It’s the ultimate “nerdy” thing for tech entrepreneurs, Sarah Hill said as Columbia-based startup, StoryUP joins an Apple summer cohort — specifically designed to support women-led companies.
“To have direct communication, to troubleshoot in an area of media that’s difficult to create. It is valuable for us and we’re honored and we’re really excited about learning … how we can make our products better,” Hill, founder and CEO of StoryUP, said from Apple’s Cupertino, California headquarters.
Click here for a closer look at StoryUP, maker of Healium — the world’s first wearable, VR-enabled stress management system.
The two-week program — Apple Entrepreneur Camp, which launched its pilot cohort in January — strives to create new opportunities for women-led tech companies through work in Apple’s intensive technology lab and specialized support and mentoring, the company said.
“Apple is committed to helping more women assume leadership roles across the tech sector and beyond,” Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO said in a November 2018 release about the program’s launch. “We’re proud to help cultivate female leadership in the app development community with the new Apple Entrepreneur Camp, and we’re inspired both by the incredible work that’s already happening, and what’s sure to come.”
A tech company known for revolutionizing the way consumers buy and use devices, the Apple program couldn’t be a better fit for StoryUP as Hill and her team continue to develop the company’s products in a marketplace they might not have been meant to infiltrate, Hill explained.
“These wearables were not natively designed in order to power augmented, virtual reality, spatial computing environments,” she said. “They were likely designed to track heart rate and we’re doing kind of flipping that on its head and not just tracking, but allowing you to interact with those environments by using your heart rate as a power source.”
Already rich in momentum, 2019 continues to be an impressive year for StoryUP, Hill explained, noting the company successfully secured a patent for its tech earlier this month.
The company landed a licensing deal that allows more than 20 airlines to use its stress management products on long haul flights, emerged as winners of CES and SXSW pitch competitions, received a Webby nomination and entered a partnership with XRHealth — Facebook’s health partner — granting more than 20 healthcare organizations access to Healium.
Click here for a look at StoryUP’s international traction.
“What’s behind this momentum is our team,” Hill said with gratitude, confident the company won’t stop short of its goals. “We have an incredible group of hardworking folks that lean into challenges instead of step away. They’re comfortable in things that are messy and don’t have clear cut solutions.”
Such an approach has positioned StoryUP for even more growth as the company continues to put itself out there, ever-seeking opportunities — no matter how out of reach they might seem, Hill said.
“We’re in an area where it’s traditionally difficult to raise [capital]. … this kind of traction is helpful to us,” she said.
More exposure — both for the brand and to new ideas and support for its team — could mean a bigger payoff as StoryUP continues to rise in the silicon prairie, she noted.
Is your company women-led? Click here to apply for Apple’s Entrepreneur Camp.