What have you achieved from taking part in the Tech Ready Program?
The Tech Ready Program has given me a foundation for success in approaching a tech start-up. I now have a greater understanding of tech terminology and how to get to a minimum viable product, improved confidence embarking on a tech journey, and a network I feel connected to that I can approach for advice on every aspect of getting my business off the ground.
What is the name of your product and what is the problem it is trying to solve?
My business is called Research4Me and it is a social enterprise looking to solve the wicked problem that 80% of clinical trials struggle because of poor participation. This ultimately slows how quickly safe, needed, life changing and life-saving treatments become available. We will help the public in their quest to learn about, find and get involved in trials, as advocates, participants and research partners, to help drive clinical trial success, improving and saving lives along the way.
Did you have a start-up or your business prior to this? If so, what is it and how far along are you now?
Prior to the program, Research4Me was little more than an overwhelming concept, landing page website and Facebook page. Since the program, our minimum viable products for each of our target markets (the public and those running trials) have been defined, and are in various stages of development, the first stages due to be delivered over the next couple of weeks.
What is your professional background? What have you been doing in your career leading up to this moment?
I’ve been working in medical research and clinical trials my whole career. I studied biotechnology, then worked in the labs at the Heart Research Institute before undertaking a PhD at the University of Sydney in collaboration with a start-up biotech. I went on to work in that company’s pre-clinical research program before deciding I wanted to move into clinical research. So I trained with a global pharmaceutical company to monitor clinical trials and since then have had the opportunity to work in clinical trials in various capacities both here and overseas with pharmaceutical companies, contract research organisations, hospitals and clinical trial networks. Seeing the benefits clinical trial participation can bring to patients is what has made me a passionate advocate for making sure everyone is aware of the opportunity and how to access it.
Are you still in a full or part-time position, or are you working for yourself or stay-at-home?
I work for myself part-time alongside being a mum to a very active 4 year old son.
Why did you choose to do the Tech Ready Program?
I had been working on the Research4Me idea for about 6-12 months, but was feeling a little directionless, alone, under-equipped to managed a tech start-up and to be honest daunted by the start-up ecosystem culture that has evolved since the first time I tried to start a business 10 years ago. The Tech Ready program came across my radar just 2 weeks before it started and seemed to fill in all the gaps I felt was missing – understanding how to go about a tech startup, providing tools and mentorship for getting started, and a safe place to ask questions. It proved to be all those things and more.
Why do you think the Tech Ready Program is so important and for who?
I think the Tech Ready Program is a valuable exercise for anyone that is need of a framework for developing a tech product, that really doesn’t have a solid tech background. There is so much jargon, and so many ways you can get caught out as a new tech founder, and anything that can jump start your chance of success (and minimise the $$ you waste) at the very beginning, is a valuable thing. The information and advice generously shared by mentors is fantastic. For me, the greatest asset of the program is the potential of the support network. I’ve been tapped into people and advice I’d never have had access to on my own, and that support continues post the course. I am still a solo founder for now, but I no longer feel alone. It’s a huge mental support to know that network is out there if and when I need it.
What is the next part of your journey now TRP is done? What stage are you at?
Now that the TRP is done, its about putting into practice what we have learnt. Over the next few months, there will be a number of updates to our website that seek to address the problems identified in our customer interviews for better information and support for the public looking for clinical trials. We are also rolling out our first training next week to empower the public, research professionals and industry to work together to improve and speed up clinical trials.