Meet CareAline, a 2017 alum and $50K winner that creates clinically effective line management garments for PICC and Central Lines.
Kezia Fitzgerald, Co-Founder and CEO, developed the products out of necessity after her infant daughter was undergoing chemotherapy for Neuroblastoma. Fearful of causing an infection or irritation, Kezia developed a sleeve and wrap to hold the lines in place while still allowing access for infusions. Today, CareAline is setting an industry standard for all patients with implanted lines and tubes.
We had a chance to catch up with Kezia about her experience going through the MC accelerator:
Take us back to MassChallenge Awards… what was going through your mind when you heard your startup name called to the stage?
I was really shocked when I heard CareAline announced as a winner. Standing backstage with the people that were in the same group, I didnt feel like we were going to be one of the winners from that group. I dont think it sunk in right away that it was me. PlusI had already taken my shoes off!
As a winner, how do you plan to use the cash prize to further accelerate growth?
The award is coming at a perfect time. We are launching two new products and this money will help us do some initial inventory for those as well as allow us to collect clinical data on their effectiveness. These new products will help us take on more hospital clients and expand our use in our current hospitals.
What would you say has been the key driver of your success throughout the program?
I think the biggest drivers were the mentors and the community in the office. We had an amazing mentor who we feel really helped push us forward. And being in an environment where all the other people were going through similar challenges involved with starting a company really helped to reduce the feeling of isolation and failure.
What has been the hardest lesson to learn?
I think the hardest lesson we learned was that we really did do almost everything wrong when we started CareAline. We knew we made a lot of mistakeswhich we have learned from over the yearsand I think having that solidified made us look at our business in a different light… one that pushes us to work harder than before.
What advice do you have for startups thinking about applying to MC?
Apply early! Get in there in the early stages before you make expensive mistakes. Failures and mistakes are part of learning, but the earlier (and less expensive!) the better.