Our latest “Get IN” podcast episode is live, and it’s a rollercoaster ride into the heart of health tech innovation. We’ve got the mastermind behind VitalView, Ray Fraser, spilling the beans on transforming healthcare with some incredible sensor tech.
Here’s a sneak peek of the episode:
- 🌐 VitalView’s Mission: Discover how Ray’s company is shaking up the hospital-at-home experience.
- 🚀 Ray’s Entrepreneurial Odyssey: Get the raw, unfiltered story of Ray’s climb to the top.
- 🛠 The Tech Talk: Unravel the complexities of IoT in healthcare and why it’s a big deal.
- 💸 The Art of the Fundraise: Ray breaks down the nuts and bolts of pulling in those investment dollars.
In this episode, you’re not just listening to another success story. You’re getting an all-access pass to Ray’s journey – from sweeping floors at a farmer’s market to spearheading a game-changing health tech venture. Trust me, this is the kind of real, gritty entrepreneurship tale that you don’t want to miss.
- 00:53 Understanding VitalView: The Health Tech IoT Platform
- 03:35 Ray Fraser’s Entrepreneurial Journey
- 05:25 Insights from Ray’s Experience at Lime Scooters
- 09:31 The Importance of Understanding Investors
- 15:51 Building the VitalView Team
- 18:33 Incubating VitalView at Notre Dame
- 25:50 The Future of Health Tech
- 26:51 Discussing the Impact of Tech Innovations
- 27:06 The Role of Notre Dame in Innovation
- 30:14 The Influence of Theater in Entrepreneurship
- 34:05 Fun Game Time: Fundraising Flashcards
Ray gets real about the future of health tech, storytelling in business, and dishes out some solid gold advice in our Fundraising Flashcards game.
So, why should you care? Because whether you’re a budding entrepreneur, a tech enthusiast, or just curious about the future of healthcare, this episode is a goldmine of insights and inspiration.
Scaling a Health Tech Startup: Fundraising, Tech Transfer, and Storytelling with Ray Fraser
Want to listen to this episode on your chosen app? Click here.
You can stream by clicking here.
If you like this episode, please subscribe and leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. You can also follow us on Spotify. We have an incredible lineup of interviews we’ll be releasing every Wednesday here on Get IN.
Links and resources mentioned in this episode:
Companies and organizations:
- Vital View Technologies
- Sequoia Capital`
- Andreessen Horowitz
- Battery Ventures
- University of Notre Dame
- Ray Fraser
- Dr. Rick Snyder
- Chris Rauh
- Cassandra Adams
- Marcus Freeman
- Kelly Rich
- Christopher Nolan
- Shaun Hawkins
- Ryan Locke
- Aaron Gillum
- Matt Hunckler
- Nate Spangle
Subscribe to Get IN.
To subscribe to the Get IN. podcast, please use the links below:
If you have a chance, please leave an honest rating and review on Apple Podcasts by clicking here. It will help the show and its ranking on Apple Podcasts incredibly! Thank you so much!
Want to get connected with other leaders in the Powderkeg community?
Are you interested in joining the only private membership network focused on supporting tech companies and executives in communities beyond Silicon Valley? Apply for Powderkeg Premium Membership today.
Interested in starting your own Podcast?
Casted is THE first and only podcast and video marketing platform made SPECIFICALLY for B2B brands. The platform makes it possible to publish, syndicate, amplify, and measure the value of your podcast and video content And if you’re a startup, Casted offers their for Startups program that might be for you — offering exclusive deep discounts of up to 82% off retail price for qualifying startups. Connect with Casted at Casted.us/powderkeg.
Matt: 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 right now in the heartland. I’m Matt Hunckler CEO at Powderkeg, and I will be one of your hosts for today’s conversation. I’m joined in studio by co-host Nate Spangle, head of community at Powderkeg.
And on the show today, I’ve, I’m really excited because we’ve got a special guest. Ray Fraser, co- founder and CEO of Vital View.
Ray: Once you raise a fund, you have about, depending on what kind of fund it is, you typically have 10 years, to make investments, but then also start returning capital.
Matt: Really pumped to talk to him today about his company. Ray Frazier is the co-founder and CEO of VitalView and VitalView is a health tech IOT platform that is developing sensor technology to improve the hospital at home experience.
And in today’s show, I think we’re going to cover a lot of ground. One, I know that Ray has a background in acting, but I’m sure we’re going to talk about cross sector innovation, commercializing research from top tier universities.
Fundraising tips for early stage startups and so much more, right? Welcome to get in. Thanks for being here, man.
Ray: Thanks so much for having me guys. It’s truly an honor and a pleasure. We are pumped, man.
Matt: We, and we have some surprises today. So yeah. When I was researching your background, you have such a unique story man.
Like you gave an incredible pitch at Powderkeg earlier this year. And that was the first time I had actually really experienced the journey of what you’re doing at vital view. I want to talk about your background, but first for those who are listening, I don’t want to butcher it. Can you give us like the elevator pitch on VitalView?
Like what are you building there? Yeah, and what’s the market opportunity you’re looking at?
Ray: Yeah, definitely. So at VitalView, we’re very focused on the hospital at home. So what we’re doing, we’re a medical IOT company developing connected solution tools. That care providers can use to help not only improve quality of care for patients, but also reduce unnecessary hospitalizations, which is a huge cost in our system today.
Matt: Yeah, that’s awesome, man. And how big is that market opportunity? It’s got to be like in the billions.
Ray: Yeah, we’re talking about definitely over 40 billion. Wow. In terms of the First opportunity we’re looking at, which is improving care for congestive heart failure patients. Yeah.
Nate: So for us non technical people, non healthcare tech, specifically people, can you talk to us about IOT, just 10, of what is IOT?
Ray: Yeah, definitely. So your internet of things,
Matt: those who aren’t indoctrinated in the acronyms of startup world.
Ray: Yeah. Yeah. And connected solutions. So think about having a sensor that trend is transmitting a signal in an environment. And we’re capturing the data that’s on the other end of that sensor and just transporting it up to the cloud.
Matt: Yep. And a lot of times the software is like turning that data into information, right? And exactly looking at patterns, looking at diagnostics and Predictive.
Nate: This is very similar to we had Ariana McGee on from Navigate Maternity. Yeah. And that’s an I, we didn’t talk about IOT in that episode, but that’s what I’m getting the, a
Yeah. Definitely. Some of the other terms you might hear of are like say connected medical device, as an example. And yeah there’s definitely a few names that you’ll hear, but yeah, it’s all about data at the end of the day.
Matt: And you’ve been pretty entrepreneurial your entire life.
Yes. You take us all the way back to your earliest entrepreneurial memory.
Ray: Yeah, definitely. So I would say. The, I would say when the switch clicked for me was, I used to love buying toys or not buying toys, but getting toys when I was a little kid. Sure. And who doesn’t? Yeah. And my favorite toy.
Star Wars. Oh, Star Wars. Man. Oh, that was huge. Like the original trilogy or like the reboot? The original trilogy. Let’s,
Matt: let’s not get into reboots. They’re, prequel, sequel. Yeah. They’re really, the original is the best.
Ray: The originals are the best. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Oh, come on,
Matt: They’re, they’re the best.
Ray: Oh no. A hundred percent. Huge Luke Skywalker fan. And I actually remember the last toy my dad bought me because that’s where it all started. It was this Luke Skywalker action figure from empire strikes back. We’re at Kmart, wanted the toy. My dad looks at me and he says, this is going to be the last toy I ever bought.
Going forward. If you want toys, you’re going to have to buy them yourself. So after that, I actually we used to go down to the farmer’s market on weekends. I went up to one of the gentlemen at the farmer’s market, got a little job, sweeping floors. Yes. And, I never had asked my dad to buy a toy for me ever again after that one.
That’s pretty incredible.
Matt: How old were you? Nine years old. That’s wild. That’s so wild. Yeah, and is vital view the first business you’ve ever started that you’ve raised money for?
Ray: Ah, so yeah, so the first this is the first one where I’ve actually raised external capital I’ve done I’ve been a part of startup since about 2011.
I’ve been a part of startups where I Started things up with a few classmates I’ve been a part of those where I was an early employee. Most recently I was an early employee over at Lime Bike. Okay. Now Lime Scooters. Yeah. So that was a great experience. Wait, what? Yeah.
Nate: No way. Okay. Yeah.
Tell us about the early as in what number employee at Lime?
Ray: Oh, so definitely at that point we were probably in… 30s, 40s,
Nate: Man, that is, that had to be a wild experience.
Ray: What were you doing there? So Notre Dame, not a lot of people know this, but Notre Dame and South Bend was one of Lyme’s first case study schools, if you will.
And what they needed was like brand managers, especially because they were dropping anywhere like a thousand bikes at that time. They didn’t even have scooters yet.
Nate: I remember this, right? So I went to a wedding in South Bend, three or four years ago, and they had the bikes that you could rent and I was like, they don’t have these in Indy what’s going on up here in South Bend literally rent these bikes all around South Bend.
Yeah. Yeah Okay, I see it coming together now.
Ray: Yeah, so what did you learn during that experience? Oh my goodness I learned the power of storytelling Trying to Dumbed down. I would say a vision for people that they can get behind. Gain energy from I also learned the power of team not only one per, I’ve always been a part of startups where it was like very small or like solar entrepreneur.
I learned about like when you’re scaling a business. How to build a team in terms of looking at, for example, different personality types and bring on people that kind of like balance you and gain energy from things that aren’t necessarily, let’s say your sweet spot. We had a great leadership team at Lyme.
We also had really great investors as well that partnered with the company for the longterm. So I think I learned a lot about. What to do things to do correctly and then also learning experiences along the way as well
Nate: So you’ve been part of startups right since 2011. You said like pretty early employees.
Yeah solopreneurs Why did you want to go off and start your own or build your own company?
Ray: Yeah, I would say my parents are older so my dad’s 89 for example and growing up. We Unfortunately went to a lot of funerals if you would And you’d always hear about lives lived well and then lives where there was a little bit of regret, wish they would have done this.
One of the things that’s really important for me is impact in whatever I can do. And I saw entrepreneurship whether it was from my father or whether from Joe Ruffini. He was the person at the farmer’s market as a way where you can impact the lives of not just your family, but your community as well.
So I knew I wanted to throw my hat in the ring and try to help people.
Matt: You had a really unique community at Notre Dame. Tell us a little bit about what was going on at Notre Dame at the time. What was going on in business? What was going on in innovation? I haven’t been up there for years, sadly.
But I know that there’s been a lot of initiatives to really bolster entrepreneurship on campus there.
Ray: Yeah I think the university has done a lot in terms of putting a flag down of saying this is part of their long term vision, that they want to provide students to be a part of, provide access to.
When I got to Notre Dame I went there for my MBA. I started working in their idea center, which is like their innovation park, if you would. I started off as an analyst and then when I graduated, I started working as an entrepreneur in residence. For their venture fund. So for the first time I got a look from the other side of, what these firms are going through in terms of just looking at deal flow, what’s their thesis and how they go about making decisions when it comes to funding a company.
And I would say what areas they’re interested in as well. So when you’re thinking about overall alignment, yeah, it was definitely an invaluable experience.
Matt: Any particular things that you learned when you were in that role on the other side of the table, looking at the deal flow, looking at all these different companies?
Ray: Yeah, I would say it’s definitely empathizing, empathizing with investors. They definitely have a lot on them because they’re beholden to their LPs. Sure. And. it Might sound like a long time, but once you raise a fund, you have about, depending on what kind of fund it is, you typically have 10 years, to make investments, but then also start returning capital to those LPs.
So that’s why timelines are very important. That’s why understanding various sectors are very important because if we really want to have a vibrant entrepreneurship, I would say ecosystem. We also got to make sure that we’re getting wins for these fund managers so that they can have a fund two, a fund three, a fund four.
When people think about the coast, for example you think about the names like Sequoia, A16Z Battery Ventures in Boston. All of them have been able to return a lot of capital over the years. And that builds trust with their LP networks that help create that flywheel, so that was very eyeopening.
Nate: Were there Any tips for founders that you learned from the VC side that you applied in your fundraising experience today?
Ray: Oh, 100%. One of the things that I’ve always tried to champion now is if an entrepreneur has a chance to even work for free, volunteer at a venture fund somehow some way, or just figure out ways to be helpful.
Whether it’s like scouting, providing deal flow, it’s all about relationships. And I found that it takes, by the time someone is comfortable to write, say a bigger check, especially when you’re beyond the pre seed level and you’re looking at either a seed. Or a seed extension or a series A, those are bigger checks you’re typically talking about and they want to have an opportunity just to get to know you as a human being.
Yeah. Put the business deck to the side, assume that the technology works, assume that you’re going after a big market. Who are you? What are your values? Are you going to be here for the long term? Can I trust you that no matter if things are good or if things aren’t working so good, I can pick up the phone and just have a straightforward conversation with you.
Matt: Yeah. Yeah. Are there things that you saw entrepreneurs do that were common mistakes in that realm?
Ray: Yeah. So and I think it can, we can get a little bogged down sometimes and Just what we’re working on. Sure. Because we live and breathe it every single day, and you’re almost taught to, hey, work on your pitch deck, work on your elevator pitch, and if those things are correct, people will invest.
I don’t think we spend like enough time in terms of figuring out what other these investors are like as people. What fund are they on? When did they close that fund? Just so that you can put yourself in their shoes to even understand if you do get to know why it is and how you can best position yourself to not only they see the opportunity, but also want to be more invested in you going forward.
Matt: Yeah, absolutely. I I’m trying to think of all the startup pitches that I’ve seen. There are a few that really stand out to me. Are there ones for you that when you see those pitches, you’re like, Oh, this is a pro this entrepreneur gets it. What are those things that those entrepreneurs consistently do really
Ray: well? I would say
they, they do a really good job of simplifying, what’s going on, whether who’s the customer, what the pain point is. And how you’re creating value um, in a few short senses that anybody could understand. Yeah,
Matt: Really simplifying that story. And obviously being able to go deeper.
Any entrepreneur can go for days about their startup or project.
Nate: Which slide in your deck is most important?
Ray: Oh, good question. Oh, I would say um, that’s actually a really good one. I’d say a couple. So I would say, of course your team, right? Because these are the people that are going to be in the foxhole with you.
And then of course, I would say your mission slide as well. Because again, like whether times are good or I would say tough, you got to have that kind of guiding light that. This is the reason why you’re waking up every morning. It’s going to help you just to power through. Yeah Then I’ll right there didn’t just go to the pain point Understanding why care who really has the problem.
And it’s just empathizing with them, you know
Nate: I didn’t hear a single thing about Tam right there. I’D like to dive just one more layer deeper on that. You’re talking about the team side is super important. Yeah, we have a lot of Midwestern founders that do not like to brag about themselves.
Yeah. How do you write a really good team slide that features your own accomplishments?
Ray: Ah, so I would say it has to balance out what you’re good at. I think investors want to understand that. Yes. You can be a rock star, but if you can have self awareness of understanding, where you, what activities you don’t have the experience with, or you don’t gain energy from, and you’re able to build a team around people that are all stars in those specific points.
I think that’s very important. More so than focusing on accomplishments or what makes you a rock star. Another thing investors want to see is, all right, if this is your founding team. How long have you guys been together? How long have you guys been working together? Is this just something that came together in the past three or six months?
Or have you guys worked together over a number of years? They like to see that because they know over a number of years, that’s when you go through the real work. Yep. And that’s how you really know that someone’s gonna be there, at the end of the day. So take my two actually my three co founders.
We’ve been together for over four years now. Wow. How did you all meet? Yeah, so I met Dr. Rick Snyder. He’s one of the top cardiologists in this country. He’s actually a Notre Dame grad. And he was working with the Innovation Center. And he’s the one who identified that, hey, if this faculty research could have an impact in the health care space.
When it comes to a monitoring and a connected solution could be created, it could create a lot of value when it comes to not just helping people, but decreasing costs in our system and not only did he want to, be an advisor early on, but he also wanted to be an investor as well. He started simply advising two days a month, in terms of the overall steering direction.
While it was still incubating at the university.
Matt: And did you know that this was going to be your company at the time?
Ray: No. Right at that point, this was just something that he and I both found interesting. And I was making progress while I was incubating it at the university. And it just flowed, the relationship.
Next thing, when I was looking at figuring out how we were going to productize the technology. I got the chance to meet my CTO, Chris Rauh, who actually happens to be one of the top minds when it comes to commercializing RF sensors. He had a long career at Texas Instruments, and I literally found him by, cold calling a bunch of different say, vendors, if you would.
Not only, it was funny, he also had, a Notre Dame degree as well. But again, he started off simply just advising the company in terms of cause he just really loved this kind of technology. And over say six to eight months when we figured out that, hey, this was actually going to be spun off into a company, it was natural because we just loved working together and we balanced each other out.
And then the fourth person, our COO, Cassandra Adams. Only one, not a Notre Dame grad, but when it came to the clinical side and the regulatory side, those were aspects that she was actually an expert in. She spent a lot of her career doing that for medical companies. And again, it just flowed. And what I also made sure to do was that they They met each other.
Yeah. And you could also see that the personality types Really interlocked very well. We each brought something different to the table and that’s how you make magic
Nate: Yeah, you said the term incubating what while you were incubating this company at Notre Dame can you talk to us a little bit about what that process looks like?
Ray: Yeah, so when you’re talking about especially federally funded research It it’s typically very novel and it can have multiple applications in terms of different sectors that it can go into. So a lot of that incubating is talking to a lot of various subject matter experts in different sectors to figure out, okay, where is the most impact where this can truly be differentiated and helpful and settling on one go to market.
That’s very clear to give you an idea of the research that vital views based on had applications within defense, industrial ag tech, for example, but met the healthcare space is definitely where after we’d done all the research done all the exploratory brainstorms is where he wanted to go first.
Matt: When you looked at this opportunity. Was there a time where you like knew, like this was it, you needed to be a part of this full time?
Ray: Oh, a hundred percent. Take us back to that moment.
Matt: Yeah. What was going on? How long had you been working with these folks?
Ray: I would say I’ve been working with these folks for about two, two or so months.
Yeah, if you would, and I had experience in IOT from my time with Lime. Sure. And so it’s just, you’re, instead of doing connected micromobility solutions, right now we’re doing connected tools for care teams. Yeah. And so I could understand like how the technical infrastructure would look like, but then I understood that, hey if this hit on some really big themes at the time, which is big data, while there are a lot of sensor devices out there that can get you the same kind of data sets, whether it’s like heart rate, things like that, that multiple people can do. If you were able to have software that could extract different unique data points that others couldn’t, that could lead to a lot of different opportunities.
Take our first use case with congestive heart failure patients. 90 percent of hospital readmissions from CHF patients are because of what’s called fluid overload. The key metric there is measuring total body fluid, change in total body fluid. And unfortunately there aren’t sensor devices that can do that today, especially in a non contact way.
And so using this, faculty research, we can get the underlying raw data set necessary to provide care teams that measurement and what can they do with that measurement? This can lead them to step in and provide preventative care services that are necessary prior to a costly hospitalization.
The average hospitalization for a heart failure patient is over $15,000.
Nate: So walk it through. You talked about the key to a good pitch is simplicity. Yep. For the listeners that might, are starting to put it together of what you’re taking to market first thing, beachhead. Yep. Lay it out in a simple way for us.
Ray: Yeah. When you, can you rephrase that?
Nate: Yeah the current, I remember when you pitched, you talked about like your current product that the first product you guys are bringing to market, the actual sensor. And then how it all works to reduce hospital visits for for congestive heart failure patients.
Ray: Exactly, yeah. Yeah. Yeah, so I would say the first place to start is simply putting things into numbers. So for example, in my case, There are over 900, 000 hospitalizations that occur each year for heart failure patients. That’s a big problem. Big problem. Is that re hospitalizations? So those are hospitalizations in general.
Okay. And then one in two patients are readmitted within six months. Wow.
Nate: Okay. Yeah, that’s in terms of numbers. We think through tech stuff like 50 percent back in the not good, not good, not good at all. Not good.
Ray: And then when you add in the average cost of each of those hospitalizations, then it’s wow.
Okay. $15, 000 each one. That’s, that can get pretty expensive very quickly. Yeah, absolutely. And then the key data point after that is that, all right, when you look in at those re hospitalizations, 90 percent of them are due to the fact of fluid overload. And if you had this one data point, it could help.
So much when it comes to impacting and reducing those hospitalizations.
Nate: And is your product, we talked about this with Navigate Maternity, is this like a prescription? Like it comes out like you, someone experiences congestive heart failure, they’re discharged from the hospital and they get a prescription to a VitalView sensor?
Exactly. And the sensor, I think I remember from the screen, it’s goes under your bed?
Ray: Right, it’s a bed sensor. So basically we’re able to take nightly readings right before the patient goes to sleep. That’s amazing.
Nate: And this, these things like, I love these kind of episodes that like brings the cross sector innovation, right?
The hard tech, the physical sensor with the software, the data and how it all works together. I wear Garmin, people wear Apple watches, like there are all these pushes into like the. The health tech space and the cross sector innovation of that and it’s okay, heart rate pulse, like I think I have VO two max on this thing and it’s that makes sense, but I have to wear it everywhere.
Matt has a whoop. You have to charge it every night. Like you have to remember take it on and off your wrist and put it on. I feel like naked these days. I go out without it. But just being able to like. I just see like this huge opportunity. Obviously you want to stay very dialed on what you’re doing, but like the opportunity to lay down in bed and like all the different readings for your health that could come from that, like that’s really exciting to me.
Ray: Oh yeah. Like one of the things that if you think about trends that you’re going to see going forward are, we’re called like say ambiance sensing room sensors that when you just walk in. You’re able to get those key data points without any wearables. One example that Dr. Snyder likes to bring up is Star Trek. Yeah. So like in the early episodes, they would have this I think it was called a tri corridor. And it’s like this bed sensor where you go lay down on it and then all these data points magically just come and appear and they know exactly what to do. I think that we’re going to get to the point where that kind of device is very possible.
And that kind of like really excites me about the future.
Nate: Are you ready to transform your brand with award winning video content that captures your vision and connects with your audience? Check out Alchemy, the experts at building your brand using video. From story driven social media snippets that leave a lasting impression to compelling full length documentaries, they have got the expertise to take your brand to the next level.
Alchemy is actually our video partner here on Get IN and they do amazing work all the videos across social Across youtube all that is done by alchemy and they’re an amazing partner to work with Reach out to me nate at powder keg or check out alchemyfilmco.com to get connected with alden and his team They will take care of all of your video needs
Matt: Talk to us a little bit about some of the other things that you’re excited about in health tech, you know Maybe that vital view isn’t even doing currently Yeah, what are some of those things that you’ve seen come out recently or you anticipate will be coming out soon?
Ray: Yeah, so like we all know about that inflection point when chat GPT really said a statement in a way of Hey, generative AI, it’s no longer a thing. It’s actually really here and the regular person can use it and find utility. I think that it’s going to have, when you just think about clinical AI, for example, when it comes to these algorithms that you see, a lot of it came from having to do a lot of manual development.
With clinical AI, a lot of that algorithm development is going to be able to be done what used to take months in seconds. So there’s just going to be using neural networks. You’re going to be able to see a lot more data points come out in the future. And it’s going to be able to help a lot of different people, which is what I’m like excited about.
Matt: Yeah, that’s really cool. Yeah. Any other tech?
Ray: I would say I’d say clinically eyes, the big one I’m seeing right now. Yeah,
Matt: That’s huge. I am. I think it’s so fascinating that you’re taking all these different experiences from your past, applying them now at vital view. And it all incubated at Notre Dame.
Yeah. And sometimes academia doesn’t always get the best reputation as a place where innovation can happen. Research can happen there, but then the actually innovating it and getting it to market is really challenging. What are some of the things that you think Notre Dame does well to like actually take that research that’s being done on campus and get it to market?
Ray: Yeah, I would say one of the things the university does pretty well is not just put a lot of emphasis on their alumni network, if you would, but also taking long term bets. And I think they’ve definitely gained a reputation that, hey, if we’re going to try something out. Their partners can really understand that.
Hey they’re going to do this for the long term and whether it’s a win or kind of like how Marcus Freeman says, Hey, we either win or we learn, they’re going to learn and they’re going to try to come back better.
Nate: Matt Marcus Freeman is a Football coach for the fighting Irish.
Ray: Not a sports guy.
Matt: I grew up going to Notre Dame football games, but I don’t remember any of it. I more remember the like hot dogs and all the tailgates. Yeah.
Ray: The tailgates are definitely legendary. Legendary.
Nate: Growing up. Yeah. I, so I’m from just South of South Bend. So I’ve had my fair share of Irish tailgates and it’s a great time.
And it’s awesome to see all the new developments happening in South Bend, just overall in general. We have an episode with. Bethany Hartley and we had
Ray: Bethany’s awesome.
Nate: Iris Hamill they’re doing some amazing work. Who’s oversees the idea center up there? Oh, so it’s Kelly Rich. Kelly Rich.
All right. That might need to be a future future episode.
Ray: Oh, a hundred percent. I would say Kelly’s definitely a great when it comes to not only say setting that vision, but then that execution of it. Because it’s a daily Especially when you do those long ranging missions it’s a daily program and it really takes really getting into the weeds to figure out how to make things work.
Matt: What are some of the ways you’ve seen the idea center and just Notre Dame in general evolve over the last several years?
Ray: Yeah. So one of the things I saw was of course they started with the venture fund. Yep. That allowed them to really not just look at it from the. research university lens, but also step into it with investors and understand.
I always bring up that word, empathize with what they need to be successful. Yep. They’re now going on to doing a fun too, right now that is going to also have a venture studio component that I found the very interesting. I think they’re working with a high alpha team down here in Indy, so I think they’re also doing that great job of not just focusing on that South Bend network, but extending to the other great resources that we have here in the state.
Matt: So smart. I love that. We mentioned educational background. One of the things that I find so interesting is a decent number of our guests have a background in theater. Yeah. Tell me a little bit about that for you and how that’s applied to your own entrepreneurial journey, if at all.
Ray: Oh, yeah.
I would say naturally, I’m actually a bit of an introvert. Yeah. I get that. And one of the things with, that I loved about acting, It got you on stage it helps you have say presence and also get, turn some of those, I would say areas that necessarily wouldn’t be strong points.
For you to figure out what you really love about them and to be successful.
Nate: Yeah. So besides public speaking because obviously there’s like a one to one correlation of acting helps with public speaking. What are a few other lessons you learned in your time as an actor that applies to what you’re doing today with Vital View?
Ray: Yeah, I would say also storytelling. Yeah. Because one of the things that I was a part of was looking in theater. A theater group throughout high school. And one of the things that we would do is write our own scripts. So we’d always have to think about that audience of alright, what are they going to find compelling?
What words, your word choice is very important as well. And trying to like, say, bring people into that story with you.
Nate: I think that is a superpower. Like whether it is, you’re giving a slide presentation in college or you’re, like whatever, like you’re a data analyst or whatever, anytime you’re presenting something, really telling the story and putting yourself in the audience’s shoes is going to keep people awake.
Yes. Like even if the most boring subject, if you have someone who’s a captivating storyteller, it can make all the difference.
Ray: Oh my goodness. Like you, you’ll see it in movies, for example, like some of these directors, say a Christopher Nolan for example I would say he’s, he’d be probably one of my favorites.
tO your point about subject matters that could seem very put you to sleep, you’re engaged. Whether it’s
Matt: How does Christopher Nolan tell a story? What do you like about his style?
Ray: I would say he focuses on every aspect in terms of what he can bring in to keep you engaged, whether it’s music, for example that’s very big.
As well as, say, actor selection. He typically likes to work with actors he, he knows. Or he’s built a rapport over a number of years. So they can have that one to one relationship when they get on camera. Or in those rooms. Another thing that he does is, I believe no cellphones are allowed on set. It’s all about being…
And gets just automatically just engaged with what’s going on.
Nate: I think there’s so much, you’re talking about one to one relationships. They are one to one relationships with investors. It all comes back to, it’s about these relationships. I think that’s so powerful. I’d like to talk as we’re getting close to our time here.
I’d like to talk about where vital view is today. Can I, how far you guys have come thus far and what’s on the roadmap going forward?
Ray: Oh yeah, 100%. So like one of the things that we did that was very pivotal for the company last year was that we had our human proof of concept studies, which were third party studies that were led by a clinical research organization that went phenomenally well.
We just hit another milestone in terms of having design freeze on what our product’s going to look like for going to market. Yeah. And now we’re getting ready to close on a round of funding in order to say, help us like take that next step and hit some huge milestones that we have set up for 2024.
Matt: Congrats. Thanks, man. That’s so huge. It has been really awesome to root for you, learn about Vital Views. Early success and momentum. We came up with a game. Oh! Games! This may be a terrible idea, but we’re gonna give it a shot if you’re down to play. I’m down to play. Which it seems like you are.
This is an either or game. Okay. We created these Is it this or that, right? Yeah, it’s a this or that. You can only pick one, so it’s a binary game. There’s no wrong answers. This is very personal, right? Because it probably depends on the kind of company, depends on the kind of entrepreneur.
This is just for you. Yeah, Ray Frazier Which would you prefer? And why? And why? All right. Ready? First, first two. A lead investor or a strategic investor?
Ray: Oh, so this right now, I would say it all depends on stage of the company. Okay. So if you’re an early stage company, lead investor is huge. Now, when you’re getting closer to, let’s say, an A, B, C, then you’re going to want your strategic investors, but your lead investor.
Because they’re gonna, they provide, let’s say, early customers for you. They also provide, I would say, credibility for you as well in terms of getting in the market. Your lead investor is like in the foxhole with you. And then they live and breathe the company as well. They also are the person that those other investors that are part of your syndicate.
Look towards yeah in terms of leadership and guidance. So yeah, great answer.
Nate: We also get to the name of the game is fundraising flashcards Oh nice fundraising flashcards and for our listeners that are just listening If you go to YouTube, you can see all the fun visual
Matt: fundraising flashcards our next one best card ready
Ray: All right.
Matt: Hot tech or traction? Ooh. So hot tech would be like AI blockchain. Not so much now blockchain, but would you rather have hot tech or traction?
Ray: So again, this would be stage as well. Yeah. Hot tech to start the company because people want to know what’s the moat going to be. A lot of these investments are going to take five to seven years.
Competition’s going to come and you’re going to need to have protection. Traction when you’re going from that pre seed to seed and series A, because then it’s all about how have you been executing with other investor money.
Nate: I love that. Great answers. Round three, fundraising flashcards.
Ray: These are fun guys.
Matt: 1, boom. Great pitch deck or an amazing product demo?
Ray: So one will, I would say this one that will always win is going to be the great pitch deck. To get an amazing product demo as we get more and more into tech or the evolution, I feel like back in the nineties, it’d be easy to do say a product demo with some duct tape nowadays, especially if you’re talking about hardware software component, it’s going to take some investment.
So I’d say start with the pitch deck be able to tell that story and then yeah amazing product demo. Unless you’re going on shark tank. Yeah, unless you’re going on Oh if you can bring that if you can bring it out there, there’s nothing that makes a great demo Yeah,
Nate: I love it. All right fundraising flashcards round four three two one
Matt: profitability Or momentum.
Ray: see, all these are dependent on like stage. We try to make these tricky. Yeah, so like momentum, definitely, especially if you’re pre revenue. And I would say markets that are, let’s say, high regulation, like whether it’s…
Matt: What would the momentum be in a pre revenue company if the momentum isn’t revenue?
Ray: Yeah, so in terms of say, healthcare startup that there’s an FDA track, it’s all about clinical data. Yeah. Do you have good data? It’s a yes or no. And so you typically want to start looking at fundraising after that, right before or right after, or like you have, say a good meeting whether it’s an FDA pre sub or something like that, but then profitability again, once you get there, nothing beats profitability because that also leads to product market fit.
Those investors can then go and talk to
Nate: Profitability leads to product market fit. It’s not exactly. Wow. Yeah. Oh, yeah. Interesting.
Ray: Because your first customers are going to tell you not only what works, what they love, but what you need to fix. And those investors can have that real conversation like, yes, you are first customer.
You wrote a first check. But is this something that you really need or when times get rough, are you going to drop this product?
Nate: I want to do a quick quick sidebar. Do you have advice for getting those first couple customers? Yeah, the ones that are not gonna be like, oh, this doesn’t work exactly how it’s supposed to be and I don’t want it anymore
Ray: Yeah, 100 percent this comes down to relationships before you need them start reaching out.
Yeah, like I Would say and give those relationships a good like say six months If you would just go reach out, tell them a little bit of, Hey, what’s your building? Because again, those first customers are going to be in the foxhole with you. Just like that lead investor. I also wouldn’t try to go in there.
Think about you have it all figured out. Be very transparent in terms of where you are, the type of help that you need, the kind of impact you want to have. And I find that not only allows them to be very honest with you Hey, are you solving a problem? But even if you’re not seeing it fully, they can help guide you and mentor.
I think that Indy and Indy especially is doing like a great job in terms of like those networking events. For various sectors that are really good. We just had the rally conference a couple of weeks ago. Such a great event. I think TOEF and the whole entire Elevate team is doing an amazing job when it comes to bringing these people and stakeholders that can be very helpful together.
Matt: Yeah, totally agree. Great answer. Alright, you ready for the last one?
Nate: Yeah. Fundraising flashcards. Here we go. Final round. Final round.
Matt: Final boss. Industry relationships or brand awareness.
Ray: I’d say again stage, industry relationships comes first. Yep. Because it’s not just about whether you have like that one, one investor or the best product.
If you’re going to get it out there, you’re going to need to have all those stakeholders that are in that ecosystem involved. And if they’re not even involved on a day to day basis. Understand their vantage point, what they’re looking for. Cause they’re the ones who are going to make you successful, especially in the very beginning.
But then when you reach a growth stage, like a series, a. Or B, it’s all about brand awareness.
Nate: How important are industry relationships and health tech specifically?
Ray: Oh, very important. Yeah. Very important. I would imagine especially.
Nate: I was arguing like more important like software, but in health, it’s like such a, it just feels gated to crack into that.
It’s very complex and difficult. And you talk about FDA track and all this stuff. And I feel like industry relationships would be super important there.
Ray: Very important. Very important. And one of the things I do love about that community is that they do galvanize, around each other and I think like one of the things that really excites me about healthcare is a lot of silos that used to be around are really coming down.
That’s gonna lead to a lot better opportunities and outcomes for not only patients but I would say our whole entire. Ecosystem.
Matt: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, it’s exciting time. Yeah, it’s a very exciting time I appreciate you one sharing your journey to humoring us with fundraising flashcards.
Those are great answers. Thank you. I’m very excited to share that.
Nate: The visual segments are still new for us, and these are going pretty well so far. And if listeners out there have other ideas for segments that they want to give us, please let us know. We’re all here for it. Yep.
Matt: We do have one final segment.
If you’re down to play, it’s the lightning round. Lightning round. No wrong answers.
Nate: Wrong answers. First thing that comes to your mind. We have three questions for you. All right, outside of the amazing entrepreneurial ecosystem. What is Indiana known for?
Ray: I’d say Sports.
Nate: Ah, wrong. No, just kidding. Ah.
Amateur sports capital of the world. Let’s go.
Ray: I’m sorry, Matt, but. Yeah, totally.
Nate: Hey, the Irish. One, one loss. It’s all right. That was a crazy game with Ohio State, they’re going to bounce back.
Ray: Yeah. Again, like Marcus said, we win or we learn. I
Nate: think there’s some guys from the West Coast coming into town in a few weeks.
Few weeks. The USC guys said that I think that the Irish will handle them. I
Ray: think it’s going to be a really good game. I think yeah, it’ll be fun. I think we’re looking forward to
Nate: that one. That’s what the, if so, if Marcus says you either win or you learn people in the tailgate lot, either they either win or they have
Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. No matter what, you’re going to have a great time. Encourage anybody to come up for it.
Nate: What is a hidden gem in Indiana?
Ray: I’d go and say the dunes the dunes are good I’m also a foodie, so St. Elmo’s. Oh, yeah. Andy, oh my goodness. Those
Matt: are both great answers, and I’m surprised no one has said the dunes yet.
Nate: has, Toph has a stat, he’ll, he can break it out. It’s like we have so much, like 45 miles of coastline in Lake Michigan up there it’s wild. The dunes are fun.
Ray: Like you look at it. It’s beautiful. Cause I think that’s right there, Lake Michigan. It looks like an ocean. Yeah.
Nobody can tell me that’s, I can’t see that other side of it. Yeah, totally.
Nate: Final question of the lightning round. Who is someone we need to keep on our radar? Someone who is doing big things.
Ray: I’d go ahead and say Shaun Hawkins. Who is Sean Hawkins? So he’s part of Peer70 Ventures. They’re actually one of our co leads on our round.
I just think like he also used to be a part of Eli Lilly Ventures as well. So definitely, loves Indiana. I think that when you look at those who are not only in it, but are thinking long term, I think he has a great mind. I think everyone over at the IEDC, Ryan Locke over there is doing big things.
Aaron Gillum, for 50 South is also doing big things. Absolutely. And then some of the great guests that you guys have had. We’re very fortunate. Is amazing. Oscar Morales. We need to get Oscar on here. Yeah. I would say. He’s in the building. Yeah. Oscar, come downstairs. Oh, yeah. I think one of your guests might have brought him up.
Yeah he’s definitely another one as well.
Matt: Yeah great answers. I could ask you another hour of questions, but we are totally at our time, and I’m sure you’ve got some That flew by! Go investors to close, our deals to, to ink with some hospitals.
Nate: Yeah, great, thank you so much, this was amazing.
I do want to say to the listeners, if… You want to get your company represented on, Get IN, you want your startup, your organization, send us three large t shirts. We’ll give you a minute ad read. We’ll talk about you and what you’re doing in the community, but send them to 16 tech here in Indianapolis and address them to Nate or Patrick and we’ll give your show a shout out.
Ray, thank you so much for coming on the show. This was amazing.
Ray: Congrats on all the success with Vital View. Thank you guys so much. We, I appreciate it. And yeah, this was a lot of fun. We had a blast.
Matt: This was good. 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 slash 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. Since you just listened to this podcast, you might be thinking about starting one for your company. Lucky for you, our partners over at Casted have you covered. Casted is the first and only. Only podcast and video marketing platform made specifically for B2B brands.
I love this about them. The platform makes it possible to publish, syndicate, amplify, and measure the value of your podcast and video content. In fact, we use it for our podcast here at powder keg. And if you’re a startup, You should listen up because Casted for startups is definitely for you. They are offering exclusive deep discounts of up to 82 percent off retail price for qualifying startups.
Connect with Casted at casted.us/powderkeg.