We’ve talked with hundreds if not thousands of startup founders that are either looking to raise or have raised funding.

One common topic of discussion is equity.

No founder wants to give up too much of their company too early on.

Bronwyn Bridges, the CEO of PragmaClin, has raised over $500,000 in funding over the last 18 months by leveraging pitch competitions.

In today’s Rallycast we explore her strategy for maximizing every pitch opportunity.

Bronwyn Bridges is the CEO and Co-Founder of PragmaClin, a company that uses digital tools to manage Parkinson’s assessments from home. 

PragmaClin was a Rally IN-Prize finalist in the MedTech category. Bronwyn came to Indianapolis to pitch at Rally in August of 2023. 

This conversation took place at Rally, the Largest Global Cross-Sector Innovation Conference. Rally forges and celebrates cross-sector connections between companies, entrepreneurs, investors and universities from across the globe and features a $5M cash IN-Prize pitch competition, 1:1 investor meetups, a demo arena, content sessions and more. 

Rally 2024 will take place from August 27-29, 2024 in downtown Indianapolis. Register now for early bird prices >>

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Episode Transcript

Nate: From the crossroads of America in the Hoosier state of Indiana, this is Get IN. The podcast focused on the unfolding stories and extraordinary innovations happening in the heartland today. I’m Nate Spangle, head of community at Powderkeg, and I will be your host for today’s conversation.

Today we have a live recording from Rally, the largest global cross sector innovation conference that was held right here in Indianapolis. On the show today is Bronwyn Bridges, co-founder and CEO of PragmaClin.

Nate: Bronwyn Bridges is the co-founder and CEO of PragmaClin, a company focused on developing digital approaches to managing Parkinson’s disease.

Please enjoy this live episode of Get IN From Rally.

Bronwyn: My name is Bronwyn Bridges. I’m the CEO and co-founder of PragmaClin. We’re a company based out of Canada. I’m also a Ph. D. pharmacology researcher in the Parkinson’s space. I met my co-founder through my research and we started a company about two years ago.

Nate: Oh my gosh. Okay, so tell me about what your company does.

Bronwyn: We provide digital assessments for Parkinson’s disease or other movement disorders. We use specialty cameras to be able to capture all of the motor assessment that you would do in a clinic. And then supplement it with at home surveys to show comprehensive accessible data for clinicians, physio, nurses, and more.

So we can really target rural and remote areas that don’t have neurologists and hopefully reduce the wait times. Oh my gosh. What stage are you guys at? Are you still in the research stage? Have you gone to market? How are things going thus far? Yeah, we have a MVP that’s actually currently in trial right now in Dubai.

So we’re collecting. Oh yeah. So we’re collecting and data from that trial. Currently it’s been about two months. We have 20 patients with Parkinson’s who have been screened of all stages and we’ve gotten really. Positive feedback about 100 percent positive feedback. So that’s been great.

Nate: Okay, so let’s dive into not the science part, but the action item, right?

So I you’re doing screenings for people that potentially might have Parkinson’s so they walk into the doctor and your is it’s a hardware machine

Bronwyn: So it’s people who have already been diagnosed at the moment and we’re doing follow up assessments you’re only seen once a year right now and just left in the dark and We call it educated guesswork because it’s a subjective assessment, so it’s really about using their expertise about how they think you’re doing and the progression, but there’s no real numbers attached to that.

So we’ve made it so the assessment has numbers and you can really actually quantify how they’re progressing. Better medication management and everything else.

Nate: And what made you want to pursue this?

Bronwyn: I became really passionate about Parkinson’s disease and it really was never about the money and just more so making a difference, so I started a project, but the government really liked what we were doing, so the Canadian government kept funding us over and now there’s a team of ten of us working on it every day out of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Nate: Okay, so for the US based listeners here, give me a, okay, so east or this of West.

Bronwyn: Where are we like far East in the middle of the atlantic ocean as you can go?

Nate: Oh, so are you on the time zone?

Bronwyn: That is not half an hour off. Yes. Yes. Okay. All right. North of Maine, up in that area, all to the right, as far as you can go.

Nate: And how did you hear about rally?

Bronwyn: So we have done really good at pitch competitions over the last year and a half, so we’ve leveraged about a half a million dollars. Just from random small pitch competitions, and we just

Nate: How many pitch competitions add up to half a million dollars in random small?

Bronwyn: They vary about 10 to 12 Applied and won all of them Yeah And it’s been really great because that money then we take back to the government in Canada and they’ll then match it and then some Oh, I mean what an interesting what a creative fundraising vehicle for you to bootstrap. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely In a way,

Nate: Are you going to mostly pitch competitions that are like? like that type of

Bronwyn: Mostly all grant based. We’ve done a few equity ones, which they’re okay, but we really want partnerships. So those ones have been a different thing, but we’ve done ones from Canada to the U S all the way to Saudi Arabia recently and won a world cup there. So

Nate: That’s amazing. Yeah. Oh my gosh. Okay. So tell me then. You just are on the pitch competition wiki like trying to find like all the places you can go and win Yeah, pretty well, that’s rally

Bronwyn: And then yeah and advisors have always reached out whenever they saw something come up and everybody said hey I saw this new pitch competition that’s offered at rally you might be interested in doing that and so Okay, and

Nate: You’ve already pitched, right?

Bronwyn: I did, yeah.

Nate: Alright, give me the raw, candid feedback. How do you feel like it went?

Bronwyn: I always don’t have enough confidence in myself. It goes better than I think it did. It went pretty smooth, clear gut stuck ones. Besides that, I think it was great. Questions were answered great, and the judges were pretty happy.

Nate: Alright, so you seem to be the expert when it comes to pitch competitions. If you had one tip for someone out there that wants to… Maybe not win this pitch competition, but win the next pitch competition next year’s rally. Yeah, what would you give them?

Bronwyn: I think just have confidence So I always joke about how I wear my power suits But it just allows me to go out on stage and be confident and what I’m talking about the

Nate: Power suits, I love it I’m here for that. All right now Let’s talk about my favorite topic when we go into the podcast is Indiana. You touched down what was first impression of Indiana.

Bronwyn: The southern accents are amazing.

Nate: Southern accents? Why are you…

Bronwyn: What’s so funny? Everybody is like, Why don’t you have an accent? You’re from Canada. I’m like… What do you mean? Yeah, a I don’t say a or a boot or whatever. It’s the very stereotypical,

Nate: You said we have southern accent. Accent, but you have southern [00:05:00] accents. Yes. You go okay, can we, I gotta dive in a little bit.

What do you mean? I like what? You don’t me talk, I say weird. I

Bronwyn: Everything. Okay. Alright. But it’s like a nice southern twang a little bit. And people here are like kind. It’s very kind. Southern twin, kind.

Nate: Alright, so when you think of Indiana, first thing that comes to your mind, what is Indiana known for?

Bronwyn: Ooh, that Indy 500 is all the Canadians know about it, really, I feel. Have you, and you haven’t been? Haven’t been, I’ll have to go.

Nate: You’re gonna have to put that, it is a bucket list it’s a bucket list endeavor. It is a spectacle. Okay, that’s good to know. Have you been out and about? Are you downtown?

Bronwyn: I am downtown. How long are you in town for? Only until tomorrow. Okay.

Nate: What’s been your favorite place to visit in in the year?

Bronwyn: I went to the monument, the big tall monument. I called it a roundabout. Somebody laughed at me. But anyways, the roundabout. The big roundabout. But honestly, just like I said, the people and the people at the conference have been so lovely and kind, which I really enjoy.

Nate: So besides the pitch competition, obviously, We want to see you win that, obviously. But what has been the other benefits of coming to a conference like Rally?

Bronwyn: Yeah, I think the partnerships. You say YND, and one of the questions I got asked during the pitch competition was If you were to win, you have to register and come and actually have a presence here.

So live here. And they were like, why? But you guys have really great hospital systems. And so people are willing to make introductions. And I’ve already gotten a few really great introductions. So you never know. We could have a presence here if all goes well tomorrow. Yes, let’s go. I love it.

Nate: We love seeing new people come and check out Indianapolis. All in all, this is Rally’s first year conference. What are your kind of big takeaways from coming to a conference like this?

Bronwyn: You know what, I actually think it was a really great sized conference. I’ve been to conferences who are, that’s way too big and, sector agnostic, you really are going to have quite a bit of traffic.

But I think that the way it’s been organized, it’s very clean laid out, you know where everything is, and it’s really easy to make those introductions and go to the panels that you want to attend.

Nate: I love it. And, okay, so listeners out there that might be wanting to connect with you, support you, find you, or just engage with your company, where can they do that?

And what type of person are you looking to connect with?

Bronwyn: I’m looking to connect with anybody in the healthcare space, investors, people who know neurologists, or people who are just excited and want to make introductions that they can. Anybody can connect with me, feel free to. I’m on LinkedIn, it’s probably the best way to connect with me.

It’s Bronwyn Bridges. But our website is pregmaclin. com.

Nate: Amazing. Alright, final, this is, floor’s yours, 30 seconds. Who do we want to talk, shoutouts, mom in Canada, who we Who are we giving a Shout out to Canada, the best country. Oh, and cut. Yeah. And it’s over. It’s fine.

Bronwyn: No shout out to, honestly, the people who are just, like I said, willing to make connections here.

I’ve met some really great people, and they’ve been super supportive and super helpful. Shout out to my mom, obviously, biggest supporter. She is! Shout out to my co founder, Gord, who every day goes into the office for 13 hours a day and plugs away with Parkinson’s disease. He deserves a… Massive shout out as it is.

Nate: Amazing. I love that. Thank you so much. One for coming to our city, two for coming to rally and three for being on. Get IN.

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Matt: This has been Get IN, a Powderkeg production in partnership with Elevate Ventures. And we want to hear from you. If you have suggestions for our guest or segment, reach out to Matt or Nate on LinkedIn or on email.

To discover top tier tech companies outside of Silicon Valley in hubs like Indiana, check out our newsletter at powderkeg.com/newsletter. And to apply for membership to the powderkeg executive community, check out powderkeg.com/premium. We’ll catch you next time and next week as we continue to help the world Get IN.

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