While many founders of startups have some first-hand experience that spur them to build their companies, not many are as heartbreaking as Eric Dolan’s. In 2002, he contracted a flesh-eating disease in his leg. His mother had slipped discs in her back and had to have open back surgery—an issue that was complicated by her epilepsy. At the same time, a close family member started experiencing seizures. “Everything at the hospital was handled well, but when we got back home, solutions were lacking,” Dolan said.
Today, Dolan is the co-founder of Neutun, a smartwatch app that helps people track seizures. The app allows its users to record events from their device passively, track their conditions, and notify family members if someone they know is having a seizure. The underlying purpose of Neutun is to give people who suffer from epilepsy everyday control over a condition that is unpredictable.
“There are very few options to track yourself outside of a state-of-the-art facility or pen and paper. Chronic conditions, in particular, struggle with this,” said Dolan. “Acute is sudden and onset, and lends itself well to being in one of these facilities for short, intense periods of time. But with chronic conditions, these only show a part of a much larger picture.”
“Startups are uniquely positioned to do great things and more should be encouraged to do so. You can build cool stuff that matters.”
While Dolan’s product is meant to help those suffering from seizures, Dolan also makes it a point to help their loved ones. The company recently created a support network for both those suffering from epilepsy and their loved ones to learn about their conditions and contribute resources. “For every person struggling with epilepsy or a chronic condition they have a network of people right beside them in their fight,” said Dolan. “We wanted to build a way so they can support one another through a common mission.”
For the past four months, Neutun has been working out of the Dreamit accelerator in Philadelphia, which is dedicated to healthtech startups. “We believe we can do a lot more with technology. We’re now at a point where the technology is so readily available,” said Dolan. “Startups are uniquely positioned to do great things and more should be encouraged to do so, instead of doing another version of yet another ‘me too’ product. You can build cool stuff that matters.”
While the app is only available on Pebble, Dolan and his co-founder Alex Dolan, who is also his brother, are working on an Apple watch and Android version—and, upon their return to Toronto, will be working out of the Biomedical Zone. “By being able to take control back and better understanding their condition. We’ve only just begun on what we want to build and the value we want to give our users,” said Dolan. “There are a ton of unmet problems that currently aren’t being addressed, and Neutun is the way to do it.”