As a part of my series about “The Future of Healthcares” I had the pleasure of interviewing Stas Gorbunov, co-founder and CEO of AURA Devices, has BSc in Engineering and extensive experience in software development, electronics engineering and product/project management.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Istarted my career in 2009 in 10th grade, as a writer in a tech magazine, I reviewed computer components: motherboards, graphics cards and other hardware stuff for PCs. During my university years I tried to start a few companies, here I met Max my co-founder and CTO at AURA Devices, we tried to create the new Facebook, what a time. I have an attempt at a few big tech companies as a software developer and project manager. At the same time, we tried to outsource, launch our own mobile apps and web-projects.
We jumped to the current venture in 2016. We started from bioimpedance analysis — technology that allows monitor fat/muscles percentage and hydration levels. I’ve understood that this technology could bring evolution to the wearable tech world and really help people to prevent some diseases. Sometime later, we were looking for someone who could make this tech really good-looking, and then Vitaliy joined us, and we’ve developed branding and naming just as you can see it now. I’ve always wanted to make something that would help people and bring a really life-changing experience that’s why we’ve started the company.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
As for me, the most surprising and interesting story is connected with AURA Band development. We created it with a deep fitness-related idea in mind and did not involve all the technology potential. Now we’ve realised (conducting a lot of researches) that the technology abilities are much broader. It really surprised me and changed in a way my approach to the company development and directions.
Can you tell us about your “Big Idea That Might Change The World”?
At AURA Devices we believe that in the next 10 years there would be dramatic changes in the health sector. Healthcare should become data-driven, cheaper and reliable. We’re developing wearables that could track a lot of useful data about user’s health then we assess it and provide insights and detect early risks. As I see it, wearables will be the first mile of healthcare, they will predict possible problems and evaluate risks on the early stages and warn users, their doctors and insurers about it. The collaboration of these efforts could increase life quality and exclude health-related problems. We’re making our first steps towards some kind of healthcare ecosystem that will help people to control their health better.
How do you think this will change the world?
Nowadays we have a lot of various tools and instruments to live our life simpler and happier, but we have nothing but our body for complex health problems detection. We still should go to clinics and talk to doctors about our problems, and this takes us time and sometimes a lot of time, money and brings us a lot of stress. We believe that health status analysis could be brought with technology, a bunch of devices that could tell are you OK or are there any issues. AURA Band is just the first step towards health problems detection on early stages and preventing them. This approach to the diagnosis and health tracking will help people to live longer and to avoid some diseases.
We collect, manage and securely store pretty sensitive data about our users that could be stolen and used for further manipulations by 3rd parties, that’s why we allow our users to decide whom they could give access to their information.
Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this idea? Can you tell us that story?
We started this project to help fitness enthusiasts be more efficient and get more from their workouts. Through the time of R&D process, we found out that we could do much more in the healthcare sphere with our products. I think that I’ve always wanted to give people the chance to live longer and help not to suffer from diseases especially with hard conditions. Moreover, if we could do it in a smart convenient way, then here I am. And there’s no doubt that I’d like to extend my own life 🙂
What do you need to lead this idea to widespread adoption?
We need time and resources for building all that we have in our backlog and bringing it to the world, also media and professional support from the healthcare community could help. Another important point is funding, of course, we need budgets to develop our project.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why.
Ups and downs would be 7 days per week
If you’re starting a startup be ready to a kind of roller coaster in terms of your work and results. You just need to relax and continue your journey, try to enjoy everything you do. For example, we had some problems with our Kickstarter campaign but finally, we’ve finished it and, now we’re delivering our devices, so just don’t give up. I know that it sounds cliche, but I really would like to know about that beforehand or just take some advice more seriously.
Be passionate on your idea
It’s simple, but it’s true, stay with your vision till the end. Yes, it could be transformed, or you could look at it from another angle, but it’s yours, and only you could go with it till the end. Accurately choose the base idea of your company, don’t try to be just in trend. Trends are coming and going, but your views stay with you.
Hardware is hard
If you have a piece of electronics in your product than prepare for delays, lots of unreliable counterparties and long periods of implementation of new changes. You need a lot of patience, or all these staffs will make you mad! During AURA Band production we’ve changed a lot of manufacturers and lose a lot of time to get a really quality product. You should remember that each iteration will take much more time, and some mistakes could cost you tons of money. Try to hire experienced staff even if you’ll pay them a much higher salary as they’ll help you to save time and money finally.
When you’re just starting concentrate on your idea
There’re so many things that made just for money or for killing each other. Try to move your work into something you can be proud of. Don’t think that history made big corporations and governments, history is made by people.
Make solution, not a product
There’re a lot of great cool looking products that nobody wants to use, think twice before starting a product-oriented company, build solution-oriented one. Nobody needs a useless beauty, everybody wants something solving their everyday problems. That’s why start solving something urgent and then add good design. I’ve taken this into consideration before starting AURA Devices, and as I see, this point is one of the most important.
The future of work is a common theme. What can one do to “future proof” their career?
Try to your best, more than your colleagues do, go deeper in your industry and try to learn every day of your life. Don’t forget to implement new technologies in your work it could bring value on the side that you even don’t think of. Your unique skills and curiosity will make you a successful professional.
Based on the future trends in your industry, if you had a million dollars, what would you invest in?
Into AURA Devices, for sure! I’m just joking. I believe that high accurate non-invasive methods of health diagnostics will raise and bring real value to the industry and will invest my best into this field. Moreover, humanity will be more integrated with machines, thus Human-Machine interfaces will become more invisible and convenient. Now it’s a great time for building a hardware company in the health-related market.
Which principles or philosophies have guided your life? Your career?
I’ve changed many jobs and tried to build different companies, the one beautiful thing that I’ve understood: you always have an opportunity and another try. Just look around, and you’ll find an open door.
Can you share with our readers what you think are the most important “success habits” or “success mindsets”?
Don’t give up if something goes wrong, breathe in and breathe out and continue walking, keep learning new things. Stay honest with yourself and the people around you.
Some very well known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
More than 16% of deaths comes from heart problems, a lot of people could live a longer happier life if they will be diagnosed earlier. What if you could save them? At AURA Devices we’re building the first-mile system for health problems detection based on in-house developed wearable devices. Our first product — AURA Band is a stand-alone fitness tracker with body composition and hydration level monitoring along with heart rate and activity. Bioimpedance analysis and PPG allows us to assess the risk of heart failure on early stages by comparing breath and heart rate dynamics. We provide this data to our users, their insurers or clinics to warn, reduce possible loss on health services and prevent lethal case.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
https://www.linkedin.com/in/glavryba/ or twitter: @glavryba
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.
Thank you very much as well! I greatly appreciate the opportunity to tell my story and share my idea.