Meet Jennifer Fried, CEO of ExplORer Surgical, an interactive digital playbook for the OR and interventional suites.
How did you come to build this business?
We started our company out of a research laboratory at the University of Chicago Medical Center that was studying Operating Room (OR) workflow and OR efficiency. We founded our company to solve an unmet need for intra-operative team coordination to make surgery safer and more efficient for all of the team members in the room!
What is the next business milestone that you are working towards?
Our next business milestone is growing our commercial user base both in ORs and in the cath lab and EP lab. We are excited to be working in procedure suites at Arkansas Heart Hospital as well as in the ORs at UAMS.
What are your initial impressions of Arkansas?
As a Southerner (I grew up in North Carolina), I feel right at home in Arkansas. Our team has been lucky to work with great people across the program — and we love the food, too!
So far, what has been the best part of your participation in Health InnovatAR?
The unfiltered access to senior leadership and team members across both hospitals.
How does Health InnovatAR compare to other startup programs you have interacted with?
Health InnovatAR is different because of its deep-rooted connections to its hospitals. I really like that there are not weeks and weeks of one-size-fits-all content — the program is really tailored to each individual company, so we get a lot for our time invested. It is also beneficial being part of a small cohort of companies — when programs have 20+ companies, you have to sometimes fight for attention.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I’ve received is "Culture eats strategy for lunch." The people you work with will define the company you build, and the bar is set by the worst behavior tolerated.
What two pieces of advice would you give to someone looking to become an entrepreneur?
Make sure you are working on something you are truly passionate about. This is an all-consuming job, and if you love what you do it will never feel like work.
I'd also say to take each day one at a time and to try to step back and enjoy the learning that comes with the process (and struggle). You will quickly get to a point where there is a fire drill every day, and the sooner you can train yourself to step back, fix the immediate problem, do a post-mortem to make sure it doesn't happen again, but to take out the emotion and drama, the better you will sleep at night!
Is there something you work on outside of your business that you'd like others to know about?
I volunteer with the Chicago Student Invention Convention, where I mentor a 4th-grade classroom as they go through a program to create their own STEM innovation. I love seeing the passion and curiosity in these students, and to see it applied toward entrepreneurship in STEM is really amazing.