An innovator’s journey from idea to market can be challenging and complicated—but also rewarding. Each month we explore how inventor-entrepreneurs in our network have evolved since they started their journey. Our goal is to share key learnings and best practices with early-stage science and technology inventors embarking on a path of innovation and entrepreneurship. Our latest spotlight is with Adria Abella Villafranca, co-founder of E-Team, hDrop. Dehydration is a dangerous risk for athletes during physically stressful exercises. hDrop created a wearable device that tracks hydration levels through biometrics and notifies athletes when they drop too low, ensuring they stay safe from heat exhaustion.
what challenge did you seek to solve with your innovation and why?
Typically, three out of four people are dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to complications and life-threatening emergency situations including heat stroke, kidney failure, urinary tract infections, and seizures. Dehydration affects not only your physical performance but also your mindset and awareness levels. Athletes are being affected by these conditions in every practice or competition.
We developed a wearable device that uses perspiration biometrics to provide quick and accurate hydration readings to its user. It is intended to raise an athlete’s awareness by signaling to them when it’s necessary to drink water. An athlete wearing the hDrop will be less likely to have a heat-related injury and will be reassured that they are in a good hydrative condition before, during, and after intense physical activity.
what have you learned along your innovation and entrepreneurship journey?
Entrepreneurs must focus on meeting customer needs. Without customers, you’re without a business.
tell us how you’ve integrated environmentally-responsible practices into your innovation or process.
We always try to be environmentally responsible, which is why we have used recycled plastic to prototype hDrop. We have also adapted the design to work with rechargeable batteries and we have designed packaging with eco-friendly materials to make it easy to recycle.
how has support from VentureWell impacted your innovation and venture?
Venturewell’s program has opened the doors to a network of entrepreneurs. During the learning process, the coaching helped us to better understand the consumer and improve our product.
what’s next for you?
We’ll continue to carry out tests to improve the device, the application, and all aspects related to the company. We are aiming to release a consumer product by the end of the year.
The E-Team program supports dedicated science- and engineering-based student teams from across the nation in bringing their high-impact innovation out of the lab and into the market. Learn more about the E-Team Grant Program or read more Innovator Spotlights on our blog.