Jenny Yu, Optitrum, Finalist of the Student Track

Jenny Yu

Jenny Yu is a member of a team trying to eliminate pain for diabetics through their company Optitrum. The team’s commitment to both their business and their customers helped them place as finalists in the Student Track of the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition.

Jenny received both her bachelor’s in Biomedical Engineering and her master’s in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship from Brown University. It was during her capstone project for the master’s program that Optitrum came to life with team members Xinming Shi, Lu Liu, and Jing Feng. Not only did the whole team strongly believe in what Optitrum was working towards, but diabetes patients were also excited about the business’ potential, so they stuck with it after their capstone project was over.

Jenny joked that the only business experience she had previous to the master’s program was “playing shop as a child with [her] sister,” so she relied on her parents, team and mentors at Brown to help her get things started. One of the hardest challenges the team faced was completing the market research. They wanted to make sure they had enough validated bottom-up research that could help them understand the challenges diabetes patients face. In the end, they discovered that diabetics do not want to be carrying around needles on a daily basis, so they began to work on an alternative.

“Optitrum aims to eliminate pain in the lives of diabetics. We are developing a non-invasive glucose meter that utilizes saliva to test glucose concentrations in the body, eliminating the need for painful finger pricks that traditional glucose meters use,” explained Jenny.
Jenny and her team researched for about six months and then took another month to finalize their plan. They are very confident in Optitrum, and they know their passion and the proprietary technology and innovation that defines their company separates them from their competition. Their hard work also separated them from competitors at the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition, where Optitrum was a finalist in the Student Track.
“It was so exciting that other people believed in Optitrum and our goals – not just the team, our mentors, and our advisors. My team and I are truly thankful for the opportunities that the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition gave us, not only in giving Optitrum a chance, but also in really launching it,” said Jenny.
Now that the competition is over and Jenny has graduated from Brown, she has moved Optitrum to her number one priority. The team hopes to begin FDA approval later this year and is currently working on value-adding experiments that will compare the accuracy of their product to traditional glucose meters. Jenny’s team found that diabetes is expected to triple by 2050, and people are being diagnosed at birth. They are looking forward to making diabetics’ lives easier with their pain-free product, and they are eager to get their product out on the market to start helping people.
As for advice for business owners just starting out, Jenny says success is all about following your passion.
“Entrepreneurship is a constant learning process, so don’t be deterred by people who think you are too young or inexperienced. Of course, it is important that you don’t get tunnel vision and become wrapped up in your own love for an idea; instead, find mentors and pick a strong team with complementary strengths and knowledge – these are the people that you can rely on, that you don’t mind spending the majority of your day with, and most importantly, they are the ones that will keep you grounded,” said Jenny.

Leave a comment

Avatar About the Author:

previous arrow
next arrow