StartUp Spotlight: LuminDX

May 6, 2018


StartUp Spotlight: LuminDX

May 6, 2018

Meet Susan Conover  – Co-Founder of LuminDX, an app revolutionizing the way people can diagnose skin diseases!

GH: What is Own LuminDX?

LuminDX is changing how skin disease is diagnosed through analyzing smartphone images and using deep learning algorithms to make sure patients get the care they need.

GH: What was your Eureka moment: how did LuminDX get started?

LuminDX was originally pitched 3 years ago in an Intro to Entrepreneurship class at MIT. I had been diagnosed with melanoma 3 times and wanted to see if there was a way to help patients make smart choices, as before I was diagnosed, I honestly had no idea it could happen to me. I felt like I, as a patient, did not have the resources to make informed choices about seeking care.

GH: How did you build your team?

We built the team through personal connections – we know each other from friend groups, the MIT community, and actually Improv Boston classes in Central Square.

GH: What is your company philosophy driving your company culture? Maintaining mutual respect and communication between team members is incredibly important to us. We also believe in having a healthy sense of humor through making LuminDX an impactful startup.

GH: Startup life is full of failures and ‘make it work’ moments – can you identify how you bounced back from one of yours?

In our early stages of interviewing customers to find product-market fit we interviewed people at a high risk for developing skin cancer, and realized there was no chance these people would go get screened for free, much less pay for a product. This was humbling because we knew how much we could help them, yet from that moment we realized we needed to target people with a real, tangible pain who were looking, and willing to pay for, solutions to solve their acute problem. This learning helped us in make much smarter pivots going forward!

GH: What has the Boston ecosystem provided you?

The Boston ecosystem has provided us ample opportunities to get feedback from early customers, doctors, and business mentors in spades. We’ve competed in MIT entrepreneurship competitions, Startupalooza, the MIT Venture Mentoring Service, Pulse@MassChallenge events, and many others.

GH: What did you learn from your first customers?

We’ve learned from our first customers that the real problem they want to solve is getting solutions confidentially and from the privacy of their own home. This helped us reposition our business model and how we fit into the greater skin disease care landscape, so we could complement others in the market rather than compete with them.

GH: What is the Boston ecosystem lacking from your perspective?

There’s a mismatch in expectations from investors in showing traction and their interest in startups focusing on B2B applications over B2C. B2C is easier to get to market quickly, showing measurable traction, but B2B businesses have shown a higher return on investment. I think in the Boston area investors should better align their informal “measures of success” with their interests, and invest at earlier stages so startups have the capital and resources to go B2B from the beginning.

GH: What’s the best/worst piece of advice you were given along the way?

The worst piece of advice we’ve heard is to just build a product that we can bring to investors. Your product doesn’t matter unless the regulatory risk is manageable, you know who it’s for and who’s going to pay you.

The best piece of advice we’ve been given along the way is to work on something we’re passionate about. There have been so many setbacks and junctures where we could have quit, and we didn’t, because we knew no one else was going to solve the problem we care so much about to any degree of satisfaction. Having this motivation has helped us weather the more challenging moments we’ve had in building this company.

GH: What was the best thing that happened to you last year?

We finished our demo very recently! It was a great moment that we got to reflect on with all of our hard work from the team and satisfaction of a completed milestone. Now for the next chapter: fundraising!

GH: What does the future hold for LuminDX?

An exciting question! We’re hoping to participate in MassChallenge Boston this summer, and raising money very soon to go from demo to our first product. We are so lucky to have gotten the support we have from the Boston community, and now we get to convert all of this hard work into actually helping people get the care they need and growing our company!

Learn more about LuminDX!

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