Cohort Two Graduate: Anthony Esplin, Founder
Company: Sleep Easy
Contact Sleep Easy: Via Email
Describe your company: Anthony Esplin is a 2020-2021 graduate of the University of Notre Dame’s ESTEEM Graduate Program and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical/Medical Engineering from the University of Utah.
“Out of school, I worked for GE Healthcare as a Scientist”, Anthony explained. “It just so happened that I had a neighbor whose son had down-syndrome as well as acute sleep apnea. The boy’s pulmonologist had prescribed wearing a nasal cannula in order to get sufficient sleep through the night. By this time, he was five. He and his poor parents went through years of restless nights from the young boy not getting sufficient oxygen. Over the next weeks we prototyped a pillow that allowed him to receive his oxygen therapy without him being aware that oxygen was flowing to his face while he slept. We were able to gather some pulse oximetry data as well as the number of ODI events- or the number of times that his oxygen saturation dropped more than 4% during the night. We saw that with oxygen flowing through the pillow, the number of times his blood oxygen concentration dropped went from 5 per hour to 0. The average concentration also raised 4%. Thus, Sleep Easy was born. The ESTEEM program attracted me to the South Bend – Elkhart region to further develop the oxygen pillow in order to give others a good night’s rest.”
What have you learned from the Pre-Accelerator Program? “One of the many things I learned from the Startup South Bend – Elkhart Pre-Accelerator was all the resources that are available to those starting a business in this area. We have been looking at what it would take to file an NIH grant proposal. It was nice that the accelerator had seminars regarding our business needs and could connect us to people that pointed us in the right direction. In entrepreneurship, it can feel like you are all on your own. It is nice to have a support group to fall back on.”
“Another thing that I have learned from mentors is how to capture the voice of the customer. It comes from prototyping and creating a feedback loops so that you can be iterative with the product or service in order to bring something to market that customers are willing to pay.”