for their products, stating that they are focused on becoming the standard of care for fracture care and improving the quality of care for patients in a 20-plus billion-dollar market. They believe that their products have a wide variety of applications and can benefit millions of people every year, including those with diabetes or carpal tunnel syndrome.
- 00:30:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the different methods of presenting and promoting a product in the medical industry. They mention that their company uses a combination of advertising in trade journals, participating in big medical conferences, using LinkedIn to market their product, and working with distributors and sales teams. They also mention their focus on strategic partnerships, such as partnering with groups purchasing organizations (GPOs) or other companies to expand their reach and distribution network, as well as entering the market through a targeted approach to identify their target audience and first adopters. Overall, it seems that the speaker has a strong sales and marketing strategy in place and is focusing on building partnerships and expanding their reach to bring their product to health care providers and patients.
- 00:35:00 In this section, it is mentioned that the focus of their business is scaling through partnerships, sales, and strategic planning. They have established an R&D process for their original product, and now they are looking to scale by focusing on sales and strategic partnerships. The product they sell is primarily to doctors and businesses, and they do not directly sell to consumers. They have an open-source system but prefer patients to receive proper treatment through providers, to ensure their safety and wellbeing. They do target the Canadian market, but the government is the primary customer, with doctors bringing the new products into the market. Their printer, which costs around $7,000, is a recommended system, but customers can use any printer or material they prefer, and they only manufacture their material in ABS for quality and sanitization reasons. They also mentioned that their international partners can source their materials and do unique things with their product.
- 00:40:00 In this section, Diana Hall discusses her company’s open-source software, their team structure, and their future plans. They have three full-time employees in the administrative level and work with a team of W2 sales folks, 1099 contractors, advisors, and an advisory board to manage the system and make sure it works smoothly. Their focus is on the orthopedics and podiatry market, specifically fracture care, splinting, wound care, and immobilization for chronic conditions. However, they are also looking into adding new product lines in sports medicine, protective gear, and veterinary care. They acknowledge the importance of pivoting, when necessary, but caution against the shotgun approach, as it can lead to spreading one’s resources too thin. They emphasize the importance of customer research and direct interaction to understand customer needs and provide what they want.
- 00:45:00 In this section of the video, Diana Hall discusses the importance of strategic thinking and focus in entrepreneurship. She acknowledges that it can be difficult to make staffing changes, such as downsizing or moving on to other things, but encourages listeners to take a step back and think about the best course of action for their business. Diana Hall also mentions the importance of adaptability and being open to pivoting or making changes as the business evolves. In a rapid-fire segment, Diana Hall provides book recommendations for entrepreneurs, including “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel and “The One Thing” by Gary Keller. She also talks about her favorite productivity tool, the retail app, which helps her get through books quickly when she doesn’t have much time to focus. Finally, Diana Hall acknowledges the importance of staying productive as an entrepreneur and provides tips for incorporating productivity tools and strategies into daily life.
- 00:50:00 In this section of the transcript, the speaker is discussing the current state of the healthcare industry and how technology is being used to collect patient data and improve care. The NVO Air app is mentioned as an example of a tool that allows for continuous data collection and feedback on a patient’s respiratory health at home, rather than relying on hospital visits. The speaker also talks about the importance of patient feedback in driving innovation and improving patient care.
- 00:55:00 In this section, Diana Hall speaks about her experience working with doctors who are innovative, forward-thinking and care about their patients’ quality of life. She highlights the importance of working with such doctors and how they inspire her every day. She also discusses her best business advice for entrepreneurs, which is to make all deals contingent on outcomes and pay for results. This ensures that the startup is maintained through all ups and downs and stays alive even when market changes. Diana encourages entrepreneurs to check out her website, ActivArmor, and her products. She is available to any physician anywhere and is already on board with several doctors, who are listed on her website.
People & Resources Mentioned in the Episode
- Artificial Intelligence
Book: Zero to One by Peter Thiel and The One Thing by Gary Keller
What You’ll Learn
Interview with Diana Hall of ActivArmor
|[00:00:08] Introduction to Treptalks and Guest Diana Hall|
|[00:00:51] Diana’s Product – 3D Printed Casts and Splints|
|[00:01:29] The Problem with Traditional Casts|
|[00:03:00] Customization and Patient Needs|
|[00:04:25] The Process of Using ActivArmor|
|[00:07:32] Cost and Insurance Considerations|
|[00:09:34] The Eureka Moment and Future of 3D Printing|
|[00:12:45] Philanthropic Aims and Expanding Accessibility|
|[00:13:13] Expanding Internationally and Open Source Considerations|
|[00:15:12] Personal Investment and Raising Funds|
|[00:17:44] Investor Support and Crowdfunding|
|[00:20:00] Motivation and Belief in the Product|
|[00:21:27] Business Model and Evolution|
|[00:23:00] Scaling and Adapting to Market Changes|
|[00:24:49] Competitive Advantage and Overcoming Hurdles|
|[00:25:45] Disposing of Used Products and Sustainability Efforts|
|[00:26:15] Sustainability and Material Recyclability|
|[00:27:00] Competitors in the Custom Splinting Space|
|[00:29:00] Sales Strategies and Target Markets|
|[00:30:00] Selling to Healthcare Providers|
|[00:31:00] Sales and Strategic Planning|
|[00:32:00] Focus on B2B and Strategic Partnerships|
|[00:33:00] Overcoming Resistance to Change|
|[00:34:00] CEO’s Main Focus: Sales and Partnerships|
|[00:40:14] Introduction to Team Structure|
|[00:41:00] The Future of the Business|
|[00:41:38] Mistakes and Lessons Learned|
|[00:43:28] Importance of Strategic Focus|
|[00:45:00] Staffing Changes and Business Evolution|
|[00:47:43] Book Recommendations|
|[00:48:10] Exciting Innovation: AI|
|[00:48:49] Recommended Productivity Tool|
|[00:50:19] Startup or Business Doing Great Things|
|[00:51:56] Gathering Feedback from Providers and Patients|
|[00:53:00] Marketing Strategy for ActivArmor|
|[00:54:05] Inspirational Figures: Caring Physicians|
|[00:55:32] Key Business Advice: Contingent Deals|
|[00:56:41] Website and social media|
|[00:57:25] Conclusion and Closing Remarks|
In this segment, the guest will answer a few questions quickly in one or two sentences.
Diana Hall of ActivArmor
- Book recommendation that you would make to entrepreneurs or business professionals (Response: Zero to One by Peter Thiel, The One Thing by Gary Keller)
- An innovative product or idea in the current e-commerce retail or tech landscape that you feel excited about (Response: Artificial Intelligence)
- A business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend/Productivity Tip. (Response: RetailApp)
- A startup or business (in ecommerce, retail, or tech) that you think is currently doing great things. (Response: NUVOair)
- A peer entrepreneur or businessperson whom you look up to or someone who inspires you (Response: Dr. Kevin Kaplan and other physicians that are helping the patients, that care about their healing outcomes)
- One networking tip or building and sustaining valuable professional relationships.
- Best business advice you ever received (Response: Structure deals and expenses in your startup with a focus on contingency and variable costs to be better prepared for market changes and avoid over-reliance on external investments for sustainability.)
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Hey there entrepreneurs. My name is Sushant and welcome to Treptalks. This is the show where I interview successful e commerce entrepreneurs, business executives, and thought leaders, and ask them questions about their business story, and also dive deep into some of the strategies and tactics that they have used to start and grow their businesses.
And today I’m really excited to welcome Diana Hall to the show. Diana is the founder of ActivArmor. ActivArmor makes 3D printed casts and splints out of waterproof plastic that is custom designed for each patient’s unique healing needs and lifestyle. And today I’m going to ask Diana a few questions about her entrepreneurial journey and some of the strategy and tactics that she has used to start and grow her business.
So thank you so much for joining me today at TrepTalks, Diana. I really, really appreciate your time. Thank you for having me. So maybe first of all, maybe I should [00:01:00] not, do you, do you call yourself your, your, um, endeavor of business? Because I think I read that this is actually a nonprofit, right?
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: No, it’s a business.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: okay. Okay, and I know you were wearing one of these cuffs in your hand So maybe maybe that’s where we need to start. Um, can you share a little bit about your product and and How and and what is the value property? How are they helping people?
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: Absolutely. So, uh, I started, I’m a chemical engineer and I started this company because I was working in a mentoring program for children in poverty and they would often have casts and splints that were required because they’d have domestic violence or substandard living conditions, or they just have a broken arm just from being a kid.
Uh, regardless, when they would go to the doctor, they would get a fiberglass cast on, which is the standard of care right now. And. The doctor would tell them, don’t get this wet or dirty for eight weeks. [00:02:00] That is unreasonable when you can’t even practice basic hygiene, like washing your hands. People should be able to shower and practice basic, uh, sanitizing, like sanitize their hands, especially during a pandemic, but even without a pandemic to not be able to wash your hands, even to have a snack for eight weeks.
is not okay. And so the point of the company is to provide a sanitizable, washable, breathable, waterproof alternative for immobilization, both for fracture care as well as for chronic conditions like carpal tunnel. And every single cast has to be custom. It has to be custom fitted uniquely to that patient’s body map, which there is no one size fits all.
There isn’t small, medium and large. Everybody has unique native anatomy. that must be fitted to the millimeter in order for it to fit perfectly and immobilize well. Um, so it has to be custom fitted and then it also has to be custom designed. If you have a fracture and you’re playing [00:03:00] football and you have impact and you need real strong protection, you can have that.
If you have carpal tunnel and you’re elderly and you’re knitting, you’re going to need something thin, lightweight, breathable, and removable for that. Uh, if you need a bone stimulator, muscle stim, TENS units, bio monitors, whatever advanced healing technologies that you need to use, it needs to be custom.
If you have an incision that you need offset, uh, if you need it to go high or low. on your hand or wrist or all the way up your fingers or on, you know, your full arm with an elbow, whatever, or your foot, whatever you need, it must be custom for that patient’s unique body map and for their injury and condition and for their lifestyle.
So that’s what, how we do
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: it. Okay. And in terms of, you know, how a patient would come to use this. So let’s say somebody fell, you know, while playing soccer or something. And, you know, they hurt their hand. Um, [00:04:00] of course, you know, for it to be custom created, I’m, I’m, you know, I’m assuming that there is some sort of a.
You know, time lag in between so that the kid would go to the hostel, get the more, you know, the traditional cost and then, you know, their health care provider would kind of educate them. You know that we have this other thing. And so can you explain a little bit? You know, how would someone actually use it?
Um, when, when, you know, when, when they’re hurt and there is a certain custom component to it also.
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: So what happens now when you get a fracture is you’re going to go to the emergency room or the urgent care and you’re going to get a temp splint or a trauma splint. It’s kind of like a half cast and it’s usually wrapped with.
Uh, some sort of, um, wrap and then you are, you go home, and you wait for the swelling to go down because that initial phase, you’re normally going to have a lot of edemas. So, uh, you’re going to have an ACE bandage or something on a temp splint. And then you’re normally going to have in a couple of [00:05:00] days to a week or so when that swelling goes down, you’re going to go to the orthopedic surgeon and, uh, they’re going to put you in a more traditional cast.
Cause if you put them in a cast immediately when they’re swelling, it’s going to get too loose and then it will, it could displace, or they’ll have to recast it in a week anyway. So that’s kind of the normal procedure with ActivArmor when you would get that traditional cast, uh, once the initial edema phase has gone down, we have trauma splints that you can use.
So one of the problems with trauma splints in the emergency room and urgent cares is that. Uh, patient compliance is an issue because you have swelling, it goes down and the wrap gets loose, and the wrap isn’t waterproof and it’s not sanitizable and sterilizable. People are taking it off or it’s getting too loose, and their fracture is displacing or whatever, um, and the reason it smells bad, and it gets soggy and all of those things.
So we have also made trauma splints that are inventory product that can be used in emergent care and in emergency rooms that are heat moldable. Uh, and then you just ratchet these straps down. So it makes them custom fitted, [00:06:00] uh, as well as providing you the hygiene, but also allowing you to improve patient compliance by locking them into it while still being adjustable for swelling.
So we do have trauma splints during that first, uh, edema phase as well, but then once you are ready to get your more, uh, long term cast on. you can do a scan with our free iPhone app. Uh, and so this app allows you to scan any body part, uh, with your iPhone. And then you can draw with a washable marker directly on the patient where you want the cut lines to be.
So, if they need fingers immobilized or a thumb or toes, or, you know, if they want an offset or incision or whatever, you scan the patient. And then the custom device, you can either print it on site right there. This is a two-and-a-half-hour print. So, it comes out pretty quick. Uh, and the clinics and hospitals that you go to, you can find a list on our website.
Some of them have printers right there on site where they’re manufacturing. St. Luke’s Hospital in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, uh, and, uh, Mayo Clinic [00:07:00] and Rochester Sports Medicine Clinic also has one. So, if you go to, uh, some of our providers that have the onsite printing, you can get them very fast. Uh, if some of the clinics don’t want to have a printer on site, or they don’t, and so they’ll order from us and then we will deliver the device in four business days or less fully finished product Directly to the patient.
So, they’re going to be in that trauma splint for another couple of hours to a couple of days Uh depending on the clinic that they go to and how their provider offers ActivArmor
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: I mean, I can tell you this definitely looks It’s much cooler, you know, something out of like a sci fi movie and, you know, it’s breathable.
That’s a, that’s a great thing. You know, of course, uh, seems like in, in terms of fit, there’s a better, um, a better fit there as well. Um, so how come, um, is it really about you’re trying to educate the medical facilities, you know, to use this thing or, um, or is there like a cost [00:08:00] component that’s kind of a barrier for its kind of widespread adoption?
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: Yeah, I wouldn’t say there’s a barrier. It is a little bit different because this is durable medical equipment So you’re billing a code a splinting code instead of a procedure for applying a cast So with doctors and hospitals, they have much better margins on this Because this reimburses so much better to have custom splints, uh, and it improves their clinical flow process, right?
Because they’re just doing a scan instead of wrapping with, uh, some material, wetting it, putting it on you and waiting 20 minutes so it dries. And then you saw it off and reapply it at every exam and x ray. So it’s safe and these are recyclable too. So it saves on medical waste. It saves on time and labor in the clinics and it improves their billing margins.
For the patient, um, They’re paying it’s covered by their insurance. So, uh, and In some cases, though, like for me, I have a high deductible plan, so I’m [00:09:00] going to be paying cash out of pocket, so it’s a little bit different because I’ll be paying a little bit more up front for this cast, but I won’t be paying at every exam and x ray for a new casting procedure.
So I end up saving money over the course of my healing, uh, even though it’s a little bit more for the DME up front, even if it’s cash pay, right? But ideally, you know, you, it’s through Medicaid or Medicare or private insurance and DME is covered for a custom splint and you’re good to go either way. Um,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: what was the, the Eureka moment for you?
I mean, you, so you, you said you’re, you were a chemical engineer. Um, And of course, you know, now 3D printing is becoming more and more prevalent in the industry. Um, is there, was there something around the design component as well? Can you share a little bit about, you know, what things had to come together in order for this kind of a prosthetic device?
[00:10:00] To to actually exist. And, um, and what does the future hold? I mean, I’m assuming as 3D printing and, you know, technology becomes more and more kind of mainstream. You know, this this this kind of thing will become more more available to
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: people. Yes, and I would say that we’ve evolved as a company, uh, less on the manufacturing side and more on the software design side.
So our intellectual property is on how do you make sure that the cast and the, uh, the scan process and the fitting process and the design process is It’s standardized enough to allow any provider anywhere to do it without meeting engineers on site and without, you know, having to know a lot about 3d printing, but how can we make it scalable in doctor’s offices and right now, even in a two and a half hour, that’s still too long, right?
It would be really nice to have like star trek where, you know, you, you press, it looks like a [00:11:00] microwave and it pops out and you know, 10 seconds. That’s that’s the way it will happen as 3D printing evolves. So we as a company, our manufacturing processes. Is agnostic of whatever printing processing, uh, so whatever existing printers you have, you can use those.
And as the technology changes and 3d printers get better and faster and easier, you can, our design services will work for any printing technology. So that’s what makes us, uh, very, um, industry. standardized, right? Because any scanning process, any printing process that you want to use is fine. Our design software will work for all of them.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Okay, so basically what you’re selling is not these devices themselves, but you’re selling the software.
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: Yeah, we will sell the devices themselves through our third party manufacturers. So as long as As long as you get the design file, you can order them from a 3D [00:12:00] printing partner that’s registered with the FDA to make medical devices, uh, or you can fabricate them on site.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Okay. And, um… I had recently actually spoken, interviewed another entrepreneur who was working with 3D printers, and I think their motivation was to make the designs, I believe, um, the designs were open source, and I believe their business model or their model of adding value was, um, to print, you know, I think they were printing like limbs, artificial limbs, uh, and, and sending it to like third world countries or, you know, people where cannot afford those limbs.
Um, so your IP is your software. Do you like, is there, do you have any, um, philanthropic, um, aims with your company where, you know, you [00:13:00] can make this, you know, your design or a certain, you know, light version of your design or something, uh, to other countries, you know, where, where they don’t have these kinds of capabilities or, um,
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: So we already are in, uh, 11 other countries, uh, and in those countries, they are able to source their own labor, their own materials, their own 3D printing technologies, whatever.
We provide the lowest cost design services to them, uh, and that way they can fabricate on site for pennies on the dollar and make them affordable. Uh, to their patient population there. So, uh, that is the way that we are able to help the design services themselves. You have to be very careful with medical devices because there is a quality standards protocol that you want to make sure that patients or people are compliant with when they’re manufacturing these.
So, um, it’s The more open [00:14:00] source you get, um, the more liability comes into play because anytime anybody is Uh, doing their own design and their own manufacturing, you want to be very careful that they’re doing it in a proper way, uh, for treatment for the patient. So, here in the U. S., we are listed with the FDA, we, all of our manufacturers are registered, and we have quality control standards that we make sure that we take care of.
Um, internationally, the designs have been tested and proven. For quality treatment of patients and we want to make sure that that quality system is in place While still making it as affordable as possible.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um in terms of your business model, um Well before I go into business model, um, you started out I believe a few years ago with this business Um when you started out, are you the only [00:15:00] founder and did you have to make?
Some personal investment to get this business started. And if yes, was it, was that your own personal money or did you have to, uh, uh, raise funds?
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: Yes, both. Um, so I am the only founder and, uh, that is by choice over time. Uh, and it’s funny because as you start. You know, 2014 was a long time ago and we’ve hit a lot of things like the pandemic and, you know, economic downturns and things like that.
So it’s been a very, um, we’ve had to pivot quite a bit and adapt and adopt. Um, I did invest my entire life savings into this company. So all of my 401k, everything, every penny, um, is invested into this company. Plus I have, uh, investors that are. Angel investors and individuals. We have done a crowdfunding race.
So, um, but also we have individual angel investors. Most of them are [00:16:00] physicians. So they believe in the product and the company, uh, and really wanted, uh, really wanted to have skin in the game in making it successful. Um, and so the company has been run on individuals like myself that believe in it and want a better alternative that.
Said we will probably take institutional investment or strategic partnership here shortly because that’s the goal of scaling. The company right is to work with a big company that can help us scale faster and that we can collaborate with to improve the healing outcomes on our product by integrating a bone stimulator.
For example, muscle stem, bio unit, Uh, bio monitors, uh, tens units for pain management to reduce opioid use, uh, uh, for wound care products, uh, and nerve stimulators, et cetera, for patients with diabetes, for example. So yeah, there [00:17:00] definitely will be strategic partnership going forward and further investment as we grow.
Uh, we do have a. Seed round open right now for accredited investors. So people can purchase common stock in our company right now that won’t be around for long. So, uh, we’re kind of at the end stages of that. So, uh, but yeah, that opportunity isn’t available and that’s how we’ve grown. That’s how we’ve gotten this far, uh, financially.
So we’ve done over 2 million in investment right now, including grants and awards, which are great. Right. Because you don’t dilute for those. And. Uh, that really means that the market is buying into, you know, not only the market, but, uh, the economic development corporations, et cetera, are buying into the, the.
Opportunity of this technology taking moving forward and becoming the standard of care. Yeah, I mean, to me, it
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: seems like the the market for this. I mean, there’s a significant or substantial market for this. It’s not like a [00:18:00] one time market. It’s like people are going to hurt themselves every year. And so, you know, there’s like an ongoing use for this.
Um, in terms of risk, you know, the entrepreneur always takes the risk. Um, and When you started out, if you invested all of your money into this, um, what was the thought process in your mind? Had you, had, had you done some sort of a validation before kind of putting all your money in or you were like, because I believe so strongly in this and you know, the potential of this technology?
That you did not hesitate at all, because I mean, if you’re, uh, you know, investing all of your saving, that is, that is a pretty big
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: savings is one thing, but eight years of your life is another, you know, and, and especially when, you know, you give up a six figure income to, uh, live under the poverty line voluntarily for years while you start a business, it’s, it’s a big investment.
And I would say that I wouldn’t have done it if it was [00:19:00] surely on. Right. For financial reasons, but it’s also a mission. Uh, I believe that it improves the quality of life for people. And, uh, my definition of success of the company is that it can grow in scale and we can help more people. Uh, but in general, every single day I’m successful because I get to help people, you know, even if it’s a handful of people a day.
That makes it worthwhile. And so that’s what gets you up and, you know, every single morning and still working hard, uh, and taking that risk, not only that risk, but that sacrifice, right, uh, making that sacrifice. And it is, it absolutely is. And it’s totally worth it. And, and what I know that it will be successful.
I feel that I can. Tell by when I when I introduce it to investors and when I introduce it to market experts, um, you want them to validate what you have. And I have [00:20:00] a team of, uh, of advisors that are in medical space. So medical devices, orthopedics, sports medicine, intellectual property, uh, Contracting all of those things and all of them provide me continuous feedback and input, which is why I can be the only founder and still get where I am as a chemical engineer.
I obviously don’t know everything about health care about insurance reimbursements about, um, you know, the regulatory environment about running a startup. So I need that expertise, especially with the, in the medical space, you know, I need that. Advice and input and expertise every single day, you can’t do it by yourself.
So my advisory board is amazing. Some of them are investors in the company and the others just give sweat equity to help with their expertise. And, and every that’s, that’s what’s making this whole company work and be viable is [00:21:00] that I have that if I didn’t have that, there’s no way we’d be where we were.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: What kind of, uh, I’m, I’m so curious because, you know, a product like this, which is a very new, you know, it’s medical, uh, industry. What kind of, you know, when you were just starting out, what kind of research, what kind of business plan did you kind of envision? Like, did you already have, um, a business model in mind?
You know, did you start out with, you know, I’m going to sell, sell these, uh, costs themselves versus selling the software? Like, how do you taught everything through or like, did some of that come, you know, as you work through the process?
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: It’s funny. It started out, uh, when I was running that mentoring program for children in poverty, I started making some out of ABS plastic.
So the Lego is plastic that was sanitized and all that. I started making it for the kids who needed it. And then their doctors would ask [00:22:00] me, can you make some more of these? That’s how it started. And then for me to say, I don’t know if I can, and then to go find out and go to the FDA and say, what do I need to do?
Like to work directly with, uh, the, uh, research, uh, lead for the FDA on a wearable medical devices, which is Dr. Lex Schalfeis at the University of Maryland, Robert Fischel Medical Device Institute. Uh, so to work directly with them. Published research abstracts in collaboration with them to make sure that that this product that’s a new product is brought to market correctly and to work directly with the orthopedic surgeons to, uh, establish the correct design so that it will work for the healing outcomes and then to do, uh, field tests, uh, and to make sure that the designs iterated and changed over time to make sure it’s better and better and to constantly be adding new data, uh, new input from physicians and new treatment plans and new technologies and everything like that every [00:23:00] single day.
So we did start out fabricating these in house, uh, to make sure that the quality control standards were accurate and that everything was working. Then we slowly evolved into becoming a software company. And outsourcing the manufacturing and then ideally, which is where we’re at now, putting it in the clinic’s hands where they’re able to fabricate on site.
In a reasonable amount of time with at less cost, right, because they’re going to have it right there for the patient, uh, cheaper and faster, which is the goal of some, especially for fracture care, right, where you need something immediately. So, yeah, it’s definitely evolved. Um, I knew it was going to go to the point of care.
I just wasn’t sure. I didn’t think it was going to take this long, but in medical devices, uh, it’s just, and with COVID happening and all that, it was a weird time for us where we had to scramble and bootstrap it [00:24:00] quite a few times, and now we’re at the point. Where we can scale and it’s a really great place to be, uh, because I didn’t know when we would hit or how and every single time new information would come at us or the environment would change, we would pivot and and not really pivot away from what we were doing, but we would, uh, track with how we had like when COVID hit, uh, that’s when we brought out our new iPhone app because before we had 10, 000 scanners that had to be placed in a hospital to get accurate scans or whatever, and we started working on our, our iPhone app so that anyone anywhere could in their pocket have a scanner that would work accurately and, and what is the, you know, the process to get a good scan and make sure that it works, you know, every single time for quality control, etc.
So all of that stuff developed was developed through Thank you. Uh, the school of hard knocks and through uh, learning and changing and growing the company And [00:25:00] that’s part of what keeps us our competitive advantage every time something hits us like oh my gosh This is a barrier. This is a barrier, whatever.
It’s also a barrier to competitors, but it’s also a way for us to Overcome these hurdles and to stay ahead of the game and make sure that we are the first to market with this innovative technology.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: I definitely want to ask about competition. Um, but before that, I’m, I’m very curious. So you mentioned this, these items are built, you know, plastic, you know, I think you said ABS plastic.
I don’t know what exactly that means, but you know, once somebody is healed, of course, I’m assuming, you know, the, the, these are disassembled and then, you know, It’s just plastic.
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: Um, you just pop it in a recycle bin with your plastics.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Okay. And then what happens after that? So it’s, it’s, uh, um, is it kind of contributing to the, to the, [00:26:00] um, to the, um, to, to, to adding more plastic to the world or, you know, are you looking into like some more sustainable materials that can, you know, that can be, uh, used for, for this kind of product as well?
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: It’s the same thing that makes all of our water bottle caps and everything else. So it’s very easily recyclable, just pop it in your plastics bin. Uh, it will get made into other products. It’s sustainable that you can get a traditional cast. They have to saw them off for every exam and x ray and throw them in medical waste bin.
All of that’s eliminated. These are reusable, adjustable, um, and recyclable. So yeah, sustainability is definitely, uh. a key aspect of the product.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Okay. Um, yeah. So I want to go back to the competition. Um, are there, are there other, uh, companies that are kind of coming up with similar kind of products? [00:27:00]
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: So there are some internationally that are dabbling in this custom splinting space that’s 3D printed.
Um, here in the U. S., we’re definitely the forerunner, and again, we’re in 11 countries. We focus on fracture care, uh, so casting, which is different. You want to be able to make sure that you can make it… Protective for a fracture, not just been lightweight, breathable and, you know, spider webby, which may be what a patient would want, but not what a doctor is going to prescribe for fracture care.
So our designs are based on eight years and thousands of patients with hundreds of referring providers here in the U. S. So we are definitely. The front runners in this space. We also have offloading walking boots for charcoal foot diabetic foot, which is, you know, a very big market. That’s that is right for penetration [00:28:00] and for, um, for changing how we do total contact passes and then the ability to add, you know, tens units by one.
There’s things like that. So the customization. Is so key. And so there are some competitors, but none of them with traction in the U. S. Um, none of them with a commercially available delivery system where you can fabricate on site and use a, uh, an easy interface for providers to be able to do the custom design themselves.
Um, there are some that are small, medium and larger. They’re just scaled down or up to your arm, but they’re standardized designs. We don’t believe that that’s. Uh the future we think it needs to be Protective it needs to be we asked our customers specifically what they want We made it for them and our customers are the doctors the prescribing doctors, right?
so I think that’s where some of the potential competitors have lost out is They were thinking about what the [00:29:00] technology can do, not about the user, and, and what they want, and what they want to see, and how they want to use it, and how it could be adaptable. So, um, I think there are some, they’re trying to get into the space, uh, in.
Kind of higher end sports medicine and things like that, but we are focused on becoming the standard of care for fracture care and you are right. We’re talking about, you know, 20 plus billion dollar industry every year. The average person has two breaks in their lifetime. Uh, and so that’s a lot of people and then, you know, there’s millions of carpal tunnel patients and, uh, diabetics needing offloading, walking boots and everything every single year.
So. It’s a big market, and we, with our strategic partnerships, uh, with bone stimulators and things like that, we want to improve the quality of care for patients and just change the way doctors have done the same fracture care for hundreds of years.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Hmm. In terms of, [00:30:00] uh, the sales cycle, are you, uh, do you have to have your own team?
to go out and do kind of like these presentations directly with the providers or are there some sort of, uh, uh, in the medical industry? I’m not sure. Are there like middlemen or distributors that you work with that can, that have already access to large number of clinicians who can make that, um, introduction or make that presentation for you and get that adoption?
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: So we publish research studies in the trade journals and we, uh, we advertise at. The main, um, the main medical conferences. So like American association, orthopedic surgeons, annual conference, national athletic trainers, associate things like that. So those big conferences, we have a presence there and we showed the product.
That’s kind of how they find their new product lines. We also market. [00:31:00] Very much on LinkedIn. Um, just letting people know that it’s available. We do use 10 99 contracted sales reps as well as we do have an internal, uh, sales team W two as well. So we and then the goal is strategic partnership. But we also have a GPO, uh, which is, uh, Medical it’s a group that’s a group purchasing organization for medical devices.
So you can go into big GPOs like that, and then they help get it to their providers, their members, right? So their clinics and hospital. Um, and then again, uh, we also are looking for a strategic partnership with other companies that have, may do, uh, bone stimulators, or, you know, maybe in the splinting space, trauma care, whatever, and they can, uh, then.
We can partner with them for distribution so that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel by growing our own sales [00:32:00] force one offs like, oh, here’s here. Now we’re in this state. Now we’re in this state, which is what we’ve been doing. Right? But I’m the 1099 folks. They’re in in orthopedics and in and in wound care, and they can take this and add this as another product in their portfolio and take them into their connections and their providers and introduce it.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Is it always an easy sell or do you kind of sometimes get any kind of pushback from health care providers or some sort of a feedback saying, you know, this maybe this should be like, you know, different or something like that? Is it a straightforward self?
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: Yeah, it it they all get it the second you walk in the door I mean, it’s easy to understand it’s easy to see it’s easy to say like all this is a benefit to the patients This is better.
Obviously There’s um, well, it’s a little bit of different billing because you’re billing for durable medical equipment instead of a procedure so that takes a little bit and then it’s the um, [00:33:00] Keep in mind that they’ve been doing it the same way for hundreds of years like you’re gonna get some material out of your drawer and Wet it and wrap it on them and they’re going to walk out the door and they’re going to saw it off and reapply, right?
That’s that’s how they’ve always done it. So there’s also a lot of a culture change and saying like Who is our target market to entry point? We want the innovators the doctors who are like, yeah I mean i’m open to trying a new technology. I I can use a smartphone and and do a scan and you know start a 3d printer and and then i’m Open to and my staff is open to introducing a new technology because it’s better for our patients and you have to really find those folks.
So there are over 400 hospitals and clinics here in the U. S. That already have 3D printing labs on site. Um, that are already doing 3D printing in medical modeling. And so it’s an easy product to integrate with your current system. Just say, Hey, now do you want to provide the latest in orthopedic care [00:34:00] as well with a billable product?
Yeah. With your existing equipment, right? So those are our target market entry points. And the doctors who are already using advanced healing technologies like bones and muscle stem, those kind of doctors, those are the ones who are adopting it. Those hospital systems and those physicians are the ones who are going to be the first to market in this space.
And then eventually, It will propagate down into it becoming a standard of care, but it does definitely take strategic targeting for that market entry point.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Definitely. Um, so as, as the CEO, I’m assuming you’re, you’re the CEO of the company. What? So it seems like you have a good product market fit. You have, you have your, your teams, you have, you have your sales, uh, machine set up.
I think, you know, you’re building strategic partnerships and so forth. Where do you kind of spend most of your time right [00:35:00] now? Um, what is your kind of main focus? Is it really about building the partnerships? Because that’s kind of the, the, the biggest way you can scale your business.
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: Yes. Uh, definitely sales and on strategic planning, strategic partnership.
Definitely. Um, it’s the R and D process is. Very much established, and it’s just in the end phases of that. So it takes less of my time now because the design automation has happened. The software, the user interface, we’re doing some more tweaks to to make sure that that’s scalable and easy for everyone to use.
But in general, um, we’ve got the product that works and the system that works. And so now we’re really looking at scaling. Sales and strategic partnerships.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, so you, you don’t really consider yourself an e commerce because you’re [00:36:00] primarily a software business right now.
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: Yeah. And e commerce tends to be more direct to consumer type stuff.
We’re b to b. So we’re, you know, we’re selling to doctors and we are selling software services. That’s what we’re selling. Um, and They can use whatever hardware to manufacture on site, or they can order from our third parties or whatever, and they have the autonomy to be able to figure out how they buy, uh, whether they want to buy finished product or if they want to buy, you know, um, the design services and fabricate them there.
So that’s. That gives them a little bit of flexibility there. So, yeah, and we don’t sell direct to consumer without a prescription because we don’t want patients treating themselves for fracture care. We have to go through a provider that’s, that’s the way that it should be done so that we make sure that it’s not a liability.
And that’s, that’s another reason that there’s limited amount of open source versus It’s better if you use [00:37:00] the system as it’s in place, especially here in the U. S. We just want to make sure that patients are safe, and they’re getting treated correctly with quality product. Um,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: are you targeting the Canadian market as well?
Of course, the big difference is that Canadian market is publicly funded, so rather than I guess Selling to the doctors. You’ll be selling to the government.
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: Um, yes, at some point, but the doctors are the ones that bring it into the market. They’re the ones that demand that new products are integrated. So, uh, we do have ActivArmorCanada.
So you can go to ActivArmor dot c a find our Canadian partners there. You can order it fabricated there in Canada. We do have manufacturers there as well. You can use the app and order at any time. Uh, as far as the billing, you’re right. I mean in some of the other countries that we’re in there is a nationalized health care system That’s a little bit different in the first purchasing process So in a lot of the cases we [00:38:00] go in as a cash pay product to start Uh, and so patients are opting for it if they choose it while we Get buy in and acceptance and approvals through the national health care system, but
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: if someone was to purchase This equipment for their fracture care.
What is like? What is the kind of the price range we’re talking about? It’s like a couple hundred bucks at 500 bucks Yeah, what is the general? So
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: the printers, you can use whatever printing system you already have. Um, if you don’t have one, we have a recommended system, you know, uh, printer that’s here in the U.
S. We, like the Fusion 3 Edge printers, like I said, it printed this one in two and a half hours. I’ve had… This one now for five years I’ve been wearing, you can see it’s still like, you know, perfect, um, in great, great shape. Um, and I’m broken in or anything like that. So, I mean, like, uh, that printer itself is [00:39:00] about 7, 000.
You can find it on, you know, Fusion 3’s website if you choose to use that one. But again, you don’t have to use that one. You can use any printer, any material that you like. Um, we manufacture ours in ABS because we like the finish and, and we know that it’s going to be non porous. So it’s not going to trap moisture and bacteria against your skin.
It’s going to be smooth. It’s going to be sanitizable. It’s ISO certified for biocompatibility, all of those things. However, we don’t oversee the quality control in the clinics other than providing them with training and all of the stuff and the options. And then if a physician, for example, wants to make it inflexible nylon, I mean, they can do that, right?
And that’s the cool thing about our international partners as well. They can source their materials there. They can use other things they want. We provide the design services that we know work, and we give them the entire system as it is manufactured here in the U. S. with quality control standards. And then if they choose to do [00:40:00] other unique things with it, that’s the open source part, right?
They can, you know, use their own vendors, use their own suppliers, use their own machines. And that’s integrated into their current system.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: What does your team look like right now?
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: So right now, um, there’s Three of us, uh, full time employees in, in the actual, um, administrative level. So there’s myself, uh, there’s, uh, my lead cab designer and my lead manufacturer, uh, and the three of us work together to manage the system to make sure that the process works.
Then we have, like I said, some W2 sales folks, and then we have 1099 sales contractors, and then we have my advisory. Board and my advisors and all of us work together to make sure that the system works. Awesome. [00:41:00]
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, what do you see the future for your business? Do you want to take the existing software system and really maximize the potential in the U.
S. market and maybe some other markets? Or do you, I mean, you mentioned you’re looking into some other products as well. Uh, but do you, do you think about continuing to add kind of new and other prosthetic devices Uh, to your, uh, or, or the designs of other prosthetic devices, uh, into your, uh, kind of software to, to have, uh, additional options as
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: well.
So we can integrate other products, mostly sports medicine, protective gear is. Where we’re looking and then veterinary, et cetera, but the market for what we have for a mobilization for fracture care and splinting and diabetics and things like that, that is so [00:42:00] huge that it could take lifetimes just to fulfill the needs there.
So we are focused on that right now and strategic partnership and growing the company. And, um, that’s where we’re focused right now. We can do other product lines, and we are, you know, some of our partners are developing things in parallel on the side. Um, the prosthetics market is not as big, uh, and I feel like it has more market penetration in 3D printing than orthopedics does.
Um. So we haven’t focused so much there. Uh, I doubt that we will as a company. That’s kind of for others to do. We are primarily focused on orthopedics and podiatry, wound care, uh, fracture care, uh, and immobilization for chronic conditions like carpal tunnel, et cetera.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Uh, in every entrepreneur’s journey, there’s always mistakes made, [00:43:00] lessons learned, failures.
Um, you know, it’s, it’s, uh, it’s an evolution process, um, throughout your own journey of building this project, building this business. What has been like some big learnings or, you know, failures or mistakes that you consider, you know, that you could have done without, uh, what, what were the lessons that you learned and what are the lessons that other entrepreneurs can learn from your mistakes?
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: Yeah, I would say that one mistake is to hold too tightly to your current business model or plan. Definitely always be ready to pivot, but also don’t use a shotgun approach. You definitely want to be strategic because you don’t have a limited amount of resources, time, energy, and money. So if you try to shotgun it…
Uh, even though it seems like, Hey, you know, if I shoot at a [00:44:00] 24 billion industry and I hit a percentage of that, it won’t happen. And if it does happen, you’re going to be spreading yourself too thin on that. You need to find, do a lot of customer research and talk with them directly, find out exactly what they want and then give it to them and don’t.
Uh, like, you know, if I would have gone off and jacked around with prosthetics or, you know, or veterinary or whatever, we wouldn’t be where we are. And I have, you know, there’s kind of that, uh, ADHD, you know, Oh, squirrel, you know, Ooh, shiny object, you know, and you got to make sure that you don’t do that, that you focus on, on what your, what your strategy is.
And, uh, when you ask me about, uh, books in a little bit, I’ll be talking with you about some of the ways that I was pushed back on target, um, whenever I feel, and this happens a lot, but whenever I feel overwhelmed, like I’m not, I feel like there’s too much to do, [00:45:00] I realize that I’m not. Being strategic enough.
I need to stop what I’m doing. Stop with my head down in the day to day and then just trudging forward, but instead to lift up, think realign re strategize and focus, and that’s when you’re going to be the most effective. And sometimes that focus will change. And I, I’ll tell you the most heartbreaking thing that I’ve had during this.
Journey of entrepreneurship is having the staff change in the company because, uh, you outgrow people and then you can’t afford people. And then you need more people and you don’t know who to hire because you only have a certain amount of money and a certain amount of investment. So you don’t want to, you know, just scale up too quickly, but you also don’t want that to hold you back because you just can’t meet the.
Demand, uh, because of your staff, but I can [00:46:00] tell you that like, you know, I’ve had some of my closest friends help me in this journey. And then, and then we downsized or we upsized or we changed or we pivoted, or we didn’t need that position anymore, or the position needed new expertise or whatever. And it was hard for me to make those staffing changes.
And that you have to do, you have to bite the bullet and it hurts you in your soul because You know that this person, you know, helped you in this. In this phase of the business and then that changes and, uh, you know, when you have to make those staffing changes and see, you know, people that helped you grow the company, then have to move on to other things.
It like breaks your heart, but it’s the evolution of the company is necessary. And it’s okay. And they understand how the business works. And, you know, even with COVID, it’s like, you know, we had 12 clinics slated to open that year that didn’t open. And, uh, that required, and then we [00:47:00] tried certain things. We tried some, you know, having a different position in, uh, you know, uh, Actually having an orthotech on staff.
And then we realized, Oh, that didn’t work on a sales side. Now we have to do it this way. So it, a lot of stuff had to change. And that’s honestly, the hardest part is the staffing and the people and the team and making sure that that team changes with the focus of the company.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah, yeah, that’s that’s very true.
Um, now I’m going to move on to our rapid fire segment in this segment. I’m going to ask you a few quick questions and you have to answer them maybe in a few words or a sentence or so. I know you were mentioning that you have some book recommendations. So, yeah, if you if you have a few, please go ahead.
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: Yep. Um, zero to one by Peter Thiel. Of course. Um, the one thing by Gary Keller. Great for a strategic focus. I definitely recommend those. Uh, you know, your brand story as far as marketing is concerned. Uh, I just, yeah, just the more books that you can read, the better. [00:48:00]
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Awesome. Um, An innovative product or idea in the current, um, e-commerce retail or tech landscape that you feel ex excited about?
I’ll, I’ll add that, um, medical in there also, if you have like, anything medical related. Yep.
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: And I’m gonna say what everybody’s saying right now, and that’s ai. It’s gonna be a game changer in every way, uh, with improving quality of care, reducing human error, um, you know, reducing staff and overhead time, uh, improving quality outcomes.
And, uh, yeah, AI is, It’s going to change the entire world.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Definitely a business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend or productivity tip. I know you were saying you work 20 hours a day how do you Um, how do you stay productive?
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: Yeah, I really like the retail app. I don’t know if you guys have seen that, but it basically takes books that you want to read, summarizes them into 20 minutes, and, uh, feeds it to [00:49:00] you, audio, or you can read it.
But, uh, I like to do that while I’m, when I’m doing work that doesn’t require direct focus, or if I’m exercising or something like that, I’ll pound through three or four books that I’ve been wanting to get through, uh, in, you know, in an hour or two, and… I love it. I wish they had more of our business books on that app, but I mean there’s nothing like I don’t have time to sit around and you know, spend hours flipping through books and Uh, so if I can get out there and get a good workout and also get through, you know Three books that I’ve been really wanting to get the main key points on, uh, you know, fed directly into my brain.
It’s, it’s awesome. Like, and, and especially in drives when you’re traveling and all that, just, you know, I, I love to have audio books, um, you know, on a flight or whatever. And yeah, sorry, that was a long answer. No,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: no, totally fine. I think those apps are really good also to get kind of, [00:50:00] you know, to get a summary of different books.
And then one, you know, if one of them kind of really catches your attention, then you can go and read the full book. So it kind of saves your time kind of figuring out which book actually you want to read. Um, a startup or business that you think is currently doing great things.
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: Sure, so I like, in the medical space, I like Nuvo Air and some of the others that are doing, um, apps that allow for, uh, mobile apps that allow you to have patient feedback immediately and give you data so that you can take charge of your own health.
So my brother died of cystic fibrosis and there’s, there was a lot of times where he would have to go to the hospital to get respiratory data. And so right now they have like, you know, Nuvo app at home where you can. Low. You get constant data and feedback on where your respiratory health is at. What? You know, if you Oh, my gosh, I need this medication.
I need to change my medication. I need [00:51:00] to, you know, do this or that. That real time feedback and and data to both your doctor on an ongoing basis. You don’t have to be in the hospital to get that kind of medical data ongoing. Uh, the seeing the trends, you know, knowing when you’re in a red zone, knowing when you’re doing better.
And so that constant, uh, patient feedback and data collection is going to be awesome, not just in respiratory, but, um, all of the new healthcare companies that are doing data collection. Uh, that’s, that’s, I think the
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: future. By the way, is there, is there a way for the user itself, like the person who gets these?
these devices to provide feedback on what their experience was like after after they’re healed and they’re kind of done with the device like for a way for you for you to know if they found it kind of comfortable if they what what their experience was are you do are you collecting any kind of that kind of data?
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: Yeah, sure. And that depends on the physicians. Like [00:52:00] there’s a lot that you need on clinical trial basis. You need an IRB for right and we don’t get HIPAA information. So it’s really up to the providers on them providing us that feedback if they choose to or don’t choose to and and the patients, of course, will just tell us right.
I mean, you can see from our social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, tick tock, check all of those out and look for ActivArmor and you will see constant. Patient feedback. You know, I mean, and it’s great. We love it. And we love sharing the testimonials and we love hearing from them and all of that. And it’s funny, though, what it comes down to is a patient patients love it because they can shower swim their normal lifestyle activities that they can’t do with a traditional and that feedback helps push it to providers as well.
Um, so, yeah, they can provide feedback directly and through their provider as well.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Do you do any kind of general advertising in the market to get, like, people to become aware [00:53:00] of this thing so they can, they can go to their doctor and say, hey, when they’re kind of injured, give me that kind of cost rather than the more traditional.
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: cost?
We do social media, and we do, um, you know, our website. And that we don’t do a lot of direct-to-consumer marketing because the consumers are not the ones making the decisions the doctors are. So we focus our marketing budget on the fracture care providers. And you can imagine why, like we have to catch a patient with a new fracture within the first week of care in order for them to even try to influence their doctors, right?
Um, so that’s a very narrow time at which we have any sort of influence over the consumer, the end consumer. So if we onboarded fracture care provider, though, now he or she is seeing. 15, 20 patients a day, right, with that targeted need. So that’s where we definitely focus our budget.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: A peer [00:54:00] entrepreneur or businessperson whom you look up to or someone who inspires you?
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: Yeah. So, um, to me, the people that inspire me the most are the actual providers that are Helping the patients that care about their healing outcomes. I meet with doctors a lot of times and say, ah, my patients are fine with what I do and I get paid by the hour. I don’t, you know, whatever. And, and there are physicians like that, but when you find the real physicians who care about their patients, quality of life, and they want to improve that.
I mean. I’ll give you an example of Dr. Kevin Kaplan, the team physician for the Jacksonville Jaguars. You know, he called me and said, I would really like to have my, my, uh, players be able to ice bath and, and, you know, uh, heal faster using advanced healing technologies, et cetera. And he, he really cares about his patients in his clinic too, not just the athletes, but.
He offers ActivArmor to his other fracture care patients that have to [00:55:00] be immobilized and doctors like that who are innovative, they’re forward thinking, they care about their patient’s quality of life and their athletes and getting them back to their sports and the things that they love. Those kind of doctors are the ones that inspire me every day and I love to work with because I can work directly with them and they give us feedback and, and we can work together to improve the quality of life for their patients.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Final question, best business advice you ever received, or you would give to other entrepreneurs?
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: I would say since you have a limited resource, budget, time, everything, make everything, all of your deals, all of your, everything contingent and try to make as many costs variable as you can versus fixed costs.
So if you get in over your head with a lot of overhead costs, you’re going to have to get investment, and you’re going to be dependent on that, and it’s really hard to pivot, and it’s hard to stay alive when, you know, when market changes. So, [00:56:00] um, if you’re making a deal with somebody, they’re saying, Hey, I can offer you this, this or this, make it contingent on outcomes.
Every single thing, you know, pay for results. And if you can do that, then your startup will be in a better place to, uh, maintain through all the ups and downs that you’re going to have.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Definitely. Great, great advice. Well, those were all the questions that I had, Diana. Really, really inspiring. Story, uh, thank you for sharing, uh, uh, you know, your, your entrepreneurial story and, and, uh, for sharing, uh, How you are kind of building this business, uh, if anybody wants to check out your website and products What is the best way to do that
Diana Hall of ActivArmor: activarmor.com a c t i v a r m o r dot com and check us out At ActivArmor and hashtag ActivArmor on social media facebook instagram Uh twitter TikTok, all of them. Check us out there and find us LinkedIn. It’s a great place [00:57:00] to find us. And yeah, just, I mean, ask for us. We’re available to any physician anywhere and you can demand it from your doctor.
So, um, and, and there are doctors that are already on board. They’re listed on our website. So just, you know, uh, don’t settle for less.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Awesome. Well, Diana, thank you so much again for joining me today at TrepTalks. Really appreciate your time and for sharing your story. Thank you so much. Thank you.
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