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Tyiwanna Carter from The OrVac

By April 2, 2021April 14th, 2021No Comments

Liz [00:00:09] I’m excited to be here with you today. We’ve got Tyiwanna Carter, the inventor, and founder of the OrVac, with us from Launch Lane Accelerator. Let’s talk a little bit about your company and why you started.

Tyiwanna [00:00:24] Well, hello, I’m very happy to be here, thank you so much for having me. Well, I invented the OrVac originally for my mom as a suction device for people with swallowing disorders. I witnessed her having difficulty eating while swallowing while he was literally turning a different take. And I thought it had to be a better solution. And when I couldn’t find one, I created is the suction device, which she can hold for herself and suction out the excess saliva before choking on it while she was eating.

Liz [00:01:01] Yeah, and that seems like a very necessary tool to have it’s kind of I remember the first time, the first time that you were talking about OrVac thinking, wow, this doesn’t already exist. You know, it’s shocking. Yeah, it’s so shocking and when you applied to launch Lane in the fall, what were you hoping to get out of the accelerating?

Tyiwanna [00:01:29] Because I’m a sole founder and founder and I work so well. I was really I was looking to get besides the money, I was looking to get the camaraderie of other founders into mentorship. Throughout the program. Because we don’t have the resources and don’t necessarily because it’s a medical device. This product was on my one day when I won the lottery, I could develop it. But luckily I found accelerator programs and they can give you the mentorship. Then you’re around people that are in the same spot that you’re in. And we can knock on doors and ask experts like you and Nestor and Aaron and Eamon, I mean, to have access to all those experts is invaluable.

Liz [00:02:19] Yeah, no, I mean, I think accelerators and incubators are just an amazing thing to be a part of, both as a participant and as an advisor. It’s just a really great environment, especially with what we’re doing with the Science Center in Launch Lane specifically. But what are some of the I mean, what are some of the biggest challenges that you’ve had? Because it is a medical device. And I know that’s tough.

Tyiwanna [00:02:49] It’s way tougher than I thought. You know, I’m from the old school, you think of it, you panic and you find a manufactured manufacturer. If it doesn’t work, OK, you sell off the excess inventory to Joe Moore or Foreman Mills to get the money back, to pay back the people that do it. But when you’re dealing with a medical device, there are other elements that you have to the steps that you have to go through because it takes more money. A bank is not going to give you money because you’re unproven. And so it is very challenging. With a medical device, you definitely need help. And the biggest thing is to know to ask for that help. So the biggest challenge is to say, OK, do I ask, is this stupid? Should I know this? Should I just look it up on Google versus saying, no, it’s time to pick up the phone and call someone and ask them, what do you do? But if you don’t have those resources, you can’t make those calls. So that was the big challenge with a medical device, was knowing the different steps like FDA clearance. I didn’t know about FDA clearance, but now I do. So you can’t just put it in Wal-Mart. You need a durable, durable equipment manager or distributor. So there are different elements that you have to go through with a medical device.

Liz [00:04:12] So now they’re getting approval. That’s huge, and I know it takes I know it can take some time to get to that point. And in the past, one of the other programs that I’ve worked with, we’ve walked people through that process as well. And I mean, sometimes you really have to look well beyond your current location to find access to programs like Launch Lane or programs in general that can give you funding and assistance with FDA approval. Because it does. It takes a lot of effort. I give you a lot of credit for taking on that challenge, and I think you’ve got it in you.

Tyiwanna [00:04:53] Thank you. Well, I’m sorry because I mean, my mom really needs the product in my previous version was just too complicated for her to change by herself. She’s paralyzed. Only has to use one arm. So it needed to have something that she could not have to worry about, finding it off and on. It’s something that she could pick out and something she could change on her own. So that is part of that is a big motivation and also the challenge of you’re not going to stop me, I’m going to do it. You know, I may not do it the way you want me to do it, but it will get done. I can guarantee you that.

Liz [00:05:30] Yeah, I think that’s the right attitude to have, and that’s one of the reasons why you’ve made it this far to get into an accelerator because I think that people who have the right attitude and the right vibe about them to actually go out and get things done is those are the people who get accepted into programs like this. And I think that’s important for people to know that they have to really be a doer. You can’t just have a great idea. An idea is not enough. You have to take action and actually move forward with it. And even with the challenge you still have, the attitude is going to get done regardless. I think that’s exciting.

Tyiwanna [00:06:13] Thank you very much. I’m very excited. Can’t believe my end. It is love, but it is hard work too. I mean, I put in the time going to if it was a pitch event somewhere, I was there. If there was a panel, I was there. If it was especially if it was free, I was there. I think I want to so many panels that people thought I was just there for the food, you know, but all of that was watching and learning and seeing how other people pitch, seeing what they talk about on a panel, and getting to meet people in the audience. You know, I got an attorney through that. You know, I got contacts for the other accelerators that I’ve been part of just by being by just showing up.

Liz [00:07:00] How do you, you mentioned having multiple versions of your products, how do you work through iteration as a solo founder?

Tyiwanna [00:07:12] I… You know, in a past life, I must have been an engineer because I love it. I mean, the first one was an eight-dollar air pump, some glue, hot glue and tape, and baby bottles and tubing that we plug to my mom. And it was just crazy, you know, but it worked. And she used it and that was the biggest thing. And they let us on a plane because that was the whole thing. She was not going to be sitting next to me. So I needed something small enough to fit in her wheelchair. And lo and behold, they let that on the plane back then and it worked. And then I found a pimple extractor in the dollar store, of all places, and I thought, oh, I can make that smaller and take the whole thing to the bottle, and now I can fit in one cup. And all she had to do with flip it on with one hand and then bring it instead of digging around it. I mean, it was. When you need to fix something and you see an improvement, normally you do, I, I credit my inventions to the kids and they’re in different stages and say, OK, well, now you’re crawling and now you’re walking, now you’re school. You’ve got to go to college and then you’re going to buy Mama House. So

Liz [00:08:31] Have you ever invented anything before this? And is this something that you’ve always like to do or is this just the first invention you’ve had?

Tyiwanna [00:08:40] This is the first invention that made it past the front door, I should say. I invented a lot of things. I’ve created a lot of things. And normally you once I have created it, I kind of like, OK, well, let’s move on to the next thing. And someone years ago did pay me a compliment and say, you know why you do that? I’m like, no, you said you’re an engineer. You just like to build it, fix it, and then you move on. So, yeah, my basement is full of other things that I’ve done and just haven’t made it out the front door.

Liz [00:09:13] That’s why it’s funny, because I do that a lot, too, so I totally get that and I see that being a part of my future, which is why I’m currently trying to clear out my basement now because God only knows what’s going to be in there. And then in the next 10 years, the way that I start something and put stuff away. But I think that that’s I think it’s good to be creative. And when I was a kid, I wanted to be an inventor, actually, like there was a period of time where I used to draw out all kinds of crazy things. And I never took that to actually building something until I started working in Web development design. And that was the first time that I started doing that. But enough about me. I’m really curious right now to know how you’re dealing with the pandemic and has that shifted any of your priorities for the business?

Tyiwanna [00:10:13] Yes, that damn pandemic, I mean, I was really like I said, I was really looking forward to the camaraderie of being around different entrepreneurs, having a place to get out and go and, you know, so that’s the one. But then also I met the beta process, and that means I’m building out my first actual product to look exactly and work exactly like I want it to work and professionally done. But then the pandemic hit in all the warehouses and all the engineers have shifted their duties and glad gratefully that they shifted their priorities to making facemasks and shields and medical covers. And I’m grateful for that. But that does throw a wrench in my program that I’m unable to move forward with my Beta at this point. In some ways, the pandemic has helped because we have video calls now and I’ll have to get on a plane and go to California to meet with someone I can just dial-up. So you take the good with the bad.

Liz [00:11:22] Yeah, there’s always some kind of upside in the video. I mean, it’s crazy. It’s crazy because. I actually was just given another company, this advice, maybe a week ago, they were asking about doing virtual pitch events and I was like, you know what? Hey, you might have access to more investors than you did before, virtually, just because now people don’t have to fly across the country to be able to watch these pitches. And I think that as somebody who organizes these types of programs and events, I think that going forward, I’m going to do a little bit more to make sure that things are a little bit more accessible because I think that the more accessible we make pitch events, the more accessible it’ll be for people to get funding from all over the place. And we don’t have to beg people to come into Philly, although I would like to see more investors here physically in Philly, at least if we can get them virtually, that’ll be good for now. I’ll be happy with that.

Tyiwanna [00:12:32] And especially for hardware products, because it’s not. What is the call, SAS? What is it? Software as a service? It’s not a software company is we’re physically making a product. So tooling has to be purchased. You have to buy the materials to make it. And so it can’t get expensive. And for a long time, it felt that Philadelphia was becoming more like the Silicon Valley of the East. And when you told them you were actually physically making a product, it was like, oh, so another reason why I was so happy that launch lane you all created this accelerator program, because it does it helps out people, hardware products, you know, in which a lot of places don’t.

Liz [00:13:19] Yeah, no, it’s very difficult. I know there are a lot of really interesting people right now that are working on hardware products here in Philly, and there are also people working on creating more of a manufacturing community locally. So I hope that I hope that that starts to come to light for people in the future because we really need to be able to manufacture these things here. And thankfully, we have organizations like Next Fab. I’m sure there are other fabrication labs here as well. But those really do make a difference when you’re trying to make a physical product. If you can go and 3D, print something and have it within a day. I mean, in China, there are already coworking spaces and coffee shops where people can go and build their prototype within twenty-four hours. And I think that’s amazing. Yes, definitely in Shenzhen. And I hope that we can get more of that here. That’s one of my personal interest, is finding ways for people who want to do a hardware project to have access to 3D printing and things like that in a way that’s a little bit more just easy to get to. I mean, Nextfab is there and they do really amazing things. They have great spaces. But for people who maybe don’t have the money to join a Nextfab but have a really great idea, I’d love to see 3D printing getting into more of these community centers around the city and maybe the library if the library does not. The library has a lot of stuff, way more stuff than people think you’ll be surprised.

Tyiwanna [00:15:05] I love the library. Mm hmm.

Liz [00:15:08] I feel like most. Yeah, and it’s free, most of the resources that I use when I was younger were at the library actually, and I still use the free libraries Web site right now to find books while I’m stuck at home all these weeks. So I encourage people to go out and kind of take on the same attitude that you that you’ve already shared. You know, go out and just do it, go to events, go meet people, go to the library, get resources. There’s a lot you can get for free. And I feel like a lot of people don’t realize that. How do you find these events that you go to?

Tyiwanna [00:15:45] Like I said, I go, I love the library. Always have in their business center. I mean, that’s a coworking space by itself. So once everyone is able to go back out, I encourage everybody to visit the library, especially the main library on Vine Street on the parkway. It’s a beautiful building and everything is there. And their website is very inclusive. They can even break it down to the neighborhood. So a lot of the events I find on their website, Eventbrite, you know, the ticketing, all the ticketing sites, if you simply put in a pitch or even free or networking or all of them, they come up in your area and you can pick and choose. And like I said, especially when you’re working solo just to get out of the house and meet other people is so important, is so important for you because you never know who you might run into.

Liz [00:16:43] Yeah, it’s true, you never know who you’ll run into, and when you go out and you let people know what you’re working on, I feel like Philadelphia’s startup community in just Philadelphia, in general, is super friendly and people are excited to tell their people about the things that they learn about. For, for me, when I first started going to local events, I did the same thing. I was going on Eventbrite and Meetup.com for a lot of stuff. And when I let people know that I was looking for a job, this was years ago, people immediately asked me, Oh, what am I looking for? And tried to match me up with stuff. And before I started going to two local tech meet-ups, I didn’t know anyone here. I wasn’t from here. And I was really struggling because I wasn’t putting myself out there. And I think that I think more people need to take on that initiative and just go out and do things. Speaking of going out and doing things, since I know you’ve tried a lot of other things, have you been able to try applying to any covid-19 related grants or loans or things like that? I know your early stage. How’s that how is that impacting your ability to do that?

Tyiwanna [00:17:58] No, I am so early stage, I don’t have employees and I don’t make an income from my product as yet, so no, I decided not to not to participate in any of that. Need that for people that actually have employees and, you know, that need the funds more than I do. Although going to those websites kind of feeds you into other federal websites that do have money for startup individuals. You know, the SBIR grants, I mean, that’s millions of dollars that the government will give you. I mean, it’s a lot it’s a long application process, but, you know, nobody’s going to give you a couple of hundred thousand dollars for, you know, for just saying, please, you have to go through the process.

Liz [00:18:44] You have to go through the process, and I guess what I would say is. I’ve been there in the scene thought in the same cycle of thought where it seems like something is not for me and that someone else might really benefit from it if I leave that open for other people. But I would also say always think twice about that because there’s going to always be people who don’t need these things that are applying that are these bigger companies and they’re taking all the benefits. And when those programs really are designed for people like us that are working on startups and kicking off something new in the local economy. So don’t always allow yourself to feel like anything for you, because, I mean, you’re working on something really amazing. And I mean, I always tell people whatever kind of funding you can get is always going to be helpful. But these opportunities are coming and going so quick. It’s like even if you want to apply, they’re just like they’re just here and gone within a week. it’s just so fast

Tyiwanna [00:19:56] Right. And they said that the L.A. Lakers received like four million dollars. Oh, like what? L.A. Lakers, really? And they’re the only ones that reported it. I’m sorry. We’re all talking. No, I’m.

Liz [00:20:09] No, but but but that’s my point. And that’s my point is there’s always going to be somebody else who’s in a lot of these larger companies are willing to take advantage of these opportunities and take them away from people that are starting up something and could really use the extra funds. So, you know, just always think twice about it, because I always tell myself to I always try to check myself because especially as an underrepresented founder and in a woman in entrepreneurship. We don’t take them up on the opportunities that are out there for us and there and there are a lot of them. So I feel like taking advantage of what you can get as long as you’re being empathetic and mindful of the situation, there’s no harm in it because there’s like Shake Shack, I think took all that money as well. Right. I mean, they gave it back, but they took it. They really didn’t need it as much as other people do. So, I mean, I try to put myself into the shoes of what would a white man do that is a businessman. And sometimes because I had an I actually had a white male co-founder in my previous company. And what I learned from working with him is that I needed to push myself more outside of my comfort zone because he would sometimes ask for things that I would just never have thought to ask for. And then he would make it happen. And I just felt like, oh, OK. Like maybe if I put myself out there more. I might benefit from some of these things a little bit more often than not. And I was really surprised because he was much more a risk-taker than I was in the first place. I think men are they’re known to be more heavily heavy risk-takers in entrepreneurship than women are. But also some investors invest in women because we are careful. So there’s a little bit of balance. But I think there’s that is one of the benefits I had from having a co-founder and general was that I was able to to to be able to learn from how he did stuff and he was able to learn from how I did stuff. I think I think we rubbed off on each other a little bit. And, you know, being in an accelerator as a solo founder gives you an opportunity to do some of that to replace the need for having a team because you have all these really interesting people to bounce ideas off of. And I think that in watching, I’ve been really impressed with everyone’s ability and interest in jumping in to help each other find the answers to their questions during our meetings.

Tyiwanna [00:23:04] Yeah.

Liz [00:23:05] Yeah. Have you I guess, in switching to virtual, do you feel like you’ve lost something in those interactions or do you feel like it’s been maintained?

Tyiwanna [00:23:21] Yeah, definitely, when you get on, especially in the group calls, because normally we will be all around the conference table, and if you ask someone a question, you can read their body language. You can look at how they… You know, how they respond or just, you know, I’m very much a people person, so I like to interact with people and read their body language. And recently, there was a question that I had about. Advisers and in the group setting, I could not see this person’s response, which I was so hoping to, because I respect them and I wanted to see their response versus hearing the kind of politically correct thing that they say that, you know, that they said about this person like, oh, well, you know, we’ve been great to see their face, to get them, you know, the redividing. So the pandemic has really messed up that virtual thing. I hate being on camera because I just don’t like being on camera. I just never take a good picture out of all my sisters. I always like Casper is just so I hate being on camera like that. But I know this blog is also helping me because my product will be big one day. I need to learn how to interview. And this is my first official on-camera interview. So and you’re very expressive and you’re very honest. So it’s very comfortable. But I am cringing at the playback because I know I just ramble.

Liz [00:24:53] You’re totally fine because the reason that I’m good at this is that I’m a talker, so I’m always happy when I get another talk around with me because at least there’s a good back and forth. Right. And I think that you know, for I remember the first couple of times that I hopped on to video calls and interviews as a founder and talking about my business. It is a little nerve-wracking and I get anxious. So I totally get it. But I think I think you’re doing a really great job. And one of the things that we look for when we look at founders is presentation ability. Right. And I think that you’re a really great presenter. I think that you, you have a good energy about you. So I think that that’s I think that’s a really important thing to do when you go to events. You said you’ve done some [00:25:47]pitch events, [0.2s] right?

Tyiwanna [00:25:49] Yes. Yes. I have.

Liz [00:25:50] I how do you prepare for that? [00:25:52]How did you prepare to do pitch events? [1.9s] Ohh it’s that an award?

Tyiwanna [00:25:57] Yes, I won it from Amazon. So. Yes.

Liz [00:26:03] How did you…how did you get yourself ready for that?

Tyiwanna [00:26:07] Practice, practice, practice! I mean, my poor husband used to think there was a third person in this house. I’m walking around just talking to myself the whole way through and really practice, practice, practice. And you notice when you don’t practice, you’re off, you’re really off your game, you know. So it is one of those things that, you know, when you’re brushing your teeth in the morning. Hello, my name is like one of my products, the blah blah, but it needs to come to you like second nature. So practice, practice, practice. And we all have phones now record yourself record. So practicing your pitch. So that’s what I did. I know every day I practice my feet and even now every day I kind of wake up and hello, my name is someone you know, go through the different things because you want to change your pitch for different audiences. So if you’re talking to investors, they may not want to know everything from A to Z, you know. So you have to switch. Change it up.

Liz [00:27:08] I think that is a really important point when you’re talking to different people, your pitch might change a little bit and I think a lot of people forget that and they get prepared for just one type of pitch and then they’re not ready for the questions that they get. So I think that’s really cool that you practice every day. I wish I could say that I have that same commitment to practicing my own pitches, but I think that that’s such important. And I think that’s really good advice. If if if anything, right now. What have you learned from the experience of [00:27:51]living through this pandemic in regards to your business and its growth? [6.3s]

Tyiwanna [00:27:59] You have to learn how to roll with the punches because it seems like someone is always trying to throw tires in your way and you just have to jump out of the way move out the way, sometimes you get hit with it, but then you just got to brush yourself off and and keep it moving and try to just solve the next problem. And the pandemic It has… It’s thrown our lives out of order. You know, you go through life thinking this thing will happen, and all of a sudden, boom. This big thing has been thrown in your way, but I also kind of think there’s and unfortunately, a lot of people have lost their lives with this, but I think a lot of people have now. Decided to take the time that they need to be with people that they want to be with, like I lost my grandmother through the pandemic and we weren’t able to visit her before and we weren’t able to go and get her body. So it was just a big thing. But now that made me conscious that, oh, you know what? When I have the opportunity to pick up that phone and call my other grandmother or my sisters or I do now, you know, so the pandemic hurt in one way. Like I said, hopefully, is making life better in another way. And I’m so sorry for anybody that lost a loved one during this time for this horrible, you know, so but learning how to roll with the punches, and in a business, you’re going to have to learn, and especially if you’re the founder of it, things are always going to go wrong. You have to forget..not forget That. But You have to know that nothing is perfect. You know, you may have gone and, you know, I’m going to give you fifty thousand dollars, but you always knew this, no matter how great that is out now, I got to do for it. So just roll with the punches.

Liz [00:29:54] Yeah. Because you got to roll with the punches. And you’re right. Not really. Not much comes for free. So you got to ask the right questions and not just be in the right place at the right time, but you got to ask the right questions and you’ve got to ask for help when you need it. And you’ve got to really put yourself out there. And I mean, I know we talked about, you know, we’ve talked about loss and some of our back and forth messages and things. And I know it’s just a hard time for everybody, having lost my I’ll and going through the same thing, not being able to to go to the funeral because in upstate New York and it’s social distance and it’s just it’s difficult to deal with loss while you’re also running a business, while you’re also trying to be creative and stay focused and keep things moving. And especially if you’re if you have other family members that you’re trying to take care of as well. Right. I mean, the OrVac was all about improving your mother’s life, improving her quality of life where it’s at. And I think that it’s you know, when you’re when you’re focused on on self care and making space to, you know, to to not just roll with the punches, but to allow yourself time to process what you’re going through. I think it also makes you a stronger leader going down the road. This is a tough time for all of us, tougher for some of us than for others. But I think it’s through these kinds of events in life that we learn something, we grow from it, and then we get we get better. We do we get stronger. So I like your positive attitude about things, too. And I think it’s I think it’s infectious. I think people need to know people need to allow that kind of positive energy and advice to come through and really absorb it because it’s hard to I think I think it is hard to have that kind of attitude. I think that you’re fortunate to be able to kind of lean into rolling with the punches when a lot of people just don’t have it in them to do that. What what do you do anything for? Work-life balance?

Liz [00:32:24] You know, I

Liz [00:32:26] what kind of stuff do you do to take care of yourself?

Tyiwanna [00:32:28] When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is thank you, God. I choose to be happy, you know, and God knows there’s a lot of things that can make you miserable. But honestly, I really do believe, as you say, OK, you know what? I’m not going to get that down. My stepmother, my stepmother-in-law, cause my step, my other mother, and my mom, she has a thing I didn’t cause. It can’t cure it. Cause the cure is the three things that she didn’t create it. But there’s nothing I can do. So there’s no reason for me to be miserable. But then my cat has a thing. My husband kisses me on the forehead and he wakes me up every morning to know that I got my kiss. So so before he goes off to work, which is weird, but that’s our thing. And then once my eyes are open, I swear my cat sees the whites of my eyes and she comes and sits on my chest. I can I be mad at that. So that’s my work. Life balance is tight with my husband. Oh, we love the “Wii” and we’re not talking about the new “Wii”, the one with the hands, the “OLD Wii” the one that you played tennis and baseball with. So that, that, that’s my work-life balance is to do that you know, is broken. I had three, I’m on my third one now because they don’t make them. Anymore. So you have to go to eBay to find them when they break, so. So that’s my work-life balance, my cat, my husband, and Wii games.

Liz [00:33:53] So those Wii games were real fun. I have a PlayStation four and I’ve been playing with the VR headset was one of the first things that I decided to do when the pandemic kicked off because I was like, I need to feel like I’m going somewhere, but I can’t like this is too much. And I like physical games too. I, I didn’t know that, that the older Wiis weren’t in production anymore. So that’s a good tip for anybody who wants to get one. I do the family time and you need to have a little bit of both and you can’t be all work all the time. You got it. You got to make sure that the stuff that you’re working for, you’re also making space for at that time. Because I know for me, for me personally, one of the reasons why I came into entrepreneurship was that I wanted to be able to have the privilege and the ability to spend more time with my family. But what I realized over time was I was putting all my time into work and I wasn’t giving myself any family time. I was actually losing family time because you don’t know when you’re going to have a loss. And this pandemic really has has taught me a lot more about that, too, that I need to just get up and do that and do the things that I have that I’ve wanted to do. Now, don’t wait to spend time? My family doesn’t wait. Go on the trips that I want to go on. Not right now, but when this passes because I get on a plane anytime soon. But, you know, speaking of things I want to do, when this passes, what do you most forward to looking at or what are you looking forward to doing when we can reemerge from our home.

Tyiwanna [00:35:39] Hugging? I mean, I’m going to give my mother a big hug, my mom, my stepmother. I mean, I just want to I want to touch people again. You know, we’re big huggers in my family. And of course, my father had had a stroke just before the new year and got out of the hospital just before the pandemic hit. And so just to be in, he’s compromised, has had a kidney transplant in the past. So he’s very compromised. So we’ve only seen each other like a long, long. So I just want to wrap my arms around him and give him the biggest fat hug. And we have a thing that he always kisses me right there and says, Who love you, baby? So I want that so much.

Liz [00:36:22] I feel you that my mom actually had one of her kidneys removed a couple of years back and she has lupus. And that’s one of the reasons why I haven’t been able to go even really consider seeing my parents any time soon. So I feel you on that. Just being able to go and see your loved ones and give somebody a hug is something I’m looking forward to. And being able to get back into ISEE thirty-four one and the science center as a whole goes into Quorum and working out of there where the bright sunshine comes through and get my cup of coffee, check it out. What’s happening in CIC. I mean that’s one of the, one of the things that I miss the most is having access to. So to the innovation hub on a day-to-day basis and lots of movers and shakers are within those few blocks at Drexel right in between and impaired. And it’s just so nice to be over there is refreshing. And I can’t wait to be able to do that again. And last but not least, I want to know, what’s your superpower?

Tyiwanna [00:37:39] You know, I know this is my superpower is curiosity, curiosity, I think is the spark of invention. You just want to figure out how things work. And so they must have powers, curiosity.

Liz [00:37:56] I mean, I could tell that just from the beginning of this conversation that curiosity is definitely one of your superpowers and I can’t wait to see what you get next, because I’m sure that the OrVaC is not the last thing that you’re going to be working on. And I’m also looking forward to seeing what future iterations are like and all that. How can anyone who’s interested in learning about you and the OrVac find out about it?

Tyiwanna [00:38:23] Well, we have our website up. It is www o we have to say go for it.

Liz [00:38:30] You can say what you know, start where you feel like it.

Tyiwanna [00:38:37] www.theOrVac.com is up or you can email me at ask@theorvac.com and I’m open and willing to answer all questions and I love talking about the product and I’m looking for… I can’t believe this is over with. So I was so nervous about this interview and now it’s almost over.

Liz [00:39:02] So quick. It’s easy. I try not I try to keep it painless and all that because I mean, we already have enough difficult stuff to deal with on a daily basis. I mean, these conversations with the cohort have been really fun for me so far. And I think you’ll be surprised at some of the discussions, actually, because and I dropped this in my talk with Amberlee the other day as well. I mean, we’ve got a tango dancer in the group. We’ve got people who have experience with mental health and research and just all kinds of really cool things within this cohort. And not to mention just diversity overall and having people from all ends of the spectrum as far as age, race, gender apart and identity being part of this group has been really exciting for us on the team. So I, I just look forward to hearing the rest of what the other people I talked to have to say to me. I hope I hope that whoever is listening to this takes a chance to go look at the other videos as they as they get posted as well because all of you are really impressive and working on just really cool stuff, not just cool, impactful, meaningful projects. So thank you for doing what you do. And you know what? I also want to ask just to be sure. Are you looking…what are you looking for in people reaching out? Are you looking for partners? Are you looking for funding right now? Is a really good time to throw that out there.

Tyiwanna [00:41:04] Oh, yes. Thank you very much. The next stage of our process is finding your nose and throat doctors and speech therapists to come and join the team. Or as advisors, I’m always looking for funding. So but not all money is good money. So we’ll be asking a lot of questions about any kind of funding coming through. But that’s the point that I’m at now. I really want to test this product with your nose and throat doctors and speech therapist. My mother’s nursing facility will open up and let me give out a few to the residents there. We have testing to do the testing, but to hear the professional’s point of view about it would be nice. So, that’s what I’m looking for… is advisors.

Liz [00:41:49] All right. Well, they heard it here. So go out and contact TyiwannaI and learn about the OrVac. I give her some money and help this project get out there. Thanks again. And I’m looking forward to listening back to this.

Tyiwanna [00:42:08] Thank you so much. You are such a pleasure, thank you. Bye, Nestor.

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