Advice from 17 yo Alexandra on how she works with teams in 2 different countries, keeps everyone united on the vision, and used her experience at QØ to win startup competitions around the world
Alexandra applied to the QØ Catapult Incubator with her venture EmojiHEALTH and was awarded our Female Founder Award.
EmojiHEALTH is an online platform that leverages the simplicity and popularity of emojis to communicate healthcare information to youth. The platform provides engaging information on relevant conditions. EmojiHEALTH also allows for communication between the patient and healthcare provider, using emojis to track symptoms, compliance, and more.
It was clear from the start that Alexandra had the potential to be a strong leader and was willing to tackle the healthcare industry in new and innovative ways. She was awarded the Female Founder Award for our 2016 Summer cohort and was joined by Free Agents who brought a variety of skills: Dylan, Charlie, Lauryn, Richa, and Kenneth. Together, they worked hard during the Incubator to test their assumptions about what teens wanted to help their mental health and how to best explain their product to a panel of judges largely made up of adults. Eventually, at our Demo Day Pitch Competition, EmojiHEALTH won Most Innovative. More proof that the QØ Catapult Incubator high school summer entrepreneurship program can help you uncover your entrepreneurial potential.
Don't Miss Alex's TEDx Talk!
Since the Summer Incubator, Alexandra has been hard at work in growing and testing EmojiHEALTH. We are excited to congratulate her on her recent win of the ‘One to Watch’ MEDy Award at the Exponential Medicine Conference hosted by Singularity University in San Diego. The Exponential Conference focuses on the future of medical technology and the MEDy Awards honor Medical-Entrepreneurship-Disruption. Alexandra has also continued to grow EmojiHEALTH at the Cossette Health Accelerator.
How have you evolved as a Founder and an entrepreneur?
As EmojiHealth continues to grow exponentially, I have really had to learn to have faith in the team, as I can’t be touching every creation that is leaving our hands and going to users or clients. Letting go of my micromanagerial tendencies has been tough, but it is an important skill for me that is certainly beneficial to the company. I’ve learned that the most important part of leading a team is to unite members behind a common mission. With that accomplished, I can have the confidence that all the effort they put in is working to achieve our shared goal.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome (or biggest failure!) since leaving Catapult?
It has been tough to transition from Catapult’s supportive environment to the real world of healthcare innovation where a teen founder is not always seen as an asset. Proving to people that at the age of seventeen I have been able to create something that has the power to change people’s lives can be difficult. Still, Catapult helped me learn the skills needed to present myself in a professional way that really helps me get my value proposition across to professionals, be they mentors, investors, or employees.
Alexandra Philp Reeves
17, Toronto, Ontario
Catapult Incubator Alumni, Summer 2016
What type of advice would you give to other startups who are looking to gain media exposure?
To other high school students, capitalize on your age! People are typically astounded by young entrepreneurs who are balancing the challenges of high school with the challenges of starting a company before officially becoming an adult. Reach out to organizations who you think might be interested in what you are doing, and then let the press grow from there. For startups in general, it is really important to be able to tell a compelling story that the media will want to share! Their bottom line is to attract readers and viewers, so be sure to give them something that people will want to learn about. The more media you do, the easier it gets, and once the ball is rolling it just keeps getting faster!
EmojiHEALTH pitched by Free Agent Charlie, won Most Innovative at Catapult Incubator Demo Day
What are some learnings from QØ's Catapult Incubator that have helped shape the direction EmojiHealth has been continuing in?
QØ really instilled the idea of failing fast into EmojiHealth’s DNA. In the healthcare space, many startups and even large companies are scared to put products out before too early for fear of regulation, patient response, and cost. By accepting that we are likely to fail with much of what we do, the EmojiHealth team is always super enthusiastic to make changes, test out bold new concepts, and focus on drawing learnings from our setbacks.