Along with my business partner John Slump, we co-founded our own business: J&J Solutions, to sell a device that dispenses medication to cancer patients in a safer, more efficient way.
It started in a business class in fall 2006, and at first we looked at it as just a school project -- not something that would actually be viable.
We went full-force with the research to get this product going. We won about $30,000 from a bunch of business plan contests around the country. It became my full-time job; I never really had the typical student life. Anytime I wasn't doing the minimum schoolwork in order not to flunk out, I was working on J&J Solutions.
J&J is in the design and fund-raising phase, and we're planning to close some big deals in the next round. We've raised significant capital through grants, competitions, and private equity -- and we plan to raise a lot more. We just received a $150,000 grant from the Iowa Department of Economic Development to help us get the device to the production stage.
My life isn't easy, but it's been a rush. On a good night I get about 5 hours of sleep. Neither of us is getting a salary right now, but we're working to get the product to market and fully realize success.
It's funny; back in school, our teacher gave us a B-plus on the business plan and wrote "Not Viable" on the paper. I can't really blame him. At the time, I probably would have agreed.