Whether we’ve watched it happen to a loved one or gone through it ourselves, we all know that growing old is hard.
Stevens alumnus Vadim Gordin ’07 is doing all he can to make the aches and pains of aging easier with a start-up company, Rise Assistive Devices, which designs and manufactures thoughtful and elegant mechanical devices which minimize the effect various disabilities have on the quality of life of the elderly and disabled.
Gordin was inspired to found Rise Assistive Devices by his own family’s experience with aging.
“When my grandmother's osteoarthritis took a turn for the worse and I started looking for gadgets and devices that could minimize the impact of her disability on day-to-day life,” said Gordin. “To my dismay, what I found were poorly designed, cheaply made and terribly overpriced devices.”
Gordin, who earned his B.E. in biomedical engineering from Stevens and his J.D. in intellectual property law from Capital University Law School, read every journal article he could find about the biomechanics of the elderly and spent lots of time interviewing and observing his grandmother and her friends. He then presented four prototype devices to an investor who agreed to provide seed funding to the company.
“His investment allowed me to work full-time on perfecting my designs and my pitch deck, which I've taken on the angel investor circuit around New York City for the past five months,” said Gordin.
Today, Gordin works full time out of his home base at the Launchpad Long Island incubator, doing essentially all of the business and operations functions necessary to run a company. His only employees are a part-time engineer and an intern who works on production sourcing and market research.
“You name it, I'm doing it,” Gordin said. “I’m CEO, CTO, CFO, COO, receptionist, engineer lead, engineering assistant, product manager, marketing analyst, cleaning crew, coffee brewer, etc. Entrepreneurs at this phase don't have the luxury of titles.”
On Sept. 15, 2013, Gordin will launch a IndieGoGo campaign to generate crowd sourced funding for his first product, EasyFork, an ergonomic utensil for people suffering from arthritis – a condition which affects 50 million people in the United States alone. He hopes the campaign raises at least $20,000 to fund the first production run of EasyFork, while also creating market awareness of his company and connecting him to retailers and distributors who would be interested in other products for the elderly and disabled.
This isn’t Gordin’s first entrepreneurial venture. After passing the bar exam, he opened his own patent prosecution practice which provided patent, trademark and copyright services for individuals and small business. He also had a minor entrepreneurial success with a device called the Lens Loop, a type of camera strap for photographers, which he also funded through a crowd funding campaign.
And Gordin is used to being busy. At Stevens, he was a record-holder, captain and MVP on the varsity swimming team, vice president of Stevens Hillel, pledge master for Sigma Nu fraternity, and a student researcher on projects to model crash dynamics of infant car seats and build a wheelchair lower-limb amputees and paraplegics. That was all while earning dean’s list honors.
Gordin said Stevens gave him the tools he needed to succeed as an entrepreneur.
“I came away with the problem-solving toolset needed to effectively design solutions when I saw a need,” he said.