Meghan Conroy, Capture Proof, Woman Entrepreneur
I was introduced to Meghan by Troy Henikoff who runs Techstars in Chicago. He wanted me to connect with a few of the women in the program. I find that many of the women I meet these days who are starting companies are older and have had a career that led them to company that they started. Meghan defines that. I loved her energy and her take no prisoners attitude so not surprising that I ended up investing in her business, Capture Proof. Capture Proof securely gives patients and doctors the ability to share photos and videos. They aim to set the standard for the medical industry where data can be captured and analyzed so doctors can make better informed decisions.
I am intrigued with the changes happening in the medical industry and the timing when I spoke to Meghan was just perfect. I had been at NYU with Josh when he broke his wrist. When they book his temperature instead of sticking something in his mouth they literally swept something across his forehead. The nurse talked to us a little bit about what type of technologies were coming down the pike. Technology is changing everything and that is why I like Capture Proof. She had already sealed a few deals with hospitals and insurance companies and not surprising that the younger doctors loved it as they expect that technology will change the way they practice medicine.
Meghan grew up forty minutes outside of Chicago in a farm where 100 houses now stand. It was the house her father grew up in where they grew corn and farmed chicken. It was an amazing place to grow up, small town. Now 65,000 people live there and Meghan refers to it as strip mall paradise. They left the farm when she was 11 after her parents got divorced. They sold the place to a developer for a song. Her mother is a school teacher and her father had his own business in real estate. Her father died when she was young and her uncle became her substitute father. Entrepreneurism runs in the family, both her brother and both cousins each own their own company.
Meghan got a full scholarship to to major in physiology, the study of the body at Michigan State. It was 1992. There were not a lot of schools offering this major. She had a choice between UPenn, Duke and Michigan State. She went with the scholarship. Her uncle told her if she got into medical school after undergraduate, he would pay for it. When she got to the stage to make that decision she wasn't sure that was what she wanted to do. Her advisor said to her, you love to talk why don't you sell stuff to doctors. She became hell bent on becoming a sales person in the pharmaceutical world.
In 1996 Meghan landed a job at Abbott Laboratories. They had a special training program where she went through a bunch of different areas within the company. The group would start out in the marketing field and then return to work in-house. They sent her to Portland, Santa Cruz, San Francisco and eventually Tuscon. She had enough of the constant movement and took a job offer with Johnson and Johnson. Meghan had stayed at Abbott about 3 years. She had launched 14 products into the marketplace and did business with 250 doctors.
At Johnson and Johnson they placed Meghan in San Francisco and Hawaii. She would spend 10 days in Hawaii every month. She did amazing and got promoted. Getting promoted meant taking away Hawaii which seemed counter-intuitive. Being in SF, Meghan got bit by the start-up bug and decided to leave Johnson and Johnson to join an organic Chinese herbal company where she ran sales. In one year they got the company to profitability and the entrepreneur behind the company flipped it into a multi-leveled marketing company. It was time to get out.
Meghan had saved a lot of cash and had made some really smart investments. She had bought a loft in SF, South of Market Street, and was standing on her roof while it was raining and decided to make a bold move and change. She moved to Paris to get her masters in photography at the Paris Photography Institute. She was going to take a year. While she was there she met a doctor who worked in Zambia and thru him she ended up going to Zambia to take 1000 portraits for local families for her masters thesis. She did the portraits with a polaroid. She had a polaroid of her father that she kept which is why she chose that medium. The entire experience really affected her.
After graduation, Meghan started to look into the anti-virals that were given to women in Zambia that have HIV. In the last trimester of their pregnancy these meds help change the possibility of an infant getting HIV from being transfered to them from their mother from 40-1. There was no water and roads where she was and it was difficult for the women to get their drugs. It was heartbreaking. She spent about 4/5 months there. She was on a plane coming back to the states and met a man who worked for a stem cell company and they were looking for a photographer for a clinical trial. They were going to hire a company for a huge amount of money. When he told Meghan this she said I can do this for you for less. He hired her and for the next 3 1/2 years she managed photography for clinical trials across Europe.
That is how she got to Capture Proof. The experience she went through was eye-opening. One woman told her that phogoraphy made a huge impact on patient satisfaction. She started to work in France and work on the idea. After a year and a half she came back and started Capture Proof. She began taking pictures that parents took of their child having seizures from 6 months to 7 years. The amount of anxiety that took place in the appointment because parents could not describe exactly what they were seeing was a game changer because the doctor actually saw what they saw.
Meghan returned from France and began building out the product. She knew people who were angel investors in SF and developers. She began to learn how to build out the business model. She had her own company when she had managed the photography for clinical trials but this was different. Many people suggested she get into an accelerator. She applied to Techstars Chicago, 500 Start-ups and was a finalist in a health accelerator. She decided Techstars was the best spot for her since Chicago is a big medical town.
Being in Techstars gave Meghan the time she needed and direction to talk to physicians, hospitals and mentors. They discovered the places that make the biggest impact was video and photo particularly with patient to doctor in an episotic moment or patient in a bed who is ill. Once they take the first photo the doctor can then take it and overlay the subsequent images so the profile is there and it is easy to continue to get more data over and over again through a phone. Capture Proof is organized by each body part and movement so you can see photos side by side and watch progression. A doctor or an intern can capture an xray and the patient and send to the lead doctor to get immediate feedback. They take that and link it to their electronic records.
As technology evolves in the medical industry elecltronic health records are going to be platforms with apps built over them. They will be the visual personal health record. They will all be securely held. This can be used for issues from diaper rash to post-operative healing to seizures. Capture Proof will be a subscription fee for all four stake holders including hospitals, doctors, insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies for clincial trials.
Technology is changing everything. It is pretty awesome.