CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Lehigh Valley LaunchBox (LVLB) periodically checks in with grant recipients to ask how their business or product development is coming along, hear the advice they have for other entrepreneurs, and see how they have benefited from the microgrants, support and mentorship from Lehigh Valley LaunchBox.
Udit Garg is founder of MeddTech. He received a LaunchBox grant for his business in December 2017.
Q: When did you get your LVLB grant?
Garg: When I was in ninth grade, I presented to LaunchBox and received a $500 grant from LVLB. I went in without much hope thinking a ninth grader won’t get help from a renowned business accelerator sponsored by Penn State. Luckily, it worked out!
Q: What inspired you to start your business?
Garg: Since I was really young, I always had a fascination about the medical field. But in middle school, I began working with technology and made a few mobile apps for fun. I won a couple prizes and really saw a future in the two fields I began to love: medicine and technology.
I started a business to create apps under a common goal — to help people using my two passions in medicine and technology. I wanted a way to represent the different apps I made together, and a business sounded like the best way. The company wasn’t really for profit, and neither was I looking to start selling my apps immediately. I also heard of the amazing resources provided by LaunchBox and a well-known university such as Penn State. Eventually, the name MeddTech came naturally to me and I was presenting in front of business professionals at LaunchBox. MeddTech is a medical device startup that uses mobile apps and/or intelligent electronic devices to solve problems in the medical field. The main goal is to combine medicine and technology to help people.
Q: What was your biggest challenge before receiving a Lehigh Valley LaunchBox portfolio grant, and how did you overcome it with the help of your grant?
Garg: Before the grant, I was unsure if mobile apps were really what I wanted to do in the future. I was hesitant in trying and continued to have questions as to whether this could make a difference. I decided to give a good shot at my first step, where I presented at LaunchBox, and to my surprise I was given a grant. Fortunately, LaunchBox was one of those experiences that motivated me to pursue my passions and to realize there is a future in anything you put your heart into. For me, my heart was in mobile apps and now a small startup company I could grow through my high school years!
Q: What Lehigh Valley LaunchBox services have you taken advantage of since receiving your grant?
Garg: Since receiving my grant, I was able to apply for intellectual property protections such as copyrights and patents for free. I was given opportunities to showcase MeddTech at a variety of amazing events, such as LaunchBox Ladies, where I met and networked with other entrepreneurs across the Lehigh Valley. I was able started a YouTube channel where I upload videos of some app ideas. I even partnered with a national NGO in India to pilot one of my apps and medical systems in homes for older people and with my grandmother there. Unfortunately, riots and a global pandemic fell on my path, but I stay optimistic about going there next summer.
Q: How do you define success?
Garg: To me success isn’t how much money I made, how many apps I made, or comes in some materialistic value. Rather, it is what keeps me motivated. I found my own niche through my passions in medicine and technology. Whenever I learn something new, think of a new app, or get excited at a thought, that’s what success has transformed into for me. If I am able to transform those ideas into an app or something where I can make an impact, that simply motivates me to keep brainstorming and dreaming of ways to make an impact. In the end, if I’m doing what I love, I know I can be “successful.”
Q: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs who are requesting a Lehigh Valley LaunchBox portfolio grant? Or, more generally, as they start their businesses?
Garg: Starting is one of the hardest steps. I was really hesitant on even trying at first. I didn’t have much motivation. I was simply coming out of an amazing 8th grade school year with a couple of hobbies I wanted to continue throughout high school.
When I started, I had big dreams and plans for the future. But never did I expect it to happen in a day, or even a couple of months. Patience and motivation are necessary to keep moving. I still haven’t made many sales or much money. Of course, those are goals and achievements for the future, but they shouldn’t be your inspiration up front. If you are on the right path, then such achievements come naturally.
I say look at the goals, the possibilities of collaboration, and the novel ways you can make an impact through whatever business or entrepreneurial journey you are starting. Applying to LaunchBox made those ideas much clearer in my mind, but you can’t do it alone.
Q: What is the status of your business today and a recent accomplishment?
Garg: Throughout high school, I have had a couple projects I have been working on. At the end of last year, I created a YouTube channel with some of my app ideas as a way to showcase what I have done. I continue to create new ideas and implement them in whatever ways I can. There is no doubt that I will keep making apps throughout college and my future.
For some of the apps, I have presented them at Science Fairs and wasn’t getting the best results or feedback. However, I then decided to enter an app named BACDrive, which aims to prevent drunk driving, in the Congressional App Challenge and ended up winning! I was the first Congressional App Challenge Winner for PA District 7 and received $200 of Amazon Web Service Credits as well as recognition from Congresswoman Susan Wild. Just like LaunchBox, it was one of those experiences that continues to motivate me to keep making apps and impact the world through them.
LaunchBox was one of the first steps that I took to discover my interests and passions moving forward. I will always appreciate all that LaunchBox has done to inspire the young ninth grader that nervously stepped into that presentation room with no idea of what would come next!