After working at a senior level at various multinational companies, including Seagate and Marconi, Michael Caulfield chose to settle back where his family is based in his native Belfast, Northern Ireland, and joined a very small startup technology company that eventually morphed into Intelesens.
Intelesens in its original form had been started as a spin-out company by three professors from the University of Ulster (the University is a shareholder.) One of these professors, John Anderson, is credited with developing the world’s first portable defibrillator.
Michael explains, “I joined them to add my commercial experience to, what to me, looks like a very exciting opportunity.
“Back in 2005, we really focused our minds and we developed a consensus to focus on wearable wireless health monitors.
“With a degree of foresight and a willingness to take a little bit more time to develop the product, we thought we would be able to enter the market at exactly the right time. That is exactly what has occurred. There is now major interest in trying to understand this technology and how to deploy it.“
As well as having uses inside hospitals it can be, just as importantly, used remotely in the homes of patients. In addition, there are a greater number of people who are living alone but otherwise fine but who would nevertheless like to be able to notify someone should they have a mishap.
“We are now at the exciting stage with the technology that we have developed of turning it into a product for the market. We have taken them through the European regulatory approval process so they are all CE approved. We have taken them through a couple of very important clinical trials at major hospitals both in Belfast and Dublin.
“We have taken huge strides and ticked an enormous number of boxes to bring these family of products to the market in Europe.”
Now Michael and his team have their eyes set on the North American market, “We have just completed a trial at the Mass General Hospital in Boston and have filed for FDA approval.
“Although we started in Europe, it is the US market that will take up our technology that much more quickly. The US is a faster moving market we have competitors in which we don’t have in Europe.”
In one sense, having competitors is an advantage as they help to familiarize customers with new technology. In another sense, competitors could sometimes become partners.
“There are two things that Intelesens needs to allow us to realize that dream of getting Intelesens technology into hospitals in the US and chronically-ill patients at home in the US.
“We need investment and therefore I am keen to get my proposition in front of potential US investors.
“We also need partners to help us with routes to market.
“We could do this ourselves and our business plan shows us being a $100m business in five years. However, our considered preference to find partners who are already in that market place.”
Intelesens are one of seven nominees being profiled in Technology Voice that will be participating at the 4th Annual Silicon Valley Technology Leaders Awards Ceremony on April 5th, 2011