2011-2012 - The Senior Design Project
VerbalCare, originally "iMedix," began as a Boston University College of Engineering Senior Design project in September 2011. The goal of the project was to help stroke patients in the ICU communicate.
We first called MGH to ask if our team could shadow their nurses in the neuro-ICU. They agreed and those first interactions and stories laid the foundation for us.
2012-2013 - Red Electric and the Early Days
We formed an LLC (Red Electric Consulting LLC) to hold our projects "Verbal" and "Ari" (an education tool that optimized retention by eliminating the need to cram for tests). We all had full time jobs so Verbal was a night and weekend project. We began to work closely with MGH on an IRB pilot to validate the technology in a clinical setting. We had a lot of support from different parties, which kept us going!
2012-2013 - The MGH Trial
Effectiveness: 9/10. Usefulness: 9/10. We were on the right track. We decided to apply to MassChallenge for both "Verbal" and "Ari", and Verbal got selected! We were going to be in the 2013 class of MassChallenge.
2013 - Verbal Applications Inc. and MassChallenge
We founded Verbal Applications Inc. in April 2013 with the goal of providing a direct-to-patient application for non-verbal patients. We won Boston's Big Idea, MassChallenge's Most Collaborative Company, Boston's Most Innovative Startup, and a few other awards. We were very motivated and everything was moving very quickly.
First Half 2014 - Angel Funding and Hospitals
We raised funds from family and friends, which helped us get started on a small pilot at Franciscan Hospital for Children. It was great to finally see our product working in a real-world setting and having a real impact.
Second Half 2014 & Early 2015 - Shifting model
By then we had built a product that was mainly provider centric, and we felt like we should shift gears and get closer to our mission to help patients. We switched gears and began designing a direct-to-patient app that would be used as an Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) tool. It was also a better way for us to make it so patients are more in control of their care.
Summer 2015 - We get acquired.
Our small team knew what we had to do: 1. Build a great product and 2. Get a strategic partner. We had already been talking with MSD for a while, about some sort of partnership and it was going pretty well.
That's when we found 10 interns to help out with growth. With their help we got the product out the door, marketed, and adopted.
We also got officially acquired by MSD. We regained our direction and were back to making an impact for patients. There are many more years ahead of us and we are excited to have patients use our app to communicate!