Like many 2021 graduates, University of Pennsylvania alum Anthony Scarpone-Lambert knew he’d be entering a pandemic-tinged workforce.
For former nursing students like him, their real-world experience has been wholly consumed by the coronavirus pandemic. Anything to make the job more manageable was a welcome addition.
He’d always been interested in the way technology could enhance the healthcare field. And in his clinical rotations and while talking to other nursing friends and healthcare pros, Scarpone-Lambert realized they’d all shared a problem: Caring for patients in the middle of the night meant either waking them up every few hours with an overhead light to check vitals, or doing their job in the dark.
He’d been talking about the problem with Jennifferre Mancillas, a California-based neonatal ICU nurse. The pair met at a nursing hackathon hosted by Johnson & Johnson in late 2019, and they shared a desire to see how tech could help solve the problems they encountered in their work.
The pair talked throughout the pandemic, and began work on the hardware of a wearable light that would ease this strain of the job. They launched the product, a $24 device called uNight Light that offers three lighting options for different functions, this February under the brand Lumify Care, while Scarpone-Lambert was wrapping up his degree at Penn. The hands-free device is meant to illuminate a workspace while decreasing patient sleep disturbances by about 70%.
Within a few weeks, they’d sold thousands of units.
There’s often a disconnect between the companies that make products for healthcare professionals and the people who will use them, Mancillas said. And often, healthcare professionals have to buy their own scrubs or tools. Those items should be more customized to their needs, she said.
“Healthcare pros on the front lines, they’re often not heard, our voices aren’t often listened to by the hospitals or the companies making things for us,” Scarpone-Lambert told Technical.ly. “The users we’ve curated appreciate that we’re cognizant, that we’re letting their challenges be heard.”
Scarpone-Lambert and Mancillas applied for Y Combinator early this year, and found out they’d gotten in during the same week as Scarpone-Lambert’s graduation.
“He had like, four days to decide to move across the country and commit to this,” Mancillas said. Fellow Philly-area companies in the Summer 2021 cohort are therapeutics company SFA Therapeutics, Inc. and AI-based customer-facing calls startup q&ai.
The two cofounders have been working full time on the venture since June, when the program started, and are currently in San Francisco. Scarpone-Lambert said he’ll likely — eventually — move back to Philly, where some of their shipping team is based.
As the team is wrapping up their summer at Y Combinator, on Monday, they also launched Lumify Hub, a one-stop marketplace that will offer products, information tools and community for healthcare workers. The cofounders said they saw more than 3,000 healthcare pros sign up for the hub on its first day, and have brought on product partners including HelloFresh, Scribd, Eko, Clove, Jaanuu, Nurses Inspire Nurses, ProCompression Socks, Owala and Stoggles.
The company has raised some seed funding, and is looking toward Y Combinator’s Demo Day on Aug. 31 as a possible funding opportunity, too.
“There have been no other fully nurse-led companies in Y Combinator. We’ve worked on the frontline, and too many times we see people building solutions when they haven’t lived the problem they’re solving,” Scarpone-Lambert said. “And that fact inspired us to build Lumify Care.”
— Anthony Scarpone-Lambert (@anthonys_l) August 23, 2021