Joseph Ulbrich (MEB ’18 and WAVE ’19), co-founder of Güd Medical received one of the State Economic Engagement & Development (SEED) research program grants from Discovery to Product (D2P). Güd Medical is a medical device company developing an ergonomic and precision syringe adapter that allows medical professionals to administer medications with increased accuracy and comfort.
Funding through SEED supports UW–Madison faculty and academic staff with ownership in a Wisconsin company to engage in research, generate additional private and public sector support for their research programs, and promote technology transfer between the University and industry. With the $75,000 grant, the Occupational Ergonomics and Biomechanics lab and Güd Medical will focus on development, validation and implementation studies to introduce their product, the ErgoExact-50 syringe adapter, into regular pharmacy and hospital workflows.
“This grant should hopefully bring our product through experimental validation studies and device implementation studies with one of UW-Health’s Pharmacies,” said Joseph. “It will help to accomplish the largest researching tasks that remain before we're able to bring the product to market.”
Joseph started working on the product in a biomedical engineering senior design capstone course alongside Dr. Robert Radwin and it continued to evolve with the pair filing a patent through Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). While Joseph was in graduate school, he wanted to work on commercializing the syringe design, so he started looking for resources on campus to help him develop a plan. That’s when he found the graduate certificate in entrepreneurship offered through the Weinert Center.
Through his first course in the business center, Entrepreneurial Management taught by Phil Greenwood, Joseph was introduced to business terms and processes as he continued to refine the product design. Phil encouraged him to continue to work on his business by taking Venture Creation taught by Michael Williams the next semester where Joseph worked with a small group of graduate students to craft a business plan for Güd Medical. During the summer between the two courses, Joseph participated in the Morgridge Entrepreneurial Bootcamp (MEB), a one-week intensive training program in technology entrepreneurship for graduate students in the sciences, engineering, and math. Joseph said MEB provided him a great, broad introduction to the frameworks, tools, and resources necessary to start a business, and the courses for the certificate allowed him to revisit and investigate in depth.
Continuing to build Güd Medical, Joseph took the Weinert Applied Ventures in Entrepreneurship (WAVE) class along with two of his team members from venture creation. WAVE helped build the business model canvas by forming relationships with customers through discovery interviews. During WAVE the team also participated in business plan competitions finishing second place for Transcend UW and among the finalists for the Governor’s Business Plan Contest. Joseph also participated in D2P’s Igniter program as well as the gBETA accelerator.
“WAVE and MEB were both really critical programs in my introduction to business and helped me greatly to develop a business and commercialization plan,” said Joseph. “Already, both programs, as well as courses like Venture Creation and Entrepreneurial Management, have helped incredibly when applying for funding, it undoubtedly gave me access to the resources, experience, and knowledge necessary to succeed when competing with other UW business ideas. Thanks a lot for giving me access to the resources to be able to compete against some of the best UW-Madison has to offer.”
The Güd Medical team is currently made up of Joseph and Dr. Radwin along with mentorship support through programs on and off campus. “If there is a single message I can send about being an entrepreneur in Madison, it’s that there is that there is so much guidance and support available through Madison’s innovation network. It makes tackling big unknowns much less daunting, and much more exciting. Madison’s innovation network provides the structure and expertise necessary to help bring an idea to market.”