Disrupting the game in the health-tech space.
I love anything to do with health, wellness, and fitness so when I had the opportunity to meet Sarah and chat with her in person, I eagerly said yes. Talking to Sarah was an absolute pleasure. Her vibrant personality filled the room. It was clear right from the start that she was incredibly passionate about her work at VitalSines and the impact of iHeart on the lives of many people.
iHeart, a fingertip device and mobile application, is their first product. It was invented by her father who was a scientist, a doctor and a mathematician. Sarah fondly recalled memories of him tinkering away with circuit boards at the kitchen table.
When he finally finished the product, Sarah saw a big problem. The average individual wouldn’t be able to understand the product. It was too complicated. Seeing how much time, money and heart her father put into the product, Sarah wanted to help him reach the next milestone.
It was the perfect opportunity for Sarah to use her previous experiences as a nutritionist and personal trainer. Thanks to her background in the health and wellness industry, she knew the needs, desires, and behaviours of iHeart’s potential customer base.
She transformed the highly analytical and math based product into something that was easy for a broader audience to understand. She has pushed iHeart to where it is today, including a very successful recent appearance on Dragon’s Den.
SARAH GOODMAN: CEO OF VITALSINES
VitalSines is a health-tech company known for their first product iHeart, a fingertip device and mobile application. iHeart determines a user’s Internal Age in 30-seconds by measuring a scientifically proven heart health metric Aortic Stiffness. Aortic Stiffness has been proven to be a marker of heart health, cognitive decline and dementia and risk of death from all causes.
What is so great about iHeart is how the app gives immediate objective evidence of the user’s health. By seeing if their internal age is older than their actual age, people are much more motivated to make immediate changes to their lifestyle. It’s a new kind of motivation for people to get healthier.
A few takeaways…
Be patient, things take a lot longer than you think. There are no overnight successes.
It’s never a sure thing. All the startups we hear about in the media seem to succeed so fast. But what we don’t see is the 10 years before their success.
At one time, Sarah didn’t get paid for 8 months. The road to the success they have today with iHeart was tough. She put everything she had into the company. She had to bounce back fast from failures and overcome struggles with fundraising. But by connecting the dots between her past experiences and mistakes, she took away incredible tidbits that she applies to new challenges moving forward.
Put yourself out there and talk about your idea.
You have to be social and get out of your comfort zone. The more you talk about your idea with people, the more validation you can get. It’s a lot better to get feedback early on before you invest all your time, effort, and resources pursuing an idea that people might not like or buy. Be open-minded about other people’s opinions for your product. Don’t take criticism personally.
Tap into your local startup community and make connections within that space.
Sarah was able to count on Vancouver’s startup community to have her back. Talk to people who have been in your situation and who have overcome similar challenges that you are facing. Their advice and suggestions can save you a lot of time and money. Find people who have done it before and take them out for coffee. You never know, they might become your mentors, advisors or your friends.
Have time to yourself to disengage.
As exciting as a startup may be, it can quickly take over your life without you realizing it. Sarah started at VitalSines as a part-time position, but eventually she took on a full-time role. It became all-consuming. She put her heart and soul into the company. As she spent more time working, it meant a few friendships fell to the side. Even when she wasn’t answering calls at 2AM, there were coffee chats and networking events to go to. At a certain point, she burnt out.
It was a wake up call for Sarah. Now, she’s gotten a lot better at finding a work-life balance. This means tucking her phone away and going outside to immerse herself in nature. In the winter, she loves to hit the slopes and in the summer, she goes paddle boarding, hiking, and camping.
Hey I’m Celine, Content Creator for Launch Academy, Vancouver’s leading startup hub. I’m also a 4th year marketing student at the Sauder School of Business of the University of British Columbia. I love trying new recipes, working on creative projects, and picking the brains of ambitious and inspiring people. Here, I share my conversations with local entrepreneurs who are making a mark in our community.