Stasis Labs: a Trojan Healthcare Startup Four Years After Winning the USC Stevens Student Innovator Showcase

Stasis Labs founders Dinesh Seemakurty and Michael Maylahn were USC Viterbi School of Engineering students when they won two awards totaling $8,200 at the 2014 USC Stevens Student Innovator Showcase. (Photo courtesy of Stasis Labs)

Stasis Labs: a Trojan Healthcare Startup Four Years After Winning the USC Stevens Student Innovator Showcase

By Peijean Tsai, USC Stevens Center for Innovation

 Join us Friday, October 12, 2018 to watch this year’s teams compete at the 12th Annual USC Stevens Student Innovator Showcase. Details and schedule: bit.ly/2018SIS.

Four years ago, the medical technology startup Stasis Labs captivated judges and the general audience at the 2014 USC Stevens Student Innovator Showcase. Stasis Labs earned two prizes: the $7,000 Most Innovative Award and the $1,200 Trojan Family Choice Award. The latter was determined by popular vote of Showcase attendees.

Stasis Labs founders Dinesh Seemakurty and Michael Maylahn were biomedical engineering students at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Their idea? A cloud-connected monitoring system that helps doctors and nurses know when a patient will likely decline so they can intervene before a critical event. Stasis Labs offers a simple hardware and software system that uses data and artificial intelligence to help identify at-risk patients earlier.

Existing healthcare models tend to focus on reactive care, but the pair recognized that both patients and hospitals would be better served by preventative, or predictive, care.

“Our focus is leveraging the advancements of technology to move healthcare from a reactive to a more proactive model,” said Maylahn, President of Stasis Labs. Seemakurty is Chief Executive Officer.

The Stevens Showcase awards helped Seemakurty and Maylahn build a prototype that simulated their invention to potential investors, who then provided additional funds so Stasis Labs could build the custom hardware for an actual working product (see our earlier story for additional information).

The pair launched their business in 2015 and Stasis Labs has raised $5 million in seed funding to date. Their technology is being used in India, and there are plans to launch in U.S. hospitals within the next year.

At the time of the 2014 Showcase, Stasis’s concept was a low-cost health monitoring solution starting with emerging markets such as India. But over the past few years, the founders have done extensive research into the needs of hospitals, doctors, and patients. They learned that predictive care was a healthcare need everywhere, not just in developing countries, so they expanded the focus of their business.

“It became very obvious to us that the problem we were solving was not just for emerging markets but for here, too. As we continued to talk to more people, we realized the problem we were solving was truly global,” added Maylahn.

While Seemakurty and Maylahn were still USC students (both have since graduated), they competed in a handful of other student business competitions, including Silicon Beach at USC (they won second place) and the USC Viterbi Maseeh Entrepreneurship Prize Competition (they advanced to the finals). They went on to compete in Beijing, taking second place at the Global Grand Challenges Summit among startup teams from all over the world. More recently, Stasis Labs won first place at a startup competition in India.

As two USC engineering students, not business majors, how did they manage to develop the skills needed to be startup founders to launch and build their company?  Maylahn’s answer may be helpful to current USC students who want to be entrepreneurs but are not majoring in business.

“We leveraged the USC network from the start, to talk to as many people as we could, to people who had built companies. We listened intently and asked as many questions as they would let us ask, and we did that hundreds and hundreds of times,” said Maylahn, reflecting on his experience with Seemakurty in turning their business idea into reality for Stasis Labs.

He offers advice to current USC students: “Go and find those people with expertise, graciously thank them for their time, and ask questions. Never stop asking questions, never stop wanting to learn,” he continued. “Our insatiable curiosity to try to understand the things my co-founder and I didn’t understand helped us have a really good understanding of business…That’s what helped us get us to where we are now, especially as engineering, not business, students.”

“I was just in their seats a little over three years ago, and USC is such an incredible school, and Los Angeles is such an incredible city, and the network is so cohesive. There is no better time to use that network than now.”

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.

 

Stasis Labs offers a cloud-connected system to monitor patient vitals, helping doctors and nurses know when a patient will likely decline so they can intervene before a critical event. The healthcare technology employs a simple hardware and software system that uses data and artificial intelligence to help identify at-risk patients earlier. (Photo courtesy Stasis Labs)