We envision developing a commercially viable product that will be implemented into worldwide healthcare systems to alleviate blood shortage issues. To help with this, we have conducted integrated human practices research and outreach to help guide us through the entrepreneurship aspects of our project, which includes the creation of a marketing plan and pitching our idea to world famous venture capitalists.
Blood Conversion Kit
To bring our project to life, we devised a two-step blood type conversion kit to 1) mediate the enzymatic conversion process, and 2) purify converted RBCs in preparation for transfusion. We plan to pass washed RBCs through a series of airtight columns with bead-immobilized enzymes, where enzymatic conversion will take place. Then, we will isolate cleaved RBCs through centrifugation and filtration with leukodepletion filters.
Our modeling team developed a prototype for this kit, and the theory and design of it can be found in the modeling hardware page. The experiments done to help with the design can be found here in the prototype experiments page. The prototype contains a two step process: enzymes will first be used to cleave off antigens on RBCs, and antibodies will then be used to confirm for full cleavage of the cells.
Consulting Marketing Experts
We worked with Ms. Maggie Hsieh, VP Sales & Marketing at ACHB Enterprise Co Ltd (穎佳企業股份有限公司), along with her medical device engineering team at ACHB before we started writing our marketing plan for our product to discuss the key components of a successful marketing plan. ACHB helps to create medical devices, life science instruments, and other health related Internet of Things (IoT) devices and has an in-house regulatory analyst team to make sure that safety regulations and quality standards are met.
Figure 1 - Virtual Meeting with ACHB
In this meeting, ACHB gave us a lot of advice for if we were to set up a real company. We gained more insight into the differences in marketing in different countries. We also learned the importance of defining a target audience and outlining the value proposition. With this knowledge, we were able to better understand how to approach our marketing plan.
Though our project’s blood conversion kit is still in its prototype stage, we wanted to see how it can be used on the current market. Thus, we developed a marketing plan which can be accessed here.
In our Marketing Plan, we expressed the need for our project’s blood converting device and the lack thereof of a similar medical device on the market. We compared UniversO’s processed and converted blood to other types of blood used in blood transfusions, such as regular blood, artificial blood, as well as converted blood, all of which are defined in our marketing plan. Because of our device’s easy integration into the processing of blood for transfusions, efficiency in converting blood types, as well as the need for such a product, we believe that our device will be competitive in the market.
Our target market for our blood conversion product is the United States. The United States has recently declared a nationwide blood shortage, creating a need for our blood conversion device. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center of Devices and Radiological Health is in charge of approving and regulating many medical devices in the United States.The availability of resources to approve our blood conversion device will allow our product to be applied in medical settings.
We decided to price our UniversO blood conversion kit at $250USD. We discussed the reasoning for this pricing in our marketing plan.
To create our blood converting device, we plan on partnering with ACHB Enterprise Company, a medical device manufacturing company established in Taiwan, that also has bases in Japan and the US. ACHB has been successful in engineering and manufacturing life science devices. By working with a local-based company that has established divisions in the US, our team can collaborate closely with ACHB to create the most effective product to then be administered in the US.
Meet the Drapers Entrepreneur Show
Two of our members pitched our project to Tim Draper, an American venture capitalist, through the Meet the Drapers Season 5 casting call (Figures 2 & 3) which airs on the Game Show Network (GSN). Meet the Drapers is a TV program where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their start-up ideas to the Draper family and persuade them to crowdfund their business and help them start it. Tim Draper and his casting crew really enjoyed our project pitch, and chose our project as his favorite out of all the projects presented that day. We were placed through the Semi-Finals of the show, and are still waiting to hear back from them for the Finals results. If we are placed through the finals and win, we could be awarded 1 million dollars for our project startup.
Figure 2 - Tim Draper in the Meet the Drapers casting call
Figure 3 - Our team presenting our pitch during the Meet the Drapers casting call