(Photo by Flickr user NEC Corporation of America, used under a Creative Commons license)
Wes Garnett describes himself as an F-student and college dropout.
The lifelong Wilmington resident said he knew he had to create a life for himself. And with his drive, creativity and design knowledge, he did just that.
Years ago, Garnett, 31, met Steve Roettger at a financial services firm. For both of them, it was their first professional job and they became fast friends.
“We both had this idea that working together was better than working alone,” Garnett said.
In 2010, Garnett and Roettger began traveling in search of startups and communities of startups.
“We couldn’t find people who wanted to push the envelope,” Garnett said.
So, in 2010, the two did something about it. They collected their money and resources and applied for discounted rent through Preservation Initiatives, a Wilmington-based real estate and consulting firm specializing in urban revitalization.
Shortly thereafter, The coIN Loft was born. The original home of the coworking space was an old storefront at 9th and Tatnall Streets. In 2012, the space moved to Market Street. It became a collaboration among state government, private industry and early-stage entrepreneurs. Then, just this summer, after an extensive renovation, the coworking space was relaunched, this time as The Loft.
But Garnett didn’t just help get the coworking space off the ground; his startup is part of it, too.
In the fall of 2012, Garnett attended a Startup Weekend event at the University of Delaware. He wasn’t planning on participating or pitching any ideas, but then, before he knew it, he was in front of the audience talking about his passion. And the crowd, he said, responded well to his startup plan.
The idea he pitched was for Kurbi — a web platform used to connect patients living with multiple sclerosis to family members and doctors.
Kurbi users, Garnett said, can log how they feel at any given moment. Family members can then receive notifications from their loved ones, which can help shape larger conversations around providing care.
“I have four family members with MS,” said Garnett. “My mom has MS and she’s into exercise and I’m into exercise. She would come back from Zumba and talk about how good she was feeling. It opened up ways to talk about MS and a way to deal.”
Garnett thought this could be a problem many families who live with chronic disease have to deal with. His vision for creating Kurbi is to help families dig deeper into lines of communication that simply weren’t open before.
The platform, which will be launched in app form later this year, allows users to invite family, loved ones and even doctors and nurses to sign up to connect. The platform provides a journal to track conditions and a sliding scale of severity.
“It’s primarily a conversation starter,” Garnett said. “People don’t talk about MS and they don’t want to let their family know they’re struggling with fatigue or depression. The time to talk is never convenient. They’re not going to call a loved one during the day to talk about bladder issues. The family is able to digest the news at times that are good for them and it helps them to show up and be more supportive.”
For medical providers, the platform provides analytics for patient data and allows doctors and nurses to see symptom patterns among patients. This, Garnett said, will allow doctors and nurses to react in ways they haven’t been able to yet.
Kurbi, Garnett said, will be beta tested this fall. He’s working to partner with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and already has connections with a few larger hospitals.
Roettger is working on front-end development; Matt Eckman is working on back end development; Andrew Robbins is working on the data model; and Garnett is designing the platform.
Garnett said he also hopes to expand the platform and forthcoming app to connect people not just with MS, but other chronic diseases.-30-
The state wants to move unemployed Delawareans into high-demand jobs with this workforce dev program
Coworking space CSC Station is on track for an October opening
How The Mill is keeping the coworking model alive amid COVID-19
How iPads are being used to limit exposure to COVID-19 in ChristianaCare hospitals
Sign-up for daily news updates from Technical.ly Delaware