It began with a conversation.
Justin Williams '15, then a junior electrical engineering student at Stevens planning on a career in the defense industry, was talking with a friend diagnosed with diabetes about her daily routine of logging meals, monitoring blood sugar, taking medication — and about a hospital-paging device that had suddenly malfunctioned.
"I told her there had to be a better way," he recalls, "and she just said, 'you’re an engineer, why don’t you come up with something?’"
A former EMT, Williams began turning it over in his head. Then, during his senior year, he made the acquaintance of Bryan Bonnet ’15 and Nishant Panchal ’15, two accomplished computer engineering majors.
Fast-forward two years later. What began as a chat on a university campus has become Data Minded Solutions, a hot startup company attracting several million dollars in venture capital. The company received backing from the famed Iron Yard tech accelerator in South Carolina and recently opened a new office in Hoboken, New Jersey, adding six new staff.
Managing diabetes care through intelligent data harvesting
The trio's flagship product is a software platform known as Embrace, a decision-management platform that runs on tablets, computers and smartphones, constantly updating data to physicians via electronic medical records.
With each patient's permission, the platform collects information about activity and sleep patterns from a wearable device, plus blood-sugar data from a wireless sugar meter used daily in the home. The software then uses medical guidelines and proprietary algorithms to push that data to physicians and caregivers, flagging important changes in status for their attention before they become emergencies.
"You’ve got 110 million people in the U.S. alone with a confirmed chronic illness that is also a financial burden to the system," points out Williams, who is serving as CEO of the company. "It’s $322 billion a year, expected to balloon over $500 billion in the next five years."
Data Minded's product is now being used by medical practices nationwide, he adds, serving thousands of patients. The platform can also be adapted to track heart health and other long-term health concerns such as COPD, hypertension, asthma and obesity.
"That's where we're headed next," says Williams. "Chronic disease."