San Francisco Alumni Club Monthly Spotlight: PICCPerfect
The San Francisco Alumni Club’s monthly spotlight on alumni businesses continues. Check back and read about more Babson startups! The following post is from Christa Ferguson M’15.
Founder’s Names, ages and graduation years/ Title :
Emily Levy (21) 2016: CEO and Co-Founder
Yousef Al-Humaidhi (22) 2015: CFO and Co-Founder
Maria del Mar Gomez (20) 2016: Founding Member and VP of Market Research
Hannah Conley (21) 2015: Founding Member and Fund Manager
Industry: Medical Accessories
What do you sell: Our first product is the PICCPerfect PICC line cover, but we plan to quickly expand our product lines to include other medical accessories that combine function with fashion.
What is your value proposition?: PICCPerfect adds confidence back into the lives of chronic illness patients.
Company Headquarters: Newport, RI is our official mailing address, but we are operating out of Babson. We were operating out of the Babson San Francisco Campus this spring and now the Butler Venture Center this summer.
Where did your company name come from?: PICC comes from the term PICC line which is a Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter.
2014 Revenue: We are currently pre-revenue as we are in 1st round production. To create brand awareness and build a community for our customers, we have started the blog #LymeintoLemonAid. This is a blog for people to share their stories of chronic illness.
Number of Employees: Right now, it is just the four of us. We also just brought on an intern to help with Social Media and day-to-day startup duties.
Year Founded: October 2014
Where did you meet your partners and tell us the story of how and when you decided to work together?: Yousef took care of me when I was very sick with Lyme disease and had my PICC line in. Maria del Mar was also one of the friends who stood by my side when I was very ill. I knew that I wanted her on my team because her personality is infectious. She makes a great VP of Market Research because she is not afraid to talk to nurses, potential consumers, and PICC line patients. Hannah and I went with CWEL to Rwanda to teach entrepreneurship, technology, and English. I saw that Hannah did really well under new environments and situations of pressure. She is a strong woman in business and I knew that I could trust her and that she would take initiative. While we were a part of the San Francisco program, Alicia Tzau (VP of Finance) and Leandra Grinage (VP of Social Media) were on our team.
Source of startup capital: Personal funding, Kickstarter Campaign, Babson Seed Funding, and winnings from the business competition The Big Sell by Purdue University.
Why did you start this business: I had a PICC line in my arm to treat my severe chronic Lyme disease. I wore a cut sock on my arm for 6 months during my treatment and I FELT like I was sick. I became very self-conscious, but I am usually very outgoing and confident. I tried other PICC line covers on the market, but I was very dissatisfied with them because they kept slipping down and that can cause the PICC line to pull (the line goes to your heart).
Exit Strategy: Currently, we do not have one. We hope to scale this business quickly to include other medical accessories that help our customers add confidence back into their lives.
If you are hiring, what skills are you seeking and where should Babson Students/Alums Apply: Currently, we are not hiring, but we hope to be expanding in the near future.
Toughest part about being an entrepreneur: Entrepreneurship is a rollercoaster! Some days I am through the roof with happiness, and other times I think, “Why am I doing this when I could be a normal college student and not be broke.” At the end of the day though, I love what I do, and I know I was meant to do it.
Key Business goals yet to achieve: Our goal is to get our product into hospitals, vascular centers, and cancer centers. We want patients to get our product right when they get their PICC lines inserted so they don’t have to walk out of the hospital with itchy gauze.
5-year plan: To expand our product line to include PICCPerfect kids sizes and patterns, medical back packs, cancer caps, cane covers etc…
Whom do you most admire and why: I admire all of the other chronic Lyme disease patients. We have been sending our prototype out to some and they get so excited! They are fighters, and I admire all of their strength.
Company you most admire and why: I really look up to Ava Anderson Non Toxic. I had FME with Ava: she is just amazing, and I love everything her product stands for. Additionally, her brother has chronic Lyme too and we are both from Rhode Island.
What do you do for fun: I love to take naps! (I am such a grandma). I am also a beach bum. Whenever I can, I go to see live music. This summer I am going to see Taylor Swift (for the 3rd time) and Zac Brown Band at Fenway for the 2nd time.
Favorite place to eat: In SF I loved to go to the Ferry Building and have a little something from a few stalls. In Wellesley, Yousef and I love to go to Yama for Sushi.
What is the last book you read: I am currently re-reading Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki.
Most influential person at Babson: I really look up to adjunct Professor Jim Poss. He taught our class Silicon Tech Ventures and is also our Faculty Advisor. He is always rooting for us, and he is a great person to bounce ideas off of.
Favorite Babson Memory: I will always remember going with CWEL and Hannah to Rwanda to teach. That program changed my life and I started a scholarship to help send girls to school in Rwanda who are in financial need and who embody the CWEL values. It is called the College of Immaculate Conception Women’s Leadership Scholarship.