As a graduate student at CWRU, Charu developed technology for non-invasive cardiac mapping that was quite exciting to the physicians she worked with during her PhD process. She had an “aha moment” when she realized that her invention would be helpful to patients but realized there was no clear path to getting it from the “bench to bedside” .
So in 2007, Charu and her co-founder started looking into what it would take to transfer an invention out of an academic setting and into a business. Looking back, she thought it was just happenstance – but her parents assured her that she had that entrepreneurial spark from the very beginning.
Charu faced three “cliché challenges” in launching her business. Coming right out of school, she would show up to meetings and launch the “trifecta” of challenges, “I was a woman, brown and young!”
The worst piece of advice was that “you guys need a middle aged white guy on your team” She took this advice in the beginning because it validated some of her own fears. Charu notes that, “basically it said you can’t make it because of biological reasons.” But along the journey, she learned to be be accepting of who she was. “I have quirks and idiosyncrasies – and I accept them.”
The best piece of advice came from inventor, CEO and mentor Gil Van Bokkelen who moved to Cleveland from Stanford and started up a stem cell research company. Gil advised her that, “No one is ever going to do it better than you can” and that she should continue to have confidence in her technology and demonstrate tenacity in building the business.
Coming from a culture of over achievement Charu did not have much of a life balance through most of her 30’s and early 40’s with this project. Her life was her work and her children and she put everything else on hold. Today she has figured out how to add things like fitness and entertainment – those elements which enrich your life — back into the mix. And with a more balanced outlook on life, she finds herself far more productive.