Pre-Seed Workshop - New York
Pre-Seed Workshop - New York
Pre-Seed Workshop - New York
"The Pre-Seed Workshop is the best approach I have seen to the challenging issue of determining if academic researchers have an idea that can become a commercially successful venture."

Sean Boykevisch
Senior Licensing Associate
Stony Brook University, Long Island

Finding a Direction for Eve N Sol at PSW

Listen-up. Mock it up. Talk it up!

Standing on the edge of proverbial waters, Jayne Knowlton, MS, OTR/L, needed to decide if she should make a splash with Aqua Eve (shown below) and start her own business, partner with someone, or abandon the idea altogether. “I did not even know if the idea was worth taking to market,” said Knowlton. “Pre-Seed Workshop helped me make that determination.”

Knowlton (pictured right), an occupational therapist at the University of Rochester Medical Center hospital and at an offsite location, began a quest to help women on medical bed rest by creating a handheld urinal to address the biologically obvious problem of the 100-year old bedpan. “Designed with the bed-bound woman in mind,” her product seemed to have great potential, and Knowlton sought advice from the Technology Transfer Office at University of Rochester. She was recommended to apply to PSW Rochester, and she readily attended.

While at PSW, Knowlton learned about the procedures of business development. “Most importantly, I learned if my idea had legs behind it to go to market and what the steps would be to do so,” recalled Knowlton. “I gained a lot of knowledge while I was there that emboldened me to take the next step. It gave me a pathway.”

Once Knowlton verified the product was marketable, she set off to make a minimal viable product. She worked with quick concept models, plastic mock-ups and 3D prototypes and now is in small-scale production. The design has been proactively iterated continuously over its early life. “It had to find the function for the task I wanted it to do,” said Knowlton. “The design now meets those core needs but I still do not have a final product.” To complete that step, Knowlton is seeking even more feedback from nurses and distributors.

Knowlton is also meeting with marketing agencies. Similar to many entrepreneurs, Knowlton is faced with the challenge of reaching people with her product. When they see it, it resonates well, but, “…nobody knows unless I tell them,” said Knowlton. “I talk to everyone I can about my product. I network through High Tech Rochester to meet people who are interested in getting the project along.”

“Balance is tough,” said Knowlton. “I am trying to do several things at one time, but there are definitely priorities.” Knowlton is thus focusing on problem interviews where she mainly listens, before conducting sales interviews.

Knowlton advises future PSW attendees to “have convictions and be passionate. Be open to everything coming in,” she said. “Take advantage of people there--they are excellent resources--and be willing to put in a good bit of work. The more you put in, the more you get out.”

Want to learn more about Pre-Seed Workshop alumni, their experiences, and progress? Check out our Alumni Stories by clicking here.