A Milwaukee-based startup developed an innovative device that helps diabetics inject insulin with their insulin pens with greater ease.
During Saturday’s episode of "Project Pitch It," on WISN-TV Channel 12, Milwaukee entrepreneur Shawn Michels pitched his device “Steady Shot” to moguls on the show.
Steady Shot is an insulin pen attachment made of plastic that allows diabetics to inject insulin in more areas of the body. The attachment connects to most major pen needles and stabilizes the needle during the injection process.
“(Without) Steady Shot, I could never inject with my non-dominant, left hand into the back of my right arm,” said Michels, Steady Shot founder and CEO. “Now, it’s very easy to do.”
Michels, a diabetic himself, discovered a need for his invention after experiencing bruising from repeat insulin injections in parts of his body that were most easily accessible. By having multiple injection sites, diabetics can avoid lipohypertrophy, which is a lump under the skin caused by accumulation of extra fat at the site of many insulin injections.
Michels says before Steady Shot, injections were more painful, required more insulin to have the same effect due to lipohypertrophy, and resulted in a more erratic absorption of insulin, making it harder to control blood sugar levels, he said.
“Shawn, don’t you find it amazing that somebody hasn’t come up with this concept beforehand,” said David Gruber, Project Pitch It mogul.
“I’ve gotten that before,” Michels said. “I think the reason is, everyone is trying to innovate and make something much more complicated than it needs to be…I think people may have overlooked the idea completely because it’s just such a simple concept.”
Michels told moguls he would eventually need funding to scale his company, but for now Steady Shot needs connections to mentors and capital partners to grow, he said.
Moguls awarded Steady Shot with the AmFam award, which includes pairing the entrepreneur with a leader at American Family to support growth in all aspects of the business including marketing, IT, human resources and finance.
Another entrepreneur who pitched on the show, Paul Mross, founder of Madison-based Happ:y Wellness, was awarded $5,000 and free mentorship programming at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Lubar Entrepreneurship Center.
Happ:y Wellness developed an instructional system for kids and adults to learn yoga. The health and wellness company’s initial product line offers yoga mats with visual and instructional markings, a video library and instruction cards.
“Educating kids in physical activity is always important and it’s been made more difficult now with COVID-19,” Mross said.
Happ:y Wellness products are a good way for parents, teachers, grandparents or therapists to teach children the basics of yoga, Mross added.
Project Pitch It mogul Peggy Ann said she works with kids virtually every week through a school's art therapy class, adding that she’s noticed anxiety and depression in students.
“Do you think kids with those types of issues can be helped by this?” Ann said.
“I do,” Mross said. “In fact, yoga is great for stress reduction, a great way to tune into your body and tune into what’s happening currently in the moment.”
Mross has self-funded Happ:y Wellness since he founded the company in 2018 and is now looking for investment, brand development and networking.
“Which direction do you think its best that he goes?” Project Pitch It mogul Jerry Jendusa asked Gruber.
“One kind of builds on another…if you get into school systems, you’re in pretty good shape,” Gruber said. “If you get into a healthcare or hospital systems, you’re in pretty good shape. It’s a very basic and simple concept...I don’t see a downside.”
Grace Wang, who calls herself a “petrepreneur,” is the founder of Madison-based Petphoria. During the episode, Wang pitched her luxurious line of dog treats, which use simple and organic ingredients, and come in ready-to-gift packaging.
“We offer a unique packaging experience…so they look nice on our counter and within a luxury box that you can keep to store whatever knick-knacks you end up accumulating that week,” Wang said.
Petphoria offers a variety of dog treats ranging in price from $21 to $71.
“That’s a real unique, niche business that’s sold at the boutique level,” Jendusa said.
“And everybody is buying a dog,” said Project Pitch It Mogul JoAnne Sabir. “They’ve become this support and there’s a need now. So this is a time to launch that product.”
Moguls awarded Petphoria the $10,000 cash prize.
BizTimes Media is a media partner of “Project Pitch It.”