Founder Friday Feature: Leslie A Chertok, Co-founder & CEO, BioPause Inc

What inspired you to start your company?

BioPause was created from my 30 years as a psychotherapist, helping thousands of people dealing with the negative impacts of stress in day-to-day life. The world is in a state of global crisis. As a global people, we need to enhance our capacity for RESILIENCE – the ability to adjust easily to misfortune or change. We need preemptive solutions that tackle stress before damage is done.

The critical time to intervene in the stress cycle is pre-adrenaline release, when a small pause and a few conscious breaths can have a big effect. However, most of us are too busy to notice the subtle cues of the stress activating. That’s where BioPause comes in.

Our wearable alerts you to the earliest signs of rising stress, prompting you to pause and re-center throughout the day. We make around 122 informed choices every day. Proactive choice leads to better outcomes than reactive decisions. Imagine the benefits of pausing before rolling your eyes or snapping in irritation at partners, kids, or co-workers

Who are your cofounders, and what makes you a great team?

I love our purpose-driven team! Vandana Verma, is our Co-founder and CSO, her day job at NASA includes managing experiments on the International Space Station. Gabriel Felix is our Co-founder and CTO. He is the world’s leading medical ECG design engineer. Our CMO Glenn Agoncillo, market leader in medical insurance, rounds out our team with their expertise in risk management, heart-centered C-suite experience, sales and acquisitions.

We are a truly diverse team (racially, gender, sexual orientation, and field of expertise) Our mutual respect, love and shared purpose weaves together in catalytic ways. Vandana calls us the superheroes of stress! We formalized our values in support of equity, sustainability and integrity by incorporating them into our operating agreements.

How is BioPause making a difference?

We are revolutionizing the way tech is used to decrease stress and increase resilience and wellbeing. Our wearable facilitates weaving mindfulness into daily life. Aware of the bias in tech, we design with women in mind and for all skin colors.

We’re also building an ethical corporate structure that includes shared decision making and concern for all stakeholders including the natural world.

What are some of the challenges you have faced?

Developing new hardware technology is a long game. By definition, that means ongoing funding when market entry may be years away. We did an amazing job bootstrapping our way for years and then obtaining solid angel investment. As underrepresented founders, limited access to funding networks and bias has also been part of the journey.

What is your biggest win? 

Our biggest win is how much support we have engendered from a wide variety of stakeholders. People love what we are up to and have donated much time and expertise to support this idea becoming a reality.

Who is your role model?

Oprah. The fact that she rose to prominence in the mid-eighties when barriers to entry for being female or black were edificial. The humanizing influence that she has had on the national dialogue is so immense that most people are not even aware. I am in awe of the ongoing impact that she has had on changing the nature of the cultural conversation on global levels for almost 4 decades.

What do you wish you had known before starting your company?

Honestly, there are so many things that I am glad I didn’t know. This has been an ultra marathon!

What is your CEO superpower?

I’d have to say a combination of integrity and tenacity. Running a successful startup requires heaps of both!

Anything else you want people to know?

We deeply appreciate the opportunity to be part of the Graham & Walker startup community.

Learn more and connect:

G&W Team

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