Meeting with Mentors: Sheryl and Kate from Citizen Author: / On: / Categories: mentors / no Comments

Mentors are one of the strongest assets surrounding the Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator.  We’re assembling a team of mobile wizards, successful entrepreneurs and life sciences experts.  You can check out the current list HERE but when all is said and done, we’ll have HUNDREDS on hand, ready to help you clear any hurdles in building the future of mobile health.

Last week, I had the pleasure of grabbing coffee with a couple mentors as they happened to be passing through Kansas City.  I sat down with Sheryl Maloney (Director of Strategic Partnerships) and Kate Sommers (Director of Operations)  from Citizen and together we geeked out about mobile technology, design, user experience, PDX and KC.

Here’s a brief recap of our conversation:

Erik:  Tell me about Citizen

Sheryl:  Citizen is a global strategy, design and development firm with deeps roots in the mobile industry. Our focus is not just on building apps but rather understanding the intersection of industry, users and technology to be able to build long-term mobile strategies and experiences for our clients and partners

Erik:  What excites you about Mobile Health?

Kate:  I studied International Affairs at college, and now that I work in the mobile space, I always consider how new trends and technologies might have an effect internationally. So along those lines – what most excites me about mobile health is its potential for global healthcare and disease prevention. People in the healthcare industry are already exploring how mobile devices and the mobile ecosystem can be re-purposed to reach communities that have never before had access to premium medical care. Due to the increasing adoption of mobile devices and networks across much of the developing world, there is the opportunity to create inexpensive methods of remote diagnosis as well as new ways to track a patient’s progress.

Sheryl:  What excites me the most about mhealth is the potential it has to more quickly detect and prevent disease globally. With the advancement of global mobile networks and rapid adoption of passive sensors, whether it be through wearable’s or ubiquitous mobile devices, I believe we are sitting on top of a wellspring of data around the physiology of the human body unlike any other time in history. Combining this new data with already known healthcare and behavioral data we will be able to tap a much larger population of people to more accurately predict patterns of prevention. Even more exciting to me is that the low barrier to entry to track and quantify one’s personal data levels the playing field so that the next great cure or advancement may not be detected in a fancy lab or by someone with an advanced degree, but rather by an individuals with a passion for solving problems. 

Erik:  This is a first visit to KC for both of you, what are your first impressions?

Sheryl: Frankly it surprised me.  It was much larger than I imagined and the infrastructure built up around the cultural arts and emerging technology was exciting to feel and see. Being a native of the Midwest who now lives in the heart of techlandia in Portland, I love to see a central city rapidly adopting and ushering in new technology while still maintaining that famous mid-western ethic I grew up around. It is evidences from it’s friendly people and even through the reuse and renovation of old buildings which shows me that KC not only loves and wants to sustain its roots and but also it’s people.  

Kate:  I had heard good things about KC before I came out here (Paris of the Plains, right?). I was delighted to see that the rumors were true. The city has a great, energetic feel, and some great food! I wanted to balance out all the (very delicious) BBQ I’ve been eating, so we found some awesome salads today at The Westside Local.

Erik:  You both have signed on to be mentors for the program, but typically you benefit just as much as the entrepreneurs.  What are you hoping to learn?

Kate:  I’m really looking forward to learning about the different ways people are approaching the space. It will also be great to see how the teams adapt and collaborate once the accelerator is up and running.

Sheryl:  Having been a mentor for a previous Techstars program in the past I find that I am always surprised by the wealth of knowledge the teams and mentors bring to the table. I also love the collaborative spirit and long-lasting friendships that develop between teams and mentors.  More of that please! 

On behalf of the Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator, we’re super pumped to have people like Sheryl and Kate as part of the program.  They’re talented people who will bring some great expertise to you and your startup.

If you are tackling a huge problem in the Mobile Health space and want to surround yourself with talented mentors, hit the apply button or click HERE to start working on that application!  We’re keeping them open until January 6th…don’t wait!