One catastrophic incident or a tragedy can change someone’s life. The story of Marc Rippen is a striking instance of this. Marc found her wife nearly slipping into a diabetic coma and became unresponsive due to being in prolonged low blood sugar state. After he was able to rehabilitate her, he took a strong hold of the situation and started Alertgy. He turned his tragedy into a triumph by incepting Alertgy, a platform committed to transforming how we monitor blood sugar to improve the lives of diabetics, and in the future, help people prevent diabetes.
“Never give up on something that really matters to you.”
In an interview with Insights Success, Marc sheds light on his inspiring entrepreneurial journey and how Alertgy’s technology is addressing the highly desired ability to measure blood sugar levels with an external wearable sensor device.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Give a brief overview of your background and your role in Alertgy.
I was a former army officer, and most recently the director of Engineering for the Marine and Space Technology Division of Stanford Research Institute (SRI) International. I hold degrees in microbiology, analytical chemistry, and aeronautics. I have always been involved the development of technology to solve critical problems starting as a material engineer at Pratt & Whitney where I managed advance research and development programs that supported the development of advanced materials for jet and rocket engines. I then transitioned to become a field engineer for leading atomic and molecular spectroscopy companies where I provided turnkey solutions to materials analysis for a broad variety of industries from agriculture to environmental to manufacturing to advanced research and development in leading research institutions. From there I became the director of the FIU College of Engineering NASA tech transfer center where I helped companies utilize NASA technologies in the commercial arena. In this role I helped small businesses raise venture capital and pursue SBIR and STTR programs to fund the commercialization of their technologies. From there I co-founded an Internet Start-up company and raised 1 million dollars and eventually was able to take the company public in an acquisition. The combination of my education and experience allowed me the means to launch Alertgy and bring it to where it is today.
How do you diversify your tech solutions so as to appeal your target audience?
Alertgy provides the first non-invasive wearable continuous glucose monitor and alert system to measure true blood glucose. It sets diabetics free from having to think about taking glucose measurements by allowing for fully automated, continuous monitoring with pre-set alerts for low or high glucose levels, as set by the user. The medical device and diagnostic industry are constantly growing and changing, with new technologies being introduced to the market all the time. We are entering a new era of medicine that will be significantly impacted by the incredible growth and breakthroughs in wearables, cloud-based IoT sensor systems, application of AI 10, and digital health.
What strategies do you undertake to make your employees resourceful?
The strategy I undertake to make our employees resourceful is to motivate them by leading through example, by understanding what is important to them and giving them an opportunity to meeting their need through their work assignments.
What are some of the vital attributes, in your opinion, that every leader should possess?
Having led Alertgy successfully since its inception, I believe some of the vital attributes that every successful leader should possess are humility, honesty, empathy, caring for people that work with you, willingness to fall and learn from mistakes, and open-mindedness are some of the must have qualities for an ideal leader. Additionally, I reckon that a leader should have passion, ability to listen, forgiveness, openness to learning, and a never-say-die attitude to thrive in today’s competitive world.
How necessary is it to align business with technology and what are its outcomes?
There is no question that business and technology go hand in hand today and one cannot exist without the other. In the case of Alertgy, our products would not be accessible to the patient population without AI algorithms and Internet of Things (IoT).
How do you sustain your entrepreneurial spirit in this changing technological era?
Change is the only thing that is constant, and we must stay ahead of the curve. Our world-class engineering team adopted and implemented an aggressive AI and IoT implementation strategy early on which is now bearing fruit.
How do you deal with dynamics of market?
Market dynamics are everchanging, and challenges abound. However, we thrive on competition and learning / pivoting along the way in order to come up with a winning combination of technology and patient applications that will make life easier for tens of millions of diabetics and prediabetics.
What advice would you like to give to the emerging leaders?
Have a good attitude because it is critical, flexibility and ability to recognize when you make mistakes and then to solve them is also important.