ClarityDSP has been selected to exhibit in the Innovation Showcase at this year's VentureFest North East. Founder Bob Stiles tells BQ what his business does and his advice for the next generation of innovators.
Describe your business in no more than 60 words
ClarityDSP is a healthcare technology startup based in Newcastle. It is dedicated to the design and manufacture of Digital Spectrometers - compact, PC-based, RF noise-cancelling Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan controllers.
What prompted you to enter the innovation showcase?
Innovation Showcase seemed like a great way to network, meet like-minded people and share nifty MRI technology with a wide audience.
Describe the innovation that you’ve entered the showcase with.
I’ll be demonstrating a single channel scan controller which I’ll configure to run and display simulated MRI scans. The controller consists of a highly-precise digitally controlled radio transmitter, a sensitive digital radio receiver and a high-resolution gradient pulse generator housed in a rack-mountable chassis.
Visitors to the Showcase will be able to configure the machine and see and hear the MRI signals as they are acquired.
How would you describe that innovation to your grandparents?
It’s a way of helping people and saving lives in the developing world, Grandma!
What are the best and worst parts of trying to be innovative in your business?
Healthcare is a huge billion-pound industry, so it’s likely to be a hard business to break into. As a startup, however, ClarityDSP is well placed to occupy niches in the market by being agile, customer responsive and able to provide bespoke solutions - with a combination of 20+ years of industry experience and modern software and CAD development tools. And innovative ideas!
What are the biggest challenges you face?
Developing the product has been an interesting task in itself, however finding the right market for the products presents further challenges. MRI system manufacturers typically buy many system components off the shelf - controllers included - but finding the right manufacturers and building up good working relationships is likely to be a challenge.
Healthcare equipment is also tightly regulated in many countries, and it can very expensive and time-consuming to obtain the required approvals.
Where do you get support and advice to help you run your business?
I’m really proud to be on the Enable program at Entrepreneurial Spark in Newcastle, not just for the support of the awesome staff there but also for the help and advice (and constructive criticism!) of the other members. It’s great to be around like-minded people who just ‘get it’.
What does being chosen for the innovation showcase mean to you?
It’s both a privilege and an opportunity. I’m looking forward to it, and expecting everyone to have a great time!
Where do you see your company in five years’ time?
I’d like to see ClarityDSP growing to a point where we have become a small, eager team of 5 - 10 people engaged in design, assembly, sales, marketing and support of MRI imaging solutions. And selling worldwide.
What would you tell businesses who are hoping to be more innovative?
Be bold. Be curious. Be open-minded.
Work hard. Listen to people’s stories, ideas and problems. Don’t be afraid to use your imagination. Be grounded - but give yourself permission to dream.
It’s better to have loads of ideas - many of which may turn out to be impractical - than to have none at all.
Come and see the region's latest innovations for yourself, and get a unique chance to talk to the people behind the big ideas by registering for VentureFest North East here https://goo.gl/kmYriT