The Blog


(July 6, 2017) – The Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) announced the promotion of Samantha “Sam” Roach-Gerber to Director of Innovation, a role in which she will continue to accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship throughout Vermont.SRGheadshot

Since starting as VCET’s Manager of Community Engagement and Operations in February 2016, Roach-Gerber has expanded membership to over 170 members across three locations, launched and co-hosted VCET’s podcast, Start Here, and spearheaded the Female Founders Speaker Series, which highlights some of Vermont’s most innovative women entrepreneurs.

“Sam adds value to entrepreneurs and Vermont’s innovation ecosystem in so many ways,” said David Bradbury, President of VCET. “She is moving the needle forward for Vermont’s startups and the VCET organization.”

Roach-Gerber will take on the role of Director of Innovation beginning July 1st, working to expand the organization’s programming and partnerships for the continued benefit of Vermont’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. She will also take on a more active role in coaching and consulting the 300+ entrepreneurs that come through VCET’s doors each year seeking business advice and mentoring.

 

Congratulations to VCET member Artur Adib on the launch of AllYouCanTech, a resource that alleviates a problem we’ve all faced: finding tech employers, jobs, and events in Vermont. You can read more about the launch of AllYouCanTech in this press release.

Read on here…

Start Here co-hosts Sam Roach-Gerber and David Bradbury had the pleasure of joining the team at Fox 44 this morning to discuss entrepreneurship, podcasting, and innovation.

Check out the full interview here, and be sure to subscribe to Start Here on Soundcloud and iTunes!

Today, we are proud to announce the official release of Start Here: a podcast sharing the stories of active, aspiring, and accidental entrepreneurs! Hosted by David Bradbury & Sam Roach-Gerber and produced by Ryan Bahan, Start Here bridges the gap between entertainment and inspiration by showcasing the raw, unfiltered stories of today’s top innovators. It is available on Soundcloud now, and will be streaming on iTunes beginning 12/14/16!

Keep up with the podcast here, and make sure to subscribe!

 

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Hey VCET Members!

“I’ll never understand why Superman wears the same outfits every day.”

Us either, Harley.

 

So here’s your chance to wear a totally different outfit, dress up for Halloween, win some swag, and drink some beer!

On Monday, VCET is hosting a Halloween Photo Contest. Get dressed up in your most impressive costume, snap a photo, put it up on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, and tag us!

Submit your photos by 4pm on Monday, 10/31, for a chance to win some awesome VCET prizes!

There will be an awards ceremony at 4 at the downtown BTV office. Feel free to come in costume! We’ll look through all the entries, drink beers, eat candy!

To tag us use the following accounts:
Twitter: @VCET
Instagram: @vcet.co
You really put the ‘fun’ in funeral. 
 Contact Hunter@vcet.co with any questions.

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What’s your story? How did you get here?

Ethan has a fairly extensive professional history in healthcare management and IT. Personally, he’s been working in the field for twelve years, but his family is also involved in the same industry. Because of all of that experience, Ethan knew he wanted to impact patient care, so he started working on solutions to improve healthcare using innovation and his entrepreneurial instincts.

Break down OhMD for us in a one-liner. Go ahead and brag about your successes!
Essentially, OhMD is WhatsApp for healthcare; a secure messaging system for doctors and patients. Ethan and OhMD put emphasis on understanding consumer trends to leverage them for healthcare benefits. One of those trends is that people prefer texting over calling. The other is that patients and healtcare professionals both have universally frustrating experiences with doctor patient communication. For Ethan, combining the two phenomenon seemed a natural choice. Investors agree. Recently, OhMD has raised a seed fund of $1.2million from some very experienced healthcare IT professionals, which is HUGE. He has big plans for how this funding will be used for the benefit of the app, but he did also get some t-shirts made, because swag is important.

What’s coming next down the OhMD pipeline?
The company has found its product, found its product market fit, and secured funding. The next step is making it scalable and getting it in front of people. OhMD is currently taking off and growing efficiently.

What’s your favorite thing about working with VCET?
According to Ethan, “VCET is a place you feel good about going to everyday”. I didn’t even ask him to plug us, but he legitimately had nothing bad to say. He said that it’s easy to want to work at home, but the office is a more productive environment. It’s a great physical space, as well as networking opportunity because almost everyone in this community has some sort of expertise you can leverage.

Finally, if you had to give up either chocolate or cheese, which would you choose?
He must be some kind of monster. He didn’t even hesitate to cut out cheese, because “There is no other chocolate”. We admire your dedication, Ethan.

Check out OhMD here

 

Hunter is a senior at the University of Vermont working as a Social Media and Communications Associate at VCET. She is majoring in Public Communication with an emphasis in visual communication. At VCET, Hunter works with social media, communication content creation, graphics and visual design, and event planning. When not in the office, Hunter is usually climbing up the side of a mountain, coaching a rock climbing team, or taking pictures of the world around her.

 

Interested parties please contact Sam Roach-Gerber with cover letter and resume: sam@vcet.co

Digital Media and Technology Intern:

Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) is seeking a Digital Media and Technology Associate. If you consider yourself tech savvy and self-motivated, this position is for you!

Requirements:

  • Ability to record and edit audio files including proficiency with GarageBand
  • Experience with creating newsletter email campaigns through MailChimp
  • Proficient in WordPress with the ability to implement simple web updates in a timely manner

Responsibilities:

  • Record and edit company audio files using GarageBand
  • Create custom campaigns through MailChimp in coordination with the VCET team
  • Implement simple web updates
  • Assist with other tech-heavy tasks as needed

Compensation and Schedule:

  • $15/hour, no other benefits
  • ~10-20 hours/week

Social Media and Communications Intern:

Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) is seeking a Social Media and Communications Associate. If you consider yourself a social media expert, and enjoy writing and meeting new people, this position is for you!

Requirements:

  • Experience creating social media plans and schedules
  • Skilled with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and social media management platforms (like Hootsuite)
  • Exceptional writing skills
  • Comfortable meeting and interacting with new people

Responsibilities:

  • Manage VCET’s social media channels
  • Interview VCET’s current and former members to share their stories
  • Create content for biweekly newsletter
  • Draft press releases as needed
  • Assist with VCET’s events
  • Take on various research projects as assigned

Compensation and Schedule:

  • $15/hour, no other benefits.
  • ~10-20 hours/week

Interested parties please contact Sam Roach-Gerber with cover letter and resume: sam@vcet.co

 As usual, a huge thank you to our supporters:

UVM, Vermont Technology Council, Middlebury College, Vermont Agency of Commerce, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, VT EPSCoR, Fairpoint Communications, and GBIC.

Member Spotlight

Uwe Heiss
Zeebo
Office: VCET@BTV

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you end up in Vermont?
I studied at ETH Zurich, one of the top three universities in the world for Science and Technology. I then accepted an offer from the Boston Consulting Group. Right after graduation, I went back-packing through Latin America for half a year. I met my spouse in Managua, Nicaragua. As it happens, she was a professor at UVM and traveling to conferences. Eventually, via Zurich, Madrid, Mexico City, and New York City, I moved to Vermont to be with her about 17 years ago now.

uwe 2Coming to Vermont and having a strong industry background in healthcare, I made it my mission to empower patients. Over the years I started a number of companies to explore innovative ways to give patients more of a voice in their own care. The first one was Patient Empowerment Systems. I hacked into wearable hardware and repurposed it to allow people to track symptoms and behavior. I then spent over 8 years as part of a dedicated team launching Dynamic Clinical Systems.

We introduced Patient Reporting Outcomes tracking in hospital care, especially in the clinical areas of Orthopedics and Oncology, to track what ultimately matters to patients aside from life and death: Their quality of life, ability to function, and severity of symptoms. We answered the questions: What actually works in real-life healthcare today? E.g., who gets better from spine surgery, who doesn’t? Why? And we introduced individual, longitudinal outcomes reporting in the care encounter. Our clients were industry leaders, amongst them Dartmouth, University of San Francisco, and the Cleveland Clinic. We had a successful exit from that company eventually. When the iPhone came out I jumped on the opportunity and made self-tracking apps as a hobby. Turns out my apps received a lot of press and critical acclaim, from the Physician’s Practice Journal, The Doctor Weighs In, #1 features by the Apple App Store, to the Dr. Oz Show. While Track & Share Apps have become a nice lifestyle business, I’m always thinking about what I can do for healthcare next with another catalytic, disruptive startup. That’s why I launched Zeebo.

What is Zeebo?
Zeebo pills are honest placebos designed for focus on symptom relief. Taking pills is deeply anchored in our culture. The placebo effect is well-documented. Interestingly, today it is almost impossible to get new pain medication approved by the FDA because patients’ response to placebos is growing– based on trust in brands and pills fueled by direct-to-consumer advertising. Let’s embrace this phenomenon! There is a place for the skillful use of placebos for symptom relief and performance enhancement in regular care. To deliver the largest placebo benefit with Zeebo, we try to mimic the look and feel of a pharma company with our market presence. We even have an app to let you track if you get better when taking placebos. At this time, Zeebo is a dietary supplement that we sell through Amazon.Placebo-Pills

Who is Zeebo for?
Taking a placebo pill for symptom relief can work for anyone. You just don’t know if you are a placebo responder until you try. There are certain groups of people that tend to buy Zeebo. Often it’s adults who give them as a present to their elderly parents because they are concerned about them taking too many medications. Staff in nursing homes tell me that some patients take so many different drugs for symptom relief that it is hard to know which ones actually make a difference for the patient. We also get orders from dentists who presumably are offering them for stress relief during dental work.

Do you have anything else coming down the pike?
I always have time to start another company since all of my companies are self-sustaining. I’m interested in working with financial donors next. While I like self-sustaining companies that do the right thing, sometimes it’s good to have a lot of resources available to have a larger impact on society. And given how our healthcare system is set up, money streams are not always aligned with the most relevant startup ideas. So, if you have a million to spare and care about IOS as much as ROI, call me (IOS=Impact On Society).

Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
I’ve been working with startups for awhile now and I’ve come to realize that you really need to be passionate about what you’re doing. If you care about what you do, success becomes irrelevant and just happens on the way. Value your freedom. If you can be self-sustaining then you are always free to choose where you’re going next. Initially, stay away from investors. If you want to scale up later to have a larger impact, or simply want to get rich, that is the time to invite investors in. Embrace struggle and failure. You learn most from failure. There is a liberating truth in the embarrassment of failure itself.

How did you end up at VCET?
I was one of the first people here. I used to work from home and in cafes, so when I heard about VCET in the Burlington Free Press, I applied right away. I highly recommend it! I get to ride my bike along the lake to work. It’s a great way to get my day started.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
I’m taking Zeebo pills myself. I’ve built pill-taking into my meditation ritual to increase my concentration power and sensory clarity.

News

VCET@Midd member SchoolHack Solutions recently added Kevin Hytten, Ed.D. as their new Chief Operations Officer. Congrats Dr. Hytten and SchoolHack! You can read the press release hereOhMD-logo-header1

Congratulations are also in order to Reconciled It, a Burlington company co-founded by our own Bonnie Reese. Reconciled It has just been named one of the top Global Firms of the Future runner-ups by Intuit Inc. Check out the announcement here.

New VCET member OhMD, led by CEO Ethan Bechtal, has partnered with Vermont Information Technology Leaders, Inc. (VITL) to deliver their secure texting system to Vermont health care providers and patients. Find out more.

Finally, last month VCET portfolio company Pwnie Express welcomed a new CTO, Artur Adib. Artur is a former VCET member and will undoubtedly prove a valuable addition to Pwnie. See what he has to say on the announcement here.

Recommended Reading

Multitasking millennials are costing us billions
Tips for increasing productivity from The Boston Globe.

The Sharks That Live to 400
Totally unrelated to entrepreneurship or tech, but this is a super cool article about Greenland sharks.

The Basics of SEO
Tips from SurveyMonkey Director of Marketing, Eli Schwartz to optimize your site’s SEO.

Great Opportunitiescode camp

Mark your calendars for the Vermont Code Camp on Saturday, September 17 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM. Click here to register (for free!) and for more information.