The Co-Founders of Neuroflow on Start-Ups and Mental Health (Episode #16)

On our 16th episode of the Penn HealthX Podcast, Ryan sat down with Chris Moralo and Adam Pardes, the co-founders of NeuroFlow, a medical device company recently launched out of the University of Pennsylvania.

Chris is a US army veteran who holds an undergraduate degree from the United States Military Academy and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a student when he co-founded NeuroFlow with Adam. Adam is a bioengineer by training, who is currently on a leave of absence from a PhD program at Penn while he works on NeuroFlow. The two met through the InSITE program at UPenn, where they were brought together by their shared interest in entrepreneurship. To hear more about the NeuroFlow story, check out their website at http://www.neuroflowsolution.com/

In the podcast, Chris and Adam spoke about what they have learned through the process of starting Neuroflow. Here are some key takeaways from the discussion:

1. Think years ahead but act in the moment

One of the biggest challenges of running a startup is balancing the long-term vision with taking the steps necessary to succeed today. Chris and Adam learned through their fundraising that investors that investors cared much more about the problem, the market, and the team than the exact solution. The solution itself is likely to change as the company grows – initially, the goal of NeuroFlow was to create a device to help treat PTSD, but the company has since pivoted and the first product is now a clinical tool to help measure stress levels using validated biochemical markers. While the product itself changed, there was no change in the problem that they were trying to address – the long-term vision remaining the same, but the team changed the specific actions they were taking day-to-day to align with their new game plan.

ptsd_brain1

2. Define a set of values and live by them

In the course of a couple short years, NeuroFlow has grown from an idea shared by Adam and Chris into a team with 15 members working toward a common goal. As the company grew, Adam and Chris had to think carefully about how to align the goals and values of the team. They drew on their past experience, particularly Chris’ time as an officer in the US Army, to establish a set of values for the company. Importantly, they stressed that having a set of values only matters if you truly espouse and live them. Having these values gives the team a shared set of principles to guide their work and to keep pushing hard even when the hours are long.

3. They’ve had a lot of proud moments along the way

Chris, Adam, and the team are hard at work taking Neuroflow from an intriguing idea to a working product. They shared some of their most challenging and their proudest experiences from working on the company. One moment that was simultaneously challenging and proud was when they first hired team members. As Adam and Chris stressed, once they hired a team, that team was relying on them to continue to exist and to succeed. Their team members left comfortable, stable jobs at established companies to work on NeuroFlow, and Adam and Chris feel a sense of responsibility to their employees. Another proud moment that they shared came from seeing the fruits of their labor. Chris described the emotion of the first time a doctor went live with NeuroFlow on a real patient, and the pride that followed from seeing their work in action.

We are excited to follow NeuroFlow as they continue to grow and launch their product. Check them out at www.neuroflowsolution.com.

– Logan is a second-year medical student at the Perelman School of Medicine. He was the co-VP of curriculum for Penn Health-X in 2017, is an occasional co-host of the Penn HealthX podcast, and a contributor to the Penn HealtphX blog. You can contact him at  john.brock@uphs.upenn.edu –

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