WoW Woman in Health Tech | Ksenia Belkina, founder and CEO of Cardiomo Care

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Cardiomo Care, Inc. was incorporated in the USA at the beginning of 2016 and has headquarters in New York. Cardiomo is a wearable cardiac monitor with an AI engine to deliver real-time, actionable insights enabling early warning system for heart diseases. The solution provides real-time and remote continuous cardiac monitoring, which is used for both preventive care and to reduce hospital admissions and readmissions. Its continuous remote monitoring will enable not only prediction of hospitalisations in heart failure patients, but will reduce the burden on Accident and Emergency units, as arrhythmias can be communicated directly to GPs at the early stages, where conditions can be managed in primary care or with self-care. A minimal medical care can mitigate serious heart conditions and reduce mortality.

Ksenia, what is the idea behind your project / product and how did you come up with it?

Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death globally. Up to 15 million people annually could be rescued if symptoms of occurring danger would have been identified earlier. One day, our co-founder, Roman, came up with an idea of a wearable device to monitor heart activity. He wanted to be aware of his mother’s health condition, although  he lived in a different city. The idea came after she revealed her heart had ached for some time but she told nobody about it, because she did not want to bother her children. That is how Cardiomo was born. 

Only during the very first pitch, when Roman’s pulse went up way too high, he understood that Cardiomo can be used not only by elderly people, but sportsmen and people in risk groups as well. 

I supported the idea, because I have always been healthy lifestyle enthusiast. In addition, I have many years of experience in project management. 

When did all start and do you have other members in your team? 

We began working on the project in the end of 2015. Cardiomo Care, Inc. was incorporated in the USA in early 2016. Our headquarter is in New York. At the moment, we are about to open a new office in the Netherlands. 

Roman and I, co-founders, did our best to gather great professional team to make Cardiomo come to life. Those are experts in healthcare, hardware and software development. Now the team consists of 14 members.

How long did it take you to be where you are now?

Since January 2016 till today huge steps from founding the company to developing and manufacturing the first batch of series devices have been made. What we are most proud of is that several lives have been saved since!

What was the biggest obstacle?

It is not even an obstacle, but a challenge. We are classified as a class 2b medical device, which is highly regulated. Therefore, we will have to pass all the tests to prove it is safe. We also need clinical data to put together with our technical file meaning that we need clinical trials to obtain our CE mark (European medical device regulation).

What are your biggest achievements to date?

Our biggest achievement is that our devices already have proven accuracy and give a better result in detecting arrhythmias than existing solutions.  This allowed doctors to adjust the treatment plan. I am very proud because of this several lives have already been saved, and we will continue to save further.

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What are the challenges of being an entrepreneur in the niche you are in? How about being a female founder / entrepreneur?

In fact, although there are still significantly fewer female entrepreneurs, their numbers are rapidly rising. And the instinct to face impossible challenges has made women entrepreneurs who they are – a success and a force to be reckoned with.

I think that three major challenges of being a female entrepreneur are:

First, dealing with limited access to funding. Studies consistently find that women-led businesses receive less outside funding than businesses led by men. But at the same time a study of Fortune 1000 companies by Quantopian in March 2015 found that female-led companies perform three times better than male-led companies and have equity returns of 226%. Women are more capital-efficient as they bring in 20% more revenue than their male counterparts with half of the money.

Second, it is a real struggle to be taken seriously. As a female entrepreneur in a male-dominated industry, you need to earn respect. 

And, it is equilibrium between business and family life. I am the mother of two daughters and often they don’t see me for a long while. But I know that they believe that our project creates a socially important, innovative and needed product for millions of people and I really want my daughters to be proud of me.

What are your projects you are currently working on?

I am full of ideas and plans. We are going to develop the next generation of professional medical devices, we will introduce a feature of blood pressure measurement into our Cardiomo wearable patch.  I am promoting my personal initiative: Cardiomo for fetal monitoring, which will allow to hear the baby’s heartbeat at any time without visiting a doctor. 

Is #WomenInTech movement important to you and if yes, why? 

Sure, it is very important. I will support female founders and women in tech, and by my example I hope I will encourage them to take a more active part in creation and development of technological projects. They must believe that innovative and technological ideas can be developed and implemented by “fragile and tender” women.

What is the most important piece of advice you can give to all female founders and female entrepreneurs out there?

You got to be brave and start – I believe that is often the only difference between those who make it those who do not. And do not be afraid of insufficient expertise at the beginning. Be clear about why you want to engage in the business of your choice. How do you want to make a difference in the world, what problem you can mend and what does all that mean to you personally? Do not let the information about how little funding female founders get stop you from trying to raise the money you need for business growth.

What will be the key trends in the health tech industry in the next 5 years and where do you see it heading?

For now, I see three key trends in the health tech industry:

1. Artificial intelligence, the market for which is expected to grow more than 10 times by 2021. AI tools can reduce human errors in diagnosis and allow doctors to work with more patients. In the future, people could be able to diagnose and manage their health by themselves.

2. IoT, which is used for remote monitoring of a patient’s health by means of wearables.

3. Telehealth that includes mHealth, remote patient monitoring, store-and-forward care, and live video. And we have already implemented some of these trends in our solution.

Who are your 3 inspirational women in health tech?

Janet S. Wright, MD, is the Executive Director of Million Hearts, a Health and Human Services national initiative, co‐led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, with the explicit goal to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes in the United States.

Celia Mary Oakley, MD was one of the first women cardiologists in the United Kingdom and was part of the team that coined the term hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

She was a founding fellow of the European Society of Cardiology and she worked on the management of heart disease in pregnancy.

Alice Zhang, CEO of Verge Genomics, startup which uses machine learning to identify new treatments for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

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Website: https://www.cardiomo.com

Social media handles:

https://www.facebook.com/cardiomocare/

https://www.linkedin.com/company/10858918

https://www.instagram.com/cardiomocare

https://twitter.com/cardiomocare


This blog series is part of the Women Startup Challenge Europe HealthTech, which will take place on 7 October in Paris!

This interview was conducted by Marija Butkovic, Digital Marketing and PR strategist, founder and CEO of Women of Wearables. She regularly writes and speaks on topics of wearable tech, fashion tech, IoT, entrepreneurship and diversity. Visit marijabutkovic.co.uk or follow Marija on Twitter @MarijaButkovic.