In honor of National Entrepreneur Day (Nov. 19), SJSU is highlighting the stories of Spartan founders who got their start at San Jose State.
Fabio Schmidberger moved to the United States from Germany in 2018 as an exchange student, eager to take advantage of Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial spirit. It didn’t take long for the software engineer to discover SJSU’s Venture Lab class, where he began a project that in a few months’ time would transform from a hobby into a career. He thought first of his grandfather, who lives in a senior care facility in Germany, and of his sister, a medical student, who experienced the challenges of working with medical documentation software. As part of his market research for the class, Schmidberger visited a few senior care facilities in San Jose to identify potential problems that needed solving. His conversations with senior care staff, residents and relatives visiting their family members confirmed that caregivers needed an easier, faster way to document medical data.
“Care professionals choose their field because they want to create human connections with residents, rather than spending hours in front of their computers,” says Schmidberger. “For me, working on healthcare solutions is very fulfilling. It’s easy to grasp that you’ve improved somebody’s life. When launching a business, you have to think, what are you really impacting? Does your product change the world to be a better place?”
Schmidberger’s solution? MedixFlow, medical documentation software that acts as a digital assistant by allowing users to dictate vitals into their phones. He is working with his two partners to better integrate MedixFlow’s software into existing medical documentation, with the goal of optimizing the voice recognition software. Schmidberger says his nine months in Silicon Valley proved even more fruitful than he could have imagined.
Biggest lesson learned: As critical as it is to focus on product development, it is even more important to develop strong relationships with clients and potential users. Schmidberger says to create the best product, first one must listen to the real-world concerns and problems faced by the target demographic.
Revenue streams: MedixFlow plans to create subscription plans for senior care facilities that vary in price depending on the number of residents they serve and the number of accounts required.
Problems they solve: MedixFlow allows caregivers to dictate medical data while caring for their clients, thus ensuring that they document important details while giving them more time for one-on-one interaction.
Challenges faced: Because the MedixFlow team is not attempting at this point to offer an all-in-one service, they are working to integrate their software with existing medical documentation software.
Biggest accomplishment: In 2018, MedixFlow earned first place in the social innovation category of the Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge. The team also won first place in the 2018 Business Plan Competition and the 2019 Paseo Prototyping Challenge, both at SJSU. In fall 2019, MedixFlow won first place in the HPI Business Plan Competition in Germany, securing $100,000 in funding.
Vision for the future: MedixFlow hopes to expand its product line to include a possible communication channel between caregivers and relatives of residents in senior care facilities, making it possible for family members to receive healthcare updates on their loved ones in real time. The team is also exploring the possibility of expanding documentation software into other industries, including government, law enforcement and fire rescue.
Phase of development: Pre-launch
Advice for entrepreneurs: “Talking to users is significantly more valuable than sitting at home engineering a great product, because you’ll end up with a product that nobody needs. You first need to understand the specific problem and then you can engineer your solution.” —Fabio Schmidberger