"Don’t focus on competition, focus on your customer"Read more...
"Be consistent, be humble, keep pushing"
Today's entrepreneur is Ehsan Vaghefi, co-founder and CEO of Toku Eyes, a company that uses AI to detect eye health, as well as diabetes and cardiovascular conditions.
Toku Eyes achieves this through its two products: the first one, called THEIA, is an AI platform that can look at the images of the eye, without the need of a clinician, and quickly tell if they need to go and see a clinician. The second product is called ORAiCLE, and it uses AI to recognize minute changes in the blood vessels to capillaries to determine a person’s risk of having a cardiovascular event, such as a stroke or heart attack.
The company, which is currently live in New Zealand and India, and which has been used by one million people so far, recently expanded its services to the United States.
Vaghefi's academic and entrepreneurial career has been focused on preventing blindness through accessible and novel technologies. This is because his father lost his eyesight as a child, due to a preventable but undiagnosed disease. Vaghefi has been a guide all his life. After all, when other children his age were being helped across the street by their parents, he was helping his blind father across roads.
Companies I've founded or co-founded:
Companies I work or worked for:
The University of Auckland
Achievements (products built, personal awards won):
I am now an associate professor of Medical Imaging and Artificial Intelligence in Optometry and Ophthalmology at the University of Auckland. As an academic, I have published more than 45 peer-reviewed journal articles and 3 patents, and been awarded more than $10M in research grants.
In 2018, me and my co-founder, Dr. David Squirrell, started Toku Eyes, a social enterprise focused on his life’s goal: helping prevent blindness on a large scale.
If you're an entrepreneur or corporate innovator, why?
I want to change the world.
My favorite startups:
Why did you start your company or why do you want to innovate inside your company?
My academic and entrepreneurial career has been focused on preventing blindness through accessible and novel technologies. This is because my father lost his eyesight as a child, due to a preventable but undiagnosed disease. I have been a guide all my life. After all, when other children my age were being helped across the street by their parents, I was helping my blind father across roads.
What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?
What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs/innovators make?
Inconsistency, thinking that this is going to be easy, Thinking that passion can take you all the way
What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?
Be consistent, be humble, keep pushing
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