MedMind: Trojan Startup Aims to Help Cancer Patients Manage Their Daily Medications and Side Effects

MedMind: Trojan Startup Aims to Help Cancer Patients Manage Their Daily Medications and Side Effects

By Peijean Tsai, USC Stevens Center for Innovation

Come vote for this year’s Trojan Family Choice Award winner by seeing this year’s teams compete on Friday, October 12, 2018 at the 12th Annual USC Stevens Student Innovator Showcase. Details and schedule: bit.ly/2018SIS.

Watch our video about MedMind.

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Last year, a team of USC Viterbi and Keck School students started working on a mobile app called MedMind that would make it easier for cancer patients to manage their medications and side effects. They applied for the USC Stevens Student Innovator Showcase and earned a spot as one of the 24 teams to compete at the Showcase last October. They advanced to the finals and ended up winning the Trojan Family Choice Award, the one honor at the Showcase selected by popular vote of attendees of the Showcase.

The award came with $1,600 in prize funding sponsored by the Diem Shotwell Metcalfe Family Fund at the USC Marshall School of Business. The funding helped the MedMind team pay for basic services such as software, subscriptions, and printing costs. They plan to launch the MedMind app in the beginning of 2019 and use the rest of the award for data storage and marketing costs.

“[The award] helped us with basic services we needed to develop our app,” said Nina Singh, now a senior studying biomedical engineering at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. “We have been trying to conservatively spend what we have, as we’re trying to save the funds for our beta test and launch.”

MedMind also pitched their idea in other competitions, winning first place at USC’s Hack for Health, a 3-day hackathon that highlighted high-tech solutions to help individuals cope with cancer. After the Stevens Showcase, they went on to participate in the WBENC Student Entrepreneurship Program, a nationwide competition this year in Detroit, and the experience of competing in the Stevens Showcase helped.

“Preparing for the Stevens Showcase refined our story and business model, which encouraged us to participate in other competitions like WBENC,” said Sonya Liu, a doctoral student studying cancer biology and genomics at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “We were able to get more traction, pitching experience, and an understanding of the startup world and how it works.”

At the Stevens Showcase, judges select ten finalist teams from the initial 24. During the finalist round of the Stevens Showcase, the teams must each do a 3-minute pitch about their business to the judges and event attendees. The Detroit competition only allowed 90 seconds. “Learning to tell your story in a short timeframe is an essential skill,” said Liu.

The MedMind app has a multitude of features, but for the pitch competition, the team learned to craft a focused story, which they suggest for future USC students competing in the Stevens Showcase.

“For the pitch, students should focus on the story, rather than talking about all the features they have (for their business idea)…we just focused on the features that were relevant to the story we were telling,” said Singh. In their Stevens Showcase pitch, they focused on only two of the app’s features: the ability to track side effects, and the ability to import information from prescription bottles with users snapping a photo on their cell phone.

The Stevens Showcase offers over $30,000 annually in USC-sponsored awards in various categories. The Trojan Family Choice award is determined by ballots taken throughout the day. Anyone attending the Showcase can visit with all the 24 teams and vote for their favorite.

The USC Stevens Student Innovator Showcase is an annual University of Southern California student business competition hosted by the USC Stevens Center for Innovation. The annual competition has distributed nearly $150,000 in USC-sponsored awards to USC students from 2007 to 2017.

PHOTO: The Trojan startup MedMind won the $1,600 Trojan Family Choice Award last year at the USC Stevens Student Innovator Showcase. The honor is the one award decided by popular vote of the Showcase attendees. (Photo courtesy of MedMind)

–published October 10, 2018 by USC Stevens Center for Innovation staff