The past few months have been an incredible journey to say the least. In October, I didn't really have much of an idea what a startup was, let alone wanting to start one myself. I saw an advert on Facebook for a student-founder incubator program called Kickstart London (eventually renamed to Kickstart Global).
Touting that they have the opportunity to meet other like-minded individuals to work together with to solve the world's greatest problems, I thought I'd apply to at least see what it was all about.
As part of the application process, there's a team formation weekend. It's where the shortlist (of over 1000 that year!), gets cut down to 80 who are then brought together to meet, and engage in challenges to find potential future co-founders. I'd experienced problems in the past when working on a project where everyone had the same skill-set, it means that nothing progresses as everyone gets stuck at the same point.
This time around, I thought I'd go for the people who think completely differently to how I do - providing a different opinion that I wouldn't be able to see as easily.
Luckily I met some great individuals, skilled at software engineering, hardware engineering, and business development - a suitably diverse group of people for a medic to work with!
We discussed challenges that we could tackle, and we settled on one that I'd been doing a bit of work on beforehand - the challenge of scalable rehabilitation at home. I'd been trying to get sensors and software together to enable it work, to no avail. Hopefully now, we'd have some luck.
Within 2 months, we had a working prototype and physiotherapy clinics wanting to use our device.
It was such a stark comparison to working in any other team. There's a concept in medicine called the MDT, or multi-disciplinary team, which means a group of healthcare professionals who are specialised in different domains. It's great for managing patients who have complex, long-term needs, enabling every part of their care to be successfully managed.
What I'd just experienced was the MDT version of startups.
I believe that the MDT approach is something that is often overlooked in startups, which often favour the dorm-buddy concept of making it with your friends and then hiring as quickly as you can once you have something which has potential. I think the MDT approach of getting a diverse team together at the start is better in that initial stage, and is likely to equate to long-term benefit as well.
My biggest learning
From Kickstart, I'd learnt so much about the world of startups and beyond. I started to appreciate what it takes to form a great team, and how to ensure that teams work well over time.
Come March, it was time to demonstrate our progress over the past couple of months. It had been a tough few months - particularly with balancing a new startup and a medical degree (topic for another time), but I was proud of our team for working hard to get us to Demo Day.
After watching all the pitches from the teams, it was fair to say that there was some stiff competition we were up against - with companies focussing on different domains such as Natural Language Processing, smart-gym apps, and medical education using VR.
"The winner is... Motics!". Fair to say, I couldn't quite believe it. I looked at Peter and almost jumped with surprise when I heard the announcement. All our hard work had paid off.
But the real work now begins.
We're off to Princeton in the next few weeks for the finals of TigerLaunch, one of the largest student startup competitions in the world.
A huge thanks to the entire Kickstart team for getting us this far. We're incredibly excited for what's to come.