Starting a business can be lonely, frustrating and so intimidating that some shy away from it altogether, even if they know in their heart they have the best solution for a huge problem. Add in being female and needing capital, and the odds can feel insurmountable.
I felt all of that last February. That’s when my co-founder, Jim McIntosh, and I started discussing with TechPoint’s Roger Shuman how to raise money to get our product, Primary Record, to market.
Less than a year later, we have reached our fundraising goal and are ready to help millions of families and organizations who care for medically complex individuals and aging adults. Primary Record digitizes medical record-keeping so caretakers can easily share and track their loved ones’ myriad medical data. It was a complex issue—usually done with a huge folder of paperwork—that I witnessed as a nurse.
Reflecting on my journey from inspiration to product launch, I am deeply grateful for our innovation community and think others need to know more about it. My team would not be where we are without support from this community, including:
TechPoint. A sounding board and connector in our community, TechPoint touches and knows about every industry sector. The organization helped us raise awareness and fine-tune our early pitch. See: techpoint.org/venture-support.
Indiana Small Business Development Center’s Indiana Technical Assistance Program. To find your adviser, visit isbed.org/start-your-business. Our adviser, Dan Drexler, is a huge cheerleader for us, connected us to a grant to cover critical professional assistance that allowed us to finish our proof of concept in 2022, and is still guiding my entrepreneurial journey.
BioCrossroads’ Axis Mentoring Program. As a health-sector company, we were often pointed to BioCrossroads events and programs. Another female CEO and co-founder, Gabrielle Hendryx-Parker of Six Feet Up, referred me to the Axis Mentoring program. My team of mentors was instrumental in shaping my pitching and leadership skills. Learn more at biocrossroads.com/axis.
The Startup Ladies. If you are a female founder, you must know there will be bias against you in acquiring funding. Kristen Cooper’s mission is to identify, educate, connect and increase the investment of women starting scalable businesses. I followed this community for some time before joining. The services and connections with other female founders have helped reduce my doubts and loneliness and helped grow my executive confidence.
Indiana Economic Development Corp. Sign up for the group’s newsletter to learn about the various programs, all geared to supporting innovation in Indiana. Primary Record is honored to be one of the few selected Hoosier startups to represent our state at the Consumer Electronic Showcase in Las Vegas next year! IEDC support of the Venture Capital Investment Credit for a women-owned business enabled me to get my foot in the door to pitch to local venture capital and angel networks.
Boomerang Studio. If your idea touches health care in any way, check out Boomerang Studio, which specializes in helping early-stage entrepreneurs by using their teams’ years of entrepreneurship and executive leadership. It’s a needed niche as our health care system undergoes great change.
If I had to start over, I would not do anything differently, other than ask more questions and ask for more help. Not knowing is OK when tackling a problem that will help others in your community. For every roadblock, there is a person or place in our Hoosier innovation community ready to help. Do not go it alone. Go find your community and connect!•
Jean Ross is co-founder of Primary Record, a mobile app that connects health data sources.