TB Members Calling #80 | Laura Lizama: “It is difficult for me to find references of women entrepreneurs of my age.”
Laura Lizama (Valencia, 1997), biomedical engineer, began her recent professional career in the innovation and technology transfer unit of the Hospital Parc Taulí in Sabadell. She spent two and a half years managing health innovation projects at a leading public health centre while, at the same time, she promoted her own project with her partner Sofía Ferreira. The medtech startup heecap, created in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, offers a medical device that stimulates breathing in mechanically ventilated patients to improve their pulmonary recovery.
“We have the first minimum viable product. Clinical trials on patients have produced good results. We have secured our first investment. And we are expanding our team.”
TB: What is the purpose of your project?
LL: Our aim is to prevent and treat the respiratory muscle atrophy suffered by all patients on mechanical ventilation supports in intensive care units. When this type of patient receives high doses of sedation, their muscles stop working and the disuse leads to a lot of muscle weakness. The atrophy prevents the patient from having enough strength to breathe on their own and makes extubation and respiratory recovery difficult. Our aim is to improve the quality of life of these patients with the heecap® device, a personalised, non-invasive electrostimulation system.
TB: What is the current state of the project and where do you see it in two years’ time?
LL: Now that the first minimum viable product and the first clinical trials on patients at Parc Taulí have been successfully completed, our sights are set on next year, when we will conduct the pivotal clinical trial. This will allow us to complete all the regulatory documentation to obtain the CE marking from the European Union.
TB: A good idea you have had.
LL: I think heecap is a good idea, don’t you?
TB: The best advice you’ve ever been given.
LL: Go alone and you’ll go fast, go together and you’ll go far. It’s a very typical phrase, but I believe in it one hundred percent. Especially in the startup world – it’s the team that makes the whole thing work.
TB: A professional reference that inspires you.
LL: I always look at women health entrepreneurs. I like them, they inspire me. Among them, Ana Maiques and Yolanda Casas from Neuroelectrics, and Carmen Rios from Doctomatic. But it’s hard for me to find women and entrepreneurs of my age. María González of the startup Tucuvi is one of them, but who else?
TB: A technology that will shape the future.
LL: My father always says it will be the autonomous car. And I agree.
TB: In-person or remote?
LL: Face-to-face. Nothing like human connections.
TB: A startup or company.
LL: I always look at startups similar to mine, to analyse the stages they are in and the steps they are taking. I am also inspired by the people behind them. Health startups whether they are hardware, software or both: Neuroelectrics, Innitius and Able Human Motion.
TB: What do you do to disconnect?
LL: I like to swim in the sea whenever I can. And if not, in the pool.
TB: A book to recommend.
LL: “Paula”, by Isabel Allende. It accompanied me on my trip to Chile in 2017. It is a book that I will always recommend for the humanity with which it is written. On a professional level, I really like “The Founder’s Dilemmas”. Every chapter is a learning experience!
TB: A series, film or song that defines your moment in life.
LL: I’m not much of a series person, and when I was little I only liked to watch “Matilda”. But right now I’m hooked on all of Ricardo Darín’s films: for its intensity and dynamism, the one that most represents the current moment is “Relatos Salvajes”. Song, “La raíz”, by Valeria Castro.
TB: One recipe, one restaurant.
LL: My favourite dish is my mother’s cheeks of beef. I haven’t even asked her for the recipe because I’m sure they’ll never turn out as well.
TB: A place in the world.
LL: My first trip alone –two months in Chile– made Valparaíso my favourite city.
TB: Where would you invest 100k?
LL: In heecap.
TB: If you were not an entrepreneur…
LL: In heecap. In another life, I would have liked to work in a circus. I love acrobatics, body work and living in community. In this life, wherever I may be, but close to patients and taking care of health problems.
TB: What is Tech Barcelona for you?
LL: It’s a place to meet people with similar interests and challenges – the Pier07 experience is top! It’s easy to go for a coffee and meet someone who connects you with a key person, or gives you an interesting idea or insight.