1. How did the idea for your business come about?
The idea came from a patient, who one day made me realise that we could get much more information about vision through capturing interactions on an iPad, than we ever could from a regular eye chart.
2. Tell us a bit about your role – what does a typical working day involve?
I’m training myself to wake up at 6:00 and spend the first two hours of the day on the important ‘thinking work’ and strategy building that will help to drive my business forward. I don’t always make it, but I’m trying to carve out time away from distracting emails and office conversations! By 9:30 I’m usually in the office after taking the dog for a quick walk in the garden. Until lunchtime, I’ll usually work with my team members doing product design and development, and hit some of those dreaded emails. I’ll usually get out for a bite to eat at lunch, and try to catch up with another entrepreneur at the same time. The afternoon could be spent with meeting collaborators, advisors or potential investors. Hope for a longer dog walk and some dinner! My nights are typically spent doing grant applications, catching up on emails, and when I can taking taking some time off to relax!
3. What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
The opportunity to spend all my days and weeks trying to change the bit of the world I believe in.
4. What are the most challenging aspects of your job?
Learning how to be a leader, learning how to look after the great people who choose to work for me.
5. How do you generate new ideas?
Spending quality time with our future customers (in our case, patients, doctors and healthcare providers)
6. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
- A dare to dream big
- A dogged persistence
- The ability to inspire people to get on board with you
7. What key activities would you recommend entrepreneurs invest their time in?
I’m still learning how to spend time well, but I’ve gained hugely from picking great advisors – crucially only those who’ve been there and done it before – and listening carefully to advice.
8. What 3 things do you think are important to succeed as a woman in business?
The same things as a man. Dreaming big, inspiring others to get on that mission with you, and persistence when you get turned down. In addition, woman are now starting to rally together and support eachother. We’re seeing this a lot in Bristol – informal meetups between woman founders – I believe this peer support and vital networking will breed success.
9. What are the biggest challenges for the future generation of women in business?
Raising capital – we know this is difficult for female founders, and it continues to be. Women are going to have to generate great business cases and robust plans, and the extra time and effort that goes into proving a model will be worth it in the end!
10. How can we inspire younger generation of women to become entrepreneurs?
By being seen in schools, universities and in the media, and by showcasing the reality of women leaders creating great businesses and great workplaces. It’s got to become normal. We’ve got to drop the ‘women’ in women founders.
11. What women inspire you and why?
My PhD supervisor was an incredible inspiration. She’s been a leader in her field, pushing forward new ideas and generously giving of her time and her immense expertise. She is strong about what she believes in, unwaveringly! Most importantly, I watched her for years put her patients before everything else, this ethos is important to me and to how we all work at OKKO Health.
It’s easy in an interview like this to forget a mention to the great men in OKKO’s life, without whom I wouldn’t have gotten my start-up to where it is, nor got it funded (all investors so far have been men), in fact, most of those who’ve supported us have been men! We’re excited to have two awesome Bristol entrepreneurs on our board, and a bunch of mentors and advisors at SETSquared and generally an ecosystem of guy entrepreneurs in Bristol who’ve taken me under their wing, supported in the difficult times, and taught me much of what I know.