Category: Meet the Entrepreneur

Meet the Entrepreneur

Meet the Entrepreneur: Shrenik Jain is Increasing Access to…

Meet the Entrepreneur: Shrenik Jain is Increasing Access to Mental Health Care

Working as an EMT within multiple fire departments and rescue squads, Shrenik Jain has seen first-hand the unfortunate effects of untreated mental illness. From these tragedies, Jain was inspired to create Sunrise Health, a mobile app for anonymous, text-based group therapy that increases mental health support for patients and maximizes health care providers’ efficiency.

Founded in 2016, Sunrise Health, under Jain’s guidance as the company’s business lead, has received a number of accolades, including “Most Disruptive Startup” from the American Psychiatric Association and the “Judge’s Choice Award” at the Harvard Kennedy and Business School Social Enterprise Competition.

Sunrise Health, formerly known as Beacon Health, has also taken advantage of opportunities at Johns Hopkins that help startups reach their potential, joining the Social Innovation Lab, winning business plan and pitch competitions, and receiving awards from the Ralph S. O’Connor Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Fund and the Whiting Student Initiatives Fund.

The success extends outside of Baltimore, too. The young startup has received grant funding from the NIH and currently has more than 10 signed letters of intent from fire and police departments and health care systems.

Below, Jain, a junior applied math and German major at The Johns Hopkins University, discusses his startup, the support he receives from the university, and why Baltimore is an ideal place to live and grow a business.

In five words, what does your company do?

We make psychotherapy smarter.

What are your goals, and how will you get there?

Our main goal right now is to change how therapy is delivered. The traditional one-on-one, face-to-face model of therapy leaves so many people without help. Approximately, one-quarter of the American population has a mental health condition, and two-thirds of them receive zero treatment whatsoever.

By incorporating peer support, anonymity and the accessibility of a mobile app with a B2B model, we remove many current barriers to care centered around retention in care, social stigma, accessibility, and cost.

Our larger goal, simply put, is to make therapy better. So many of the studies done today have a very low power (statistically speaking), and only focus on very limited subjects. Our application of natural language processing technology will take a quantitative approach to behavioral health that has never been seen in history.

Aggregating this data from different populations and cross-referencing different interventions will lead to insights that will allow effective mental health care to exist for everyone.

Why have you chosen Baltimore as your startup’s home?

Our founding team, which is me, my co-founder Ravi, and our chief data scientist Satya, met as students at Johns Hopkins, and we all quickly became enamored with the city for all its quirks and history. The fit was so natural, we didn’t really consider relocating as we went full-time on Sunrise.

What opportunities make it a good place for growing a business?

Easy access to D.C., New York City, Philadelphia and Boston (but lower costs), and a strong infrastructure of health care and research.

In terms of startups and innovation, what’s one thing that separates Baltimore from other tech hotbeds?

Community and friendliness. Everything is so close: from the city government to nonprofits to other tech companies. We’ve had a particularly good experience with TEDCO. Everyone seems to focus on real problems and genuinely wants to see others around them succeed.

If you could give your past self-one piece of advice for creating a startup, what would it be?

Move fast and extract value from everything you do. Instilling a sense of urgency is critical, otherwise you can bleed months without realizing it.

What has been the most beneficial part of your work with Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures?

Connections to experienced healthcare executives and providers. Feedback, mentoring and pitch advice when we were just at the idea stage.

What book are you currently reading?

I’m re-reading House of God by Samuel Schem. Think Catch-22 meets the dysfunctionality within health care. Takes you in with evocative language, while leaving behind a lot of lingering ethical questions.

What innovator do you look up to? Why?

Alex Karp, founder & CEO of Palantir. I admire his courage in tackling huge problems with massive impact within the public sector. I think too many tech companies ignore the government unless it is to lobby for their own interests, while the government itself can (and should) be a powerful instrument of change. From the tech side, any company that creates artificial intelligence solutions for both the CIA and the CDC seems inherently cool.

It’s after a long day of work, and you don’t feel like cooking. What is your go-to Baltimore restaurant?

The Bun Shop on Light Street. It’s like stepping in another world, from the bustle of downtown into a mellow, neo-renaissance feeling den with a regal yet subtle color scheme of gold and black. Good pastries, too.

What’s your favorite non-work-related thing to do in Baltimore?

The aquarium and surrounding history ships. The research focus of the National Aquarium means you learn something every time you go. The animals themselves are beyond fascinating up-close, and a powerful reminder of the staggering diversity of life on Earth. The history ships are a cool portal into Baltimore’s nautical history. The USS Torsk is my favorite. It’s hard to fathom almost 12,000 dives from when its keel was laid down in 1944, even as you walk on it.

Click here to learn more about the Social Innovation Lab.

Meet the Entrepreneur

Meet the Entrepreneur: Intelehealth’s Neha Goel Increasing Global Access…

More than 400 million people around the world lack access to basic health care because they live in rural underserved communities with no doctor nearby. This leads to people delaying care, traveling long distances to reach a physician and spending large amounts of time and money to get the care they need.

Intelehealth, a nonprofit in the Social Innovation Lab at Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures, is developing low bandwidth telemedicine technologies to improve access to primary health care for these underserved populations.

Its co-founder and CEO Neha Goel, a Ph.D. candidate in Health Informatics at The Johns Hopkins University, is an experienced entrepreneur in the health care sector. She founded Global Protect Dental in 2011 to introduce cutting edge dental technologies to dentists in India, and led the company as CEO until 2015.

In between her studies and entrepreneurship, Goel took time to answer our questions about Intelehealth, her Baltimore support system and her favorite places in the city. Take a look!

In a few words, what does your company do?
Improve access to comprehensive primary healthcare through telemedicine.

(Editor’s note: Check out the video below to learn more about Intelehealth.)

What are your goals, and how will you get there?
Our goal for the coming year is to improve access to health for a quarter million people by partnering with grassroots-level health organizations and setting up telemedicine programs.

Why have you chosen Baltimore as your startup’s home?
Because of the incubation support we have received at Johns Hopkins as students. Also the proximity to the global health policy makers, funders and health organizations that are based in Washington, D.C. make it a great place to grow a nonprofit focused on global health.

What opportunities make it a good place for growing a business?
It’s heartening to see the startup ecosystem growing in Baltimore. The access to some of the leading health systems in the world make it a unique place to have a health-tech startup. When you add translational programs like the Maryland Innovation Initiative, TEDCO’s Propel Baltimore Fund and accelerator programs, it makes for a nidus for innovative businesses.

In terms of startups and innovation, what’s one thing that separates Baltimore from other tech hotbeds?
I would say it’s unique in that so much innovation is happening at different universities like Johns Hopkins, the University of Maryland, Baltimore and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Investment in these universities is fostering strong on-campus startup ecosystem.

If you could give your past self one piece of advice for creating a startup, what would it be?
Fail fast. An entrepreneur lives in a world of failure. Get comfortable with it, learn quickly and learn when to let go of a bad idea.

What book are you currently reading?
To Pixar and Beyond by Lawrence Levy.

What innovator do you look up to? Why?
I think the most impactful innovations of our time cannot be attributed to just one person – innovation is a team sport. For example, an innovation team I look up to is that of Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Jony Ive. For an idea to be successful, it really needs a team of very smart people who have bought into a common vision and who work well together. At Intelehealth we’re all about team-based innovation.

It’s after a long day of work, and you don’t feel like cooking. What is your go-to Baltimore restaurant?
Oh my gosh, there are far too many! Food is a religion. Golden West Cafe, The Helmand, Thai Arroy, Ban Thai, One World Cafe, Saigon Today and, for dessert, Marie Louise Bistro.

What’s your favorite nonwork-related thing to do in Baltimore?
Do Yoga and meditate. There are a lot of great meetups and places in Baltimore. I lead a meditation meetup every Saturday in Canton and have met the most incredible people!

Want to learn more about the Social Innovation Lab? Click here!

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