Chris Molaro, WG’17, founder of Neuroflow, talks about using data & wearables to fight PTSD with Karl Ulrich, Wharton Vice Dean of Entrepreneurship & Innovation.
A Veteran Entrepreneur
If you can lead soldiers into battle, you can cold call 140 investors.
Neuroflow founder Chris Molaro, WG’17, is a veteran, and he’s seen the effects of PTSD. As he reminds us, “20 veterans a day commit suicide, on average.”
Neuroflow is his way of fighting back. Neuroflow uses wearables to measure the physical effects of stress, and quantify them in a way that is useful to therapists who are treating people for severe anxiety and stress. For the first time, therapists can use quantifiable measurements to see if their therapies are working—and adjust for maximum effectiveness.
The Importance of Persistence
Neuroflow is also a story of persistence. Chris started working with his cofounder, Adam Pardes, who is an engineering PhD candidate at Penn, on a project for the Y-Prize, which asks students to commercialize Penn technologies. In Chris’s words, they “lost miserably.” But the idea was what set them on the path to Neuroflow.
They won the Innovation Prize in the Penn Wharton Startup Challenge, and got a lot of other support from across the University. Chris says that, “before raising the investment capital we won a total of $140,000 in business plan competitions, thanks in large part to Wharton.”
But when they set out to raise serious money, it took time, and a lot of persistence. They ultimately raised $1.25 million. Doing so took them months of conversations, and talks with 140 investors. This, as Karl points out, isn’t especially uncommon—so for you entrepreneurs out there who are looking to raise funds, get ready to start calling.
Our Own Battle
For Chris, he sees Neuroflow as “our own war zone, our own battle, and we have to figure out a way. And we’ve got great men and women to our left and right in the office, and we’ll figure it out.”