Birth Name: Sarah Goodman
Nickname / Desired Superhero Name: The Goods
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario (Been in Vancouver BC for 13 years)
Company Name: VitalSines (Product is iHeart)
Company Founding Year: 2012
What’s your professional background? Have you always been an entrepreneur or have you paid your dues working for “The Man” too?
My path to where I’m at today is quite a bit different than others I’ve met in the startup world. Out of high school, I studied Journalism. After a year, I decided to take a two-month vacation to visit a friend in Whistler, BC, which turned into a 5 year stint as a snowboard bum. This was an amazing time of my life; I learned of my love for nature, how to converse with people from all over the world, and how to handle a 14-table section at the busiest après ski pub in town.
Once I decided I should go back to school, I studied at Capilano University and started my own music publicity business, working with independent musicians all over the world. When I was working on my first business I realized it wasn’t rewarding, so I got into health and wellness and became a personal trainer and nutritionist – it was a natural progression since my entire family is in health care. It was when I was running that business that my father, a serial entrepreneur, approached me with an invention he had been building for years and told me “it was ready”. That was the beginning of iHeart. I jumped on board to help make his dream a reality, and after three years it’s now my dream too.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur and go out on your own?
I’ve always been an independent person. I started two companies before joining VitalSines, but I can say that I’ve never been as passionate as I am doing what I’m doing now.
How did you find the time, money and people to get your business off the ground?
I started working on iHeart when I was running my own business as well as bartending on the side, so I had some other income. As our sales have grown we have been able to pay ourselves a bit (yay!). We’re a lean team. We were recently part of the SpringU Capital Raising Bootcamp taught by Keith Ippel, that really helped in figuring out our fundraising plan and all of the aspects that surround raising money for our company.
What is your company all about and why should everyone care?
Our first product, iHeart, is a fingertip device and mobile app that determines a user’s Internal Age in 30-seconds by measuring a scientifically proven heart, brain, and internal health metric called Aortic Stiffness. Aortic Stiffness has been proven in a wealth of literature to be a marker of heart health and risk of death from all causes. Just recently studies have been published that prove increased Aortic Stiffness is linked to brain defects in younger people causing Alzheimers/cognitive decline. The good thing about Aortic Stiffness is that it is reversible with positive lifestyle choices such as improved diet, increased movement, and lowered stress. Previous to iHeart the only method to attain the information rich Aortic Stiffness reading was via a $25,000 medical device which required a skilled operator. We can provide the same results for less than $200 done in the comfort of a user’s own home.
Many people are wearing fitbits and counting steps, which is awesome – iHeart is complementary to other wearables out there. iHeart will show you objective evidence that those 10,000 extra steps/better sleep/lowered caloric consumption is actually changing your internal health for the better. iHeart provides a snapshot of how the body is doing at that moment in time, which is a hugely positive part of the tool. A user can do a test before and after a certain kind of exercise, and determine what kind of exercise – crossfit/yoga/pilates – has a more positive effect on their internal health.
I was in an accident 16 months ago, and I used to love the gym, but after my accident I was using iHeart and my readings weren’t as positive as they used to be after weight training since my body had gone through trauma. I started doing yoga, and it totally changed my results. I realized that yoga was better for healing my body than resistance training in the gym.
Where do you hope to see your company 5 years from now? What are you going to do to make it happen?
iHeart is our first product, and we want to see it in the hands of consumers all over the globe, as well as create an enterprise solution for corporate wellness, health insurance companies, and fitness and wellness service providers. We currently have iHeart PRO in beta, we’re very excited about the B2B potential. We love iHeart but we’re no one trick pony – we have a pipeline of very exciting tools. We have a prototype ready for our next solution but can’t quite discuss it yet! At VitalSines, we have a specialty in optical sensors and bio signal analysis. In the long run we hope to create a 24/7 smart body monitoring system that will show a view of the human body like never before. Stay tuned!
We’re also off to represent Canada at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit at Stanford University hosted by President Barack Obama in late June 2016, and we hope to show our technology to delegates from all over the world (and the President!).
What has been your favorite part of founding and growing your business?
I’d say the following:
- Working with my father and sharing a passion for iHeart
- Creating a voice and brand for iHeart
- Talking to our customers daily, and hearing the effect iHeart has on their lives
- Meeting interesting people everyday
- Learning something new every day
What has been the most frustrating part of founding and growing your business?
The cliché rollercoaster of emotions when you’re an entrepreneur – it’s true. The highs are high and the lows are low. The thing I’ve learned over time is that there has to be a balance. Work can’t be the be all end all. Shit happens, you have to be able to recover.
What do you do to keep yourself balanced and sane?
In the winter I snowboard a lot. Yoga helps too. In the summer I like to hike, camp, surf, do yoga, disconnect (with my partner and my dog, Norah the Explorer).
If you could be doing one other thing full-time, what would it be?
I would love to run a sanctuary for rescued animals.
What’s your motto? If you don’t have one, make it up right now…
Live life like everything you do will be posted on YouTube. You’re bound to be less of an asshole.
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