Back in January, NextCorps hosted a Hardware Challenge, where 11 teams came out to pitch their hardware companies to a panel of esteemed judges. You can catch the recap here. One of those teams was selected to move on to compete at AlphaLab Gear in Pittsburgh, where they’d be in the running for a $3,000 regional prize and a chance to compete for the $50,000 grand prize in the national competition.

AlphaLab Gear’s pitch event took place in February, so we recently caught up with Nick Conn, founder & CEO of Heart Health Intelligence, the Rochester Hardware Challenge winner, to learn more about his experience in Pittsburgh.

EHL: First and foremost, tell us what your company, Heart Health Intelligence, does.

NC: Heart Health Intelligence (HHI) will significantly reduce the financial burden of heart failure by preventing hospital admissions through early intervention and in-home monitoring, using a toilet seat-based cardiovascular monitoring system.  HHI’s advanced algorithms allow the seat to capture over 9 clinically relevant measurements, including blood pressure and cardiac output, which have been validated on over 300 human subjects. HHI’s vision is to transform the healthcare system by enabling the transition from reactive to proactive and preventive care.

EHL: What was it like to pitch at the Hardware Challenge in Rochester?

NC: It is always exciting to compete at a pitch competition. Startup founders are so dedicated to their business, it almost becomes second nature to pitch and share what we are doing with the world. 

EHL: What kind of feedback did you receive from the judges in Rochester? 

NC: The feedback from the judges in Rochester was very helpful. Specifically, they asked to see more information on our team and our intellectual property. 

EHL: What was your experience like pitching at AlphaLab? 

NC: Everyone at AlphaLab was extremely friendly and helpful. It was an amazing experience and I made many great connections. The event was well organized and very worthwhile. 

EHL: What kind of feedback did you receive from the judges at AlphaLab? 

NC: The most important feedback I received from the judges was that I should seriously consider entering the consumer market for our initial go-to-market strategy. This is something that I hadn’t planned on originally, but now I have taken it to heart and will likely be integrating into our overall strategy. 

EHL: How has this experience helped you and your business? 

NC: This experience has helped refine our strategy and plan to make us more investable. I’m excited for presenting our updated strategy to investors.  

EHL: What’s next for Heart Health Intelligence? 

NC: Over the next few months, HHI is planning to update the design of the seat for manufacture and long-term in-home use. We also plan to continue pre-clinical testing and definitively decide on our regulatory strategy and whether or not we will be releasing a consumer version of the seat.

We look forward to watching Heart Health Intelligence and all the other hardware companies that pitched continue to grow and evolve!

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