Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Gabriella Francis, CEO of Squegg, located in Plantation, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Squegg - Smart Dynamometer and Hand Trainer
At Squegg, we create smart solutions that assess and monitor biomarkers of aging and musculoskeletal/neurological function and help deliver remote care for upper extremity conditions with an engaging, gamified, user-friendly, and AI-integrated platform.
Our Bluetooth-enabled FDA-cleared medical device comes with a companion mobile application to enable comprehensive assessment of grip strength, monitor performance over time, and offer fun and engaging games and activities to help improve grip strength, endurance, coordination, and speed.
Squegg utilizes gamified elements to improve user engagement and increase compliance. In-app reminders, customized routines, and adaptable games that use our AI system to adjust to the user's grip strength measurement and parameters in real-time help to boost rehab participation and motivation of the users.
Our user-friendly assessment flow is designed by OTs and CHTs to incorporate the American Society of Hand Therapists' guidelines for recording maximal grip strength via dynamometry, including proper positioning and procedure guidelines. Customization of parameters also allows for quick assessments for each hand individually.
Squegg PRO, our clinician-facing application, is coming soon! It will offer the providers a user-friendly app to assess a variety of UE functions, assign routines, and monitor patient progress remotely. The app includes real-time data sharing, session summaries, and insurance reimbursement support.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Gabriella Francis, and I use she/her pronouns. I am a certified Athletic Trainer and certified and licensed Occupational Therapist in the state of NY. I completed my Master's from NYU's OT program and am currently working on my post-professional doctorate at NYU with a clinical competence area of expanding the OT's role in designing and developing assistive technology. While I love providing rehabilitative patient care, my passions also align with advocacy, accessibility, and usability for all as I enter the space of innovation and product design. I have been fortunate enough to be a subject matter expert, project manager, and most recently - appointed CEO in the health tech space. I am on the product development team at Level the Curve, a disability-led company, to help design and develop assistive technology for individuals with various abilities, and I am also the CEO of Squegg (think squeeze +egg)!
I am passionate about breaking down traditional power constructs, empowering users as the experts of their own lived experiences, and creatively collaborating to make products that enable individuals to engage and participate in meaningful activities. I am truly excited to see where my career path takes me as the worlds of healthcare and technology merge.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
From leading the team to value research and evidence-based practice, getting a publication on the psychometrics of the device accepted in a major journal, presenting at AOTA, winning 2nd place in a HITLAB pitch competition to guest lecturing about the expanding role healthcare providers can have in the space to students in my field, there are endless accomplishments I am proud of as the CEO of Squegg. But overall, the most impactful accomplishment would simply be hearing positive stories about those who use our products and the impact it has had on their lives!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Prioritizing and balancing needs with limited funds as a start-up. There is so much to do and not enough resources or hours in the day. I look forward to helping this company grow so our team can reach its true potential.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Listen to your users: Empower them to provide feedback and implement the feedback throughout every step of the design and development process. A User-Centered Design approach can help drive a valuable product.
- Fail often and quickly: An open mind for continuous iteration will only make the product better! Don't get tied down to one idea - be flexible and never forget customer validation.
- Create a supportive team dynamic. Each person on a diverse team brings their own individual superpowers, and creating a collaborative environment where role lines are blurred can be a unique way to find creative solutions to complex problems. Many minds working together are always better than one!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Please feel free to reach out if anything in this interview resonates with you; I am always looking to connect with like-minded individuals, especially those who are passionate about the health-tech space, commercialization, and accessibility.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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