Voyage Phoenix - Conversations with the Inspiring Vicki Mayo

Conversations with the Inspiring Vicki Mayo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vicki Mayo.

Vicki, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Entrepreneurialism is in my blood. My dad and all of my uncles lived the “American Dream” by immigrating from India and growing successful businesses over the course of their lifetime. My brothers and I had excellent role models, and I started my first business when I was 14 years old. Since then, I have started and grown businesses across the finance, hospitality, tech, and most recently the wellness industry. When I was 20 years old, I adopted two teenage boys who had been abandoned by their parents. I was a single mom for several years before marrying my husband and having two biological children of our own. Today, I’m the CEO of The TouchPoint Solution, a wellness company that offers neuroscience-based solutions to manage stress.

I’ve been knocked down and gotten back up more times than I can count, but I would never have gotten to where I am today if I let stress hamper my motivation and passion. Stress is a reality that we all have to deal with — but learning to channel properly can help you reach new heights. I am a firm believer in the law of abundance and the power of manifestation, and my goal is to share these secrets with the world.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Navigating the highs and lows of starting up life is never an easy road! The #1 thing I’ve learned is to reach out to people. Get their advice, ask their opinion. We’re better together and we can’t do it alone. My husband, who is also the CEO of a global IT firm, has become my confidant throughout this journey. Having gone through this experience himself, he has been able to offer guidance and advice to me in so many ways. I encourage all women to seek advice from others who have embarked on this journey. There’s something to learn from everyone – all you have to do is ask!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into The TouchPoint Solution story. Tell us more about the business.
Stress is a global epidemic that underlies 80% of all mental and physical diseases, yet only a small percentage of people receive treatment due to rising health insurance costs and lack of available resources. Traditional methods of managing stress include prescription medication, therapy and living a long-term healthy lifestyle (think yoga, meditation, proper nutrition, etc.). The problem is that both options are time intensive before any tangible results are seen – a high price to pay for our wellbeing. Today, advances in neuroscience and new technology can actively work with the brain to offer a natural and effective solution to stress and anxiety in real time.

This is why my co-founder and I, neuropsychologist Dr. Amy Serin, teamed up: to provide neuroscience-based solutions that are scientifically proven to reduce stress by up to 70% in as few as 30 seconds. Dr. Serin discovered that a component of successful PTSD treatment can be used as a stand-alone product for a range of individuals whose stress and intensities hamper performance, relaxation, sleep, and their ability to cope with sensory stimuli. We realized that this method was too powerful a treatment to be confined to a doctor’s office, which resulted in bringing TouchPoints, neuroscientific wearables, to the world.

Using gentle, haptic micro vibrations called BLAST (bilateral alternating stimulation tactile), TouchPoints give the user a gentle vibration that affects the brain and alters the body’s fight, flight or freeze response to restore calm nervous system functioning. This not only helps to reduce the amount of perceived stress experienced, but also the associated body sensation that comes with it (i.e., stomach butterflies or tightness in the chest). Having the ability to think rationally without an associated body sensation helps the brain create new neural pathways that are net positive, and this has a lasting effect on your brain.

Working on this product for the past two years has been one of the most humbling yet exciting experiences of my entire life. I used to think that stress was something we had to “just live with”. And to a certain extent, it is. Some stress can be good for you if you learn how to channel it properly. But for many people, myself included, stress can build up over time. If we don’t find ways to manage it, it can lead to much more severe physical, mental and emotional long-term side effects. Stress is a universal concept, but how it manifests in each of us is highly personal. TouchPoints are a tool that anyone can add to their toolbox to de-stress at the touch of a button.

The most rewarding part of my job is hearing from our customers about how TouchPoints have changed their lives. From overcoming childhood adversity to learning to manage their anger and becoming more productive at work – TouchPoints have helped more than 100,000 people across the world live better lives through neuroscience. Including myself and my family!

What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
As Mr. Wonderful Kevin O’Leary said, he prefers to invest in women-owned companies because they perform better than male-led companies. Women have a knack for not just out-of-the-box thinking but for literally getting rid of the box. I think it’s up to us women to change the conversation from challenges to our successes.

Pricing:

  • TouchPoints Basic – $160
  • TouchPoints Original – $250

Contact Info:

*This article first appeared in Voyage Phoenix on July 10, 2018. To read the full article, click here.

Project Entrepreneur - Where Are They Now? Updates From Our PE Alumnae

Where Are They Now? Updates From Our PE Alumnae

#PEACCELERATORFEMALE FOUNDERSPE ALUMNAE

We just wrapped two amazing days with 200 female founders from our #PEClassOf2018 at the PE Intensive in New York City, so we decided to check in with five of our PE Alumnae to find out how their time in the PE Intensive helped them take their businesses to the next level. Read the rest of the post to hear updates our 2016 and 2017 Alumnae in their own words and learn more about what they’ve been building since participating in the PE Accelerator.

Photo credit: Andrew French

Jennifer Grove, Founder, and CEO of Repeat Roses, an eco-friendly company that recycles wedding and special event flowers to deliver a spot of joy to those in the community:

“Since the 2017 PE Accelerator, Repeat Roses has added a new revenue stream developing custom Corporate Social Responsibility partnerships and employee engagement experiences. UBS is one of our first corporate clients to book a national series of Repeat Roses workshops that will demonstrate their commitment to social impact and sustainability. Since then, we’ve partnered with Hilton Worldwide and other global brands to provide interactive, educational and team-building experiences for brands that care about meaningful and measurable environmental social governance.

“Standing side-by-side with the #PEClassOf2017 to ring the New York Stock Exchange bell was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my career. It had a profound positive impact on how I envision the trajectory of Repeat Roses and what’s possible when you dream big. I lean on my PE cohort for both hands-on help and invaluable guidance, as well as brutal honesty. We push each other to do better, and we’re not afraid to challenge one another’s strategies in search of the best outcome. We are truly each other’s biggest supporters because we know each other’s businesses intimately after going through the PE Accelerator together. A win for one is a win we can all share.

“For example, when Repeat Roses repurposed the flowers from multiple marquis name Oscars soirees this year, including the CFDA, Swarovski, and Vanity Fair Oscars parties, it was a proud moment to see my West Coast sales and service team succeeding across the country and watch the Los Angeles market take off. Tina [Hedges of LOLI Beauty] and Bimla [Picot of Reboundwear] showed up at my apartment armed with champagne to celebrate. Being a CEO can be lonely at times, so these are the fellow female founders you want in your corner.

“During the course of the Accelerator, one of my mentors helped me pick apart a ‘buy versus build’ software decision. We ranked my needs and performed a cost-benefit analysis to weigh the pros and cons. It was clear it would be more efficient to hire people and invest in SaaS at that stage versus the cost of building custom. My piece of advice to the incoming PE class is to focus on innovation where it counts: solving the world’s greatest problems. If you’re not a tech company, there’s something to be said for not reinventing the wheel given the number of working SaaS solutions available. Making the wrong software decision could have serious financial consequences an early stage startup can’t necessarily weather. A year later, and I’m still grateful for that cost-saving exercise because I know my business even better now and what software we actually need to aggressively scale.”

Photo credit: NewView.Media

Suelin Chen, Founder, and CEO of Cake, a digital platform that makes it easy to do advance care and end-of-life planning:

“We raised angel funding and then an institutional seed round last year, which was oversubscribed, and have been working with companies including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Harvard Pilgrim, and Massachusetts General Hospital.  Since the PE Accelerator, we have actually stayed fairly consistent with our business model and our mission remains the same: to ensure that all people can live in accordance with their values, all the way to the end. We were selected for PULSE, a digital health accelerator, and have been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, and on the front page of the Boston Globe.

“During the PE Accelerator, I most enjoyed interacting with other founders (including Jenn and Jenny, the Co-Founders of Rent the Runway). Regardless of what your company does, early-stage companies face so many of the same challenges and I loved that we were learning from each other—and we still keep in touch!

“I also learned so much from Jenn and Jenny about founding and growing a business—there are few role models for women founders, and we are incredibly fortunate that they have put together this program.  One of the most helpful pieces of advice I got was from Jenn on hiring: she encouraged us to think about what values and characteristics are non-negotiable for our team, and if someone does not have those values, then they are probably not a good hire, even if they have perfect skills and experience on paper. Holding out for the best people is so hard, but I look at my team now and it was absolutely worth it. It is never too early to think about company culture!”

Photo courtesy of Vicki Mayo

Vicki Mayo, Co-founder of The Touchpoint Solution, a wearable device that alleviates stress in as few as 30 seconds:

“I truly enjoyed my time at the Accelerator. Through the [shared] lessons learned and the sessions we attended, we made lasting connections. Our cohort became very close, and I have friends for life that understand this unique entrepreneurial journey.  The growth was not only at a personal level. Since the PE Accelerator, our company has more than doubled in sales. I can confidently attribute much of this growth to the lessons learned during the PE Accelerator.

“One of the biggest lessons I learned during the Accelerator was to listen to your customer. This was demonstrated time and time again through various sessions, but especially with the Rent the Runway’s CTO. He shared that his team’s primary focus was to improve customer experience. I learned from that example, and I asked TouchPoint customers what they wanted. Our customers told us they wanted more tools so they could better understand their stress response. They also wanted more tailored feedback on how to integrate the TouchPoints stress relieving wearable devices into their daily lives.

“Fast forward to today, and people can download the free TouchPoints app and get a personalized stress profile complete with lifestyle tips. Listening to our customers was a key element to our exponential growth. The PE Accelerator was also instrumental in helping us win the Brainnovations Competition, being named in the 2017 Top 50 most innovative products by Innovation and Tech Today and winning an Edison Award.”

Photo courtesy of Christine Moseley

Christine Moseley, Founder, and CEO of Full Harvest, which helps growers get the most out of a harvest and food companies save money by bringing farm excess to market:

Since we participated in the PE Accelerator two years ago, Full Harvest has experienced 15x growth. The Full Harvest platform has expanded into a full end-to-end online solution for farms to sell imperfect and surplus produce to food and beverage companies; our platform connects some of the most prominent farms in the U.S. to large national food brands. To date, we have saved 4 million pounds of produce that would have otherwise gone to waste, saved 250 million gallons of water (enough drinking water for over 1 million people for a year), and prevented 1.5M kg of CO2 emissions from being released into the environment. Since the PE Accelerator 2 years ago, we have grown by over 15x.

One of the most valuable aspects of the accelerator was the mentorship. Everything Jenn and Jenny said was pure gold in terms of advice. They prevented me from making some mistakes, especially with regards to hiring. Jenn taught us how to hire a team based on your values. It’s imperative that each new team member share the same values as the founders and be assessed for them during the hiring process. Josh and Ricky, our investor advisors, were awesome in terms of advice on fundraising. Getting to know the other entrepreneurs and expanding my network of founders was also a huge support. Startups are 24/7 and it’s crucial to have a strong support network for the ups and downs. That is one piece of advice I give all entrepreneurs starting out. Looking back at the Intensive Weekend, I gained more confidence and practice on my pitch, which helped me to win several pitch competitions afterward and raise $3M. While at the PE Accelerator, I also met two of my current investors, BBG Ventures and Joanne Wilson. The experience as a whole was invaluable.

Photo courtesy of Bimla Picot

Bimla Picot, Founder, and CEO of Reboundwear, an apparel line of post-surgery clothing and physical therapy athletic apparel to help individuals recover in style:

Meeting and building a close relationship with my fellow cohort was an unexpected aspect of the Accelerator. Startup founders are typically obsessed with their inventions and businesses, and after a while, as much as your friends and family love you, they get tired of hearing about it. My cohort and I are in touch weekly. Sometimes it’s just a text, or other times we hop on a group call. Three of us live in the [same] city so we are able to get together for dinner. We share information, resources, advice and lots and lots of stories.

The most helpful thing I learned from the Accelerator was that no matter what kind of business one launches these days, tech will be at the center of it. We had the opportunity to meet with people at every level of tech, which gave us a sense of how we will incorporate [technology] into every level of [our] growth plan. Reboundwear is comfortable and fashionable post-surgical clothing—we are a consumer product that straddles both the fashion and healthcare industries but our marketing materials and website felt very clinical. As I sat in many of the workshops [during the Accelerator], I learned how to use branding and web design to create a more appealing consumer brand.

One of the things I learned about being an inventor, is that sometimes, when you are ahead of your time, you have to be patient as the rest of the world catches up. Intuitively, I assumed that hospitals are the best place to sell our clothing. But after going through the Accelerator, we quickly understood that hospitals are in the business of taking care of medical issues and not in the business of selling clothing. We knew that there was (and is) a large market and a genuine need for Reboundwear in the healthcare sector, so since the Accelerator, we’ve decided to launch as an e-commerce consumer brand. Now the rest of the world is catching on, and we receive calls from hospital supply companies and senior facilities that want to carry the clothing for their patients and residents.


Project Entrepreneur (PE), Rent the Runway Foundation’s first program with Founding Partner UBS, is breaking down barriers facing women building high-growth companies by supporting early-stage female founders with bold visions. The PE Intensive, taking place each April, brings together the top 200 female founders from the PE Venture Competition for hands-on workshops and mentorship in New York City. Winners of the Venture Competition receive a $10,000 grant and a spot in the PE Accelerator hosted at Rent the Runway headquarters. Please visit projectentrepreneur.org/apply for more details.

Header credit: Amanda Gentile Photography

*This article first appeared on Project Entrepreneur. To read the full article, click here.

Phoenix Business Journal - Flinn Foundation selects six Arizona bioscience firms for entrepreneurship program

Flinn Foundation selects six Arizona bioscience firms for entrepreneurship program

Click to read more on the six bioscience firms selected for the Flinn Foundation Entrepreneurship Program. 

Entrepreneur on Fire - 1957: Startups, Failure is NOT an option with Vicki Mayo

1957: Startups, Failure is NOT an option with Vicki Mayo

Vicki is a serial entrepreneur who has successfully grown and sold numerous companies and is currently CEO of The TouchPoint Solution. Her productivity hacks have been featured in Forbes and Inc.

Resources Mentioned: 3 Key Points:
  1. Pick the single-most important task and complete that first.
  2. Working IN your business makes you forget to work ON your business.
  3. Always listen to your customers.
Sponsors
  • DesignCrowd: If you’re not much of a designer, but are looking for ideas for your next logo, websites design or even your new business cards, then DesignCrowd can help! Visit DesignCrowd.com/fire for a special one $100 VIP offer for Fire Nation!
  • Go To Webinar: My BEST marketing strategy? Hosting LIVE WEBINARS. And Go To Webinar has the reliability and the features you need to deliver webinars your audience will love. For more information, visit GoToWebinar.com/fire!
Time Stamped Show Notes

(click the link in the title above to access the EOF episode.)

  • [01:01] – Vicki is the daughter of immigrant parents who came to America 30 years ago
  • [01:14] – She became a serial entrepreneur, starting her own business at just 14 years of age
  • [01:20] – She adopted 2 boys who had been abandoned right after college
  • 01:44 – The TouchPoint Solution is a wearable device to take stress away
  • [02:27] – Vicki’s area of expertise is in productivity
  • [02:46] – Share something we don’t know about your area of expertise that as Entrepreneurs, we probably should: Productivity doesn’t mean making a list — put one thing down to get it done
  • [03:24] – What’s your WIG (Wildly Important Goal) for the week?
  • [03:30] – Make a giant list on a weekly basis and select which thing on that list will take you to the next step
  • 04:28 – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: The TouchPoint Solution is a startup company that had just been going for 13 months. Twenty days into the market, they killed it by going viral and doing $250K in sales. She had herself, her business partner, and 2 employees in place. They were just barely able to keep up with the growth during those 20 days, both then their employees both quit
  • [08:26] – Vicki and her partner have changed their hiring practices after what happened
  • [09:00] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Vicki’s ah-ha moment was realizing that stress wasn’t just stress. It affects anger, cravings, your ability to focus, and your attention span. TouchPoint’s technology can help the states that deprive you from being stressed. Vicki took the time to get their customers’ feedback and found out parents wanted a simpler version for their children — which they later released
  • [10:54] – “Focus on your customer”
  • [11:45] – What is the one thing you are most FIRED up about today? “I am so excited about artificial intelligence”
  • [13:11] – A bias in making AIs is what scares Vicki
  • [17:27] – The Lightning Round
    • What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “Nothing”
    • What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “The difference between extraordinary and ordinary is just a little extra”
    • What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “I use my TouchPoints every day”
    • Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Shopify Blog
    • If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – The Alchemist – “that’s the book that changed my life”
  • [20:47] – “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”
  • 20:58 – Check out Vicki’s website at ILoveTouchpoints.com and use code EOF to get $50 OFF!
Killer Resources!

1) The Freedom Journal: Accomplish your #1 goal in 100-days!

2) The Mastery Journal: Master productivity, discipline and focus in 100 days!

3) Funnel On Fire: Create a funnel that converts!

*This podcast first appeared in Entrepreneur on Fire on March 1, 2018, by John Lee Dumas (JLD). To listen to the entire podcast, click here.

Phoenix Business Journal - Semifinalists named in spring 2017 Arizona Innovation Challenge

Semifinalists named in spring 2017 Arizona Innovation Challenge | By Hayley Ringle

Seven Arizona-based software companies and six bio and life sciences startups have been named among the 25 semifinalists in the spring 2017 round of the Arizona Commerce Authority’s Arizona Innovation Challenge.

The bi-annual business plan competition for promising early-stage companies in high-growth industries will award $1.5 million this round to the most qualified, innovative startups.

Winners receive up to $250,000 each to grow their business to advance innovation and technology commercialization opportunities in the state.

“Arizona has become a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship – and programs like this help foster and retain talent right here in Arizona,” said Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “Congratulations and best of luck to the semifinalists. I can’t wait to see their final pitches, and watch them grow in Arizona.”

Almost 150 applications were received for this spring round from companies across the state and one from California looking to relocate to Arizona.

Judges assessed each company application based on a set of criteria that looked at technology potential, marketing strategy, quality of management team and economic impact.

The 25 semifinalists are (listed in alphabetical order, including industry and base city):

  • Attribytes Inc., IT - Software, Chandler
  • BMSeed, Bio & Life Sciences, Phoenix
  • ClickIPO, IT - Software, Scottsdale
  • Codelucida, IT - Hardware, Tucson
  • CuraNexus, IT - Software, Phoenix
  • Cut Carbon, Advanced Manufacturing, San Diego, California
  • Dataware Ventures LLC, IT - Software, Tucson
  • Digital Bioanalytics Inc., Bio & Life Sciences, Phoenix
  • Electric Torque Machines Inc., Advanced Manufacturing, Flagstaff
  • EpiSys Science Inc., Aerospace/Defense, Tucson
  • Hourbands Corp., Bio & Life Sciences, Tempe
  • Hydronalix, Aerospace/Defense, Green Valley
  • MWI Laboratories LLC, Aerospace/Defense, Tempe
  • Naya Energy, Cleantech/Renewable Energy, Phoenix
  • Paradigm Diagnostics, Bio & Life Sciences, Phoenix
  • PerioEndoscopy LLC, Bio & Life Sciences, Scottsdale
  • Photocentric Inc., Advanced Manufacturing, Phoenix
  • Prospectify Inc., IT - Software, Tempe
  • Recruiting.ai, IT - Software, Scottsdale
  • Resonea Inc, Bio & Life Sciences, Scottsdale
  • SalesTalk Technologies LLC, IT - Software, Scottsdale
  • The TouchPoint Solution, IT - Hardware, Scottsdale
  • Titan Industries, Advanced Manufacturing, Tempe
  • VB Cosmetics Inc., Advanced Materials, Chandler
  • Zero Mass Water Inc., Cleantech/Renewable Energy, Scottsdale
Hayley Ringle covers technology and startups for the Phoenix Business Journal.

Crain’s Phoenix - If I knew then…

Crain's Phoenix - If I Knew Then - By Sean Kennedy

Background:  

Scottsdale, Ariz.-based The TouchPoint Solution is the creator of TouchPoint Devices, a noninvasive wearable that uses patent-pending neuroscience to relieve stress. TouchPoint Devices' BLAST technology has been successful in treating PTSD and other anxiety-related conditions.

The Mistake:

One of the biggest mistakes I made was when I was younger and working in the hospitality industry: When meeting with prospective clients, I was insecure about the fact that I was a woman and that I owned a company.

So, I often took male managers to franchise meetings and to negotiations with large tour company clients because of the stigma that came with being a woman. 

At that time it was – and to a certain degree still is – a man’s industry. So, I wanted to try and make our company fit in better. I was worried that being a woman would jeopardize our success.

Being a women-owned company is actually our strength.

The Lesson: 

Thinking forward, what I realize now is that being a woman – especially now, with The TouchPoint Solution being a women-owned company – is actually our strength. 

In such a male-dominated industry, such as manufacturing and tech with TouchPoint Devices, I’m sure men are surprised to see a woman. But I think that the atmosphere has changed, and it’s something that we now highlight. 

My business partner and I are leading our company with purpose, passion and a strong focus on ethical principles. We go into every business meeting with confidence and a sense of pride that we are a women-owned business.

Follow The TouchPoint Solution on Twitter at @IloveTouchPoint.

Photo courtesy of Vicki Mayo

 

Do you have a good story you’d like to share, or know someone we should feature? Email nryan@crain.com.

And be sure to sign up for your local newsletter from Crain's Phoenix.

Swayy - It’s Stressful Being An Entrepreneur: Here’s How To Cope

Swayy - It’s Stressful Being An Entrepreneur: Here’s How To Cope - By Dr. Amy Serin

Entrepreneurship brings about a unique stress to those who embark on this path less taken. In turn, we seek actively and engaging methods of stress relief and relaxation: meditate, exercise, do yoga, take active breaks, recharge in nature, etc. While these strategies certainly have benefits, they add to-do items to the seemingly endless lists that women already find too overwhelming. We are constantly prioritizing, multi-tasking, juggling, and problem solving every day and adding to our list may increase guilt or a sense of being under accomplished — even if the goal is to help promote balance and well-being. 

Often strategies to help us de-stress require attention-shifts, leaving work, making appointments, and carving out time during the day for additional tasks. In a nutshell, they make us feel like we need to do MORE.   At The TouchPoint Solution, we incorporate many strategies to promote calm balance, and we also recognize the need for solutions that don’t take time away from the tasks at hand.  Promoting stress-relief in real time without taking away from our work productivity is paramount as we are constantly shifting priorities and keeping pace with the ever present demands of being a tech start up. As a co-founder, I employ these methods myself and also encourage our employees to use these methods.  After all, what good is it to be a neuropsychologist who has created a stress-relieving device and then not use it?  I prefer to practice what I preach outside of the clinic and boardroom.

Here are two tips that can help boost productivity and de-stress women entrepreneurs that we find incredibly valuable in our organization.

1. Push-Pull Information Management

Before I co-founded TouchPoint, I had no real presence on social media. The necessity in my start-up created the need for me to dive in and I quickly found myself bombarded with notifications and distractions that almost immediately had me feeling busier, but with a drop in productivity. The seduction of scrolling through posts mindlessly quickly turned into a major distraction during my day. I quickly learned that managing this kind of information was key in balancing what I really needed to attend to online vs. the lure of extraneous information.

Social media notifications and news alerts from twitter, text, Facebook, etc. are examples of push information. Most of it is unnecessary and costly to you regarding attention shifts and distractions. Unless it’s an emergency, you don’t need to orient your attention to each distraction. This constant shifting alone can raise stress levels because you can maintain the feeling of being extremely busy, but in reality, your productivity is lower because of the constant distractions. Some push notifications such as news stories about global terrorism invoke negative feelings as well, which you then need to contain and compartmentalize during your workday. In contrast, when you “pull” information, you are actively deciding what is important and needs to be considered at the moment. This is deliberate and focused. Most of us have a push/pull ratio that is too push heavy, which results in wasted time and an increase in stress. 

2. Use Bi-lateral Alternating Stimulation Tactile (BLAST) Technology

The TouchPoint Solution’s first product, Buzzies, is based on a successful component of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment that I isolated and determined could be used to reduce stress by 74 percent in just 30 seconds. The stress of co-founding a start-up became a source of irony because I had created a product to reduce anxiety and stress, so I quickly increased my daily use Buzzies to help me manage the stress of the increasing demands that I was working hard to juggle. To de-stress and keep me in an optimal performance zone, I use this technology when I’m having a stressful conversation, doing media interviews, speaking publicly, and if I have trouble going to sleep because my mind isn’t calm. Our CEO, Vicki Mayo, uses our technology every morning when she is preparing for her day. Both of us help ourselves out by using these on our children to help them go to sleep and ease fears.

Being able to calm down without interrupting what we are doing and in a way that is not detectable by others (Buzzies are 20 percent less noisy than an iPhone buzz) is important for us to be able to reap the benefits of what we’ve created in real time and real world situations.

Yes, I still exercise, take deep breaths, and engage in multiple strategies for overall lifestyle balance and health. However, I find that managing the push/pull ratio and using applied neuroscience in Buzzies during the day are two underused strategies that can help women entrepreneurs improve productivity and increase their chances of success.

Swaay - TouchPoint Founders On Entrepreneurial Success And Stress Relief

Swaay - TouchPoint Founders On Entrepreneurial Success And Stress Relief - By Amy Corcoran

TouchPoints are a non-invasive, wearable device that uses patent-pending neuroscience technology called BLAST (bilateral alternating stimulation-tactile) to not only relieve stress and anxiety, but also improve focus, reduce cravings, improve performance, manage anger, reduce sensory overload and better enable sleep. Recent studies have found that TouchPoints can actually reduce stress by 74% in just 30 seconds, which is something that many women – entrepreneurs, execs and moms alike – can most definitely use.

They were created by Neuropsychologist Dr. Amy Serin and CEO and Child Advocate Vicki Mayo as the first product launched through their company The TouchPoint Solution.

Mayo has just participated and won the Live Pitch Competition hosted by Project Entrepreneur underwritten by UBS and the Rent the Runway Foundation. Over 600 women and their businesses applied. 200 were invited to the Weekend Intensive this past weekend in NYC. From there 12 were chosen to be part of the live pitch competition with a chance to compete for $10,000 and a spot in the Rent The Runway NY based Accelerator program in June.

1. How did you find yourself in the health field?

Amy:After spending several years in business development for Fortune 500 companies and internet start-ups such as Black and Decker, WebMD, and The Patent and License Exchange, I left to pursue my doctorate in Neuropsychology so I could focus on healing others.  I was always fascinated by neuroscience and psychology and wanted to pursue both within the context of helping others be their best selves.

Vicki: I am an entrepreneur and a philanthropist. When Dr. Serin and I had an “aha!” mommy moment on how to help our children, it laid the foundation for creating The TouchPoint Solution and ultimately TouchPoints that allow us to help thousands of people that struggle with stress and anxiety.

2. Please tell me where the idea for TouchPoints came from. What does the product do exactly?

Vicki: Amy (Dr. Serin) and I have been friends for a number of years. One day we were chatting and I shared my struggles with my daughter’s night terrors. Amy shared a new technology she was working on (which later became the TouchPoints). We tried it on my daughter and lo and behold she was able to sleep. I tried it on my husband and he too slept better; I tried it on myself before big public speaking engagements. It’s as if we had been given an amazing gift! I was sold. Being an entrepreneur I knew this was too powerful to not share with the world. Amy and I decided to launch The TouchPoint Solution on the premise of making this technology affordable and accessible to the masses. This premise is also the background behind our scholarship program. Our goal is to give away one set of TouchPoints for every two we sell. You can apply for a financial need based scholarship on our website. 

Vicki Mayo
3. What was your first step when you decided to launch a business? 

Vicki: Once we set up our legal structure and operating agreement, I hired engineers to build the first prototypes. The day we held the first pair of TouchPoints (May 2016) was surreal! The next five months were a blur of refining the prototypes, developing an app, branding and creating a logo and name, setting up a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, and setting up an e-commerce platform.

4. A lot of women avoid health/tech, do you have any thoughts as to why?

Amy: I think traditionally in male-dominated businesses, women might feel intimidated and may shy away from pursuing goals in these industries. Honestly I didn’t even think of TouchPoints as a tech business in the beginning because I was so focused on the profound and immediate effects and what that could mean on a global scale in terms of stress relief and improved productivity. 

5. Have you encountered any issues in this field as a woman?

Amy: I think there is still bias towards men seeming more credible and as a woman there are always additional rites of passage to go through in terms of proving yourself. I’ve had many situations where if I’m with a male trainee, a third party will refer to him as the doctor and assume that I am an assistant. I’ve encountered situations where the business or scientific goals for a meeting turned out the other party being interested in pursuing a personal relationship and attempting to cross professional boundaries. I actually feel that neuropsychology and neuroscience are good fields for women and I have not felt the glass ceiling effect in this field that I felt everyday in my past career in business development.

6. Your sales numbers are impressive. To what do you attribute the fast success of your products?

Vicki: TouchPoints aren’t just about the newest and latest wearable. It’s about giving people a lifestyle tool. When you empower someone to change the story of their life, that’s a powerful thing. The far reaching effects of TouchPoints spoke for themselves. With limited product out, people were #PairingAndSharing their TouchPoints. We had numerous videos and posts go viral throughout our launch. It’s a snowball effect. Someone tries TouchPoints and loves it and they tell 10 of their friends who tell another 10 friends and before you know it we are reaching over 100,000 people per day.

7. You plan to be a $6 million company in 2017, how are you planning to do this?

Vicki: As a mentioned, we are relying heavily on word of mouth or “share of post.” TouchPoints work and as soon as people try them they feel it for themselves. We stay quite active on Social Media and we plan to continue sharing success stories.

Dr. Amy Serin
8. How do you plan to evolve the business? Where do you see it going in the next 2-3 years?

Vicki: Well it’s kind of a secret, but we have a new product launching in the next two weeks. It’s called TouchPoints Basic and it was created in response to hundreds of comments we received from people asking for a version of TouchPoints that could be used in remote areas or areas where phones/tablets were not allowed. TouchPoints Basic will be available in fun, cool colors and will offer two to three of our most used frequencies. More information can be found on our website.

9. Can you speak to the health/tech issue in today’s society? What are the biggest issues affecting women today?

Amy:I think that health tech is evolving rapidly and I think the issues of functionality and impact are important. You want to maximize impact without being invasive. There are some implant devices that require surgery that I’m not sure yield a better result than non-invasive approaches, for example. And I can see how consumers would be confused when looking at all the health/tech options because it is such a big, evolving space. The science can be overwhelming and difficult to understand so it may be hard to tease out what the real results of a product will be and how invasive it really is. I think the biggest issue affecting women who are looking to invest in health/tech products are teasing out which products are effective and how they can improve their lives. Women are amazing multi-taskers and are the glue that holds families and societies together. They need solutions to help them live in today’s world without adding more to their already busy schedules and we think TouchPoints can be a part of their overall strategy for living into their best lives.

10. How do you market your product? Is it more difficult in the health field? 

Vicki: TouchPoints is a lifestyle product, not a medical device and it is not intended to cure or treat illness or medical conditions. TouchPoints help with self-regulation. They alter the body’s stress response which helps with focus and can improve performance. We have users that tell us their sleep is better and parents tell us their children focus while doing their homework to name a few.

11. Overall, what was your biggest learning throughout your business journey?

Amy: For me, the biggest learning was how impactful social media is. There are positives and negatives to this. One positive is that businesses have to have integrity and be transparent because any problems can be broadcast immediately. This means businesses that are doing the right thing can be nimble and make immediate improvements based on feedback. The flip side is that anyone can say anything and uninformed opinions can create a false impression. I’d love to see the social media feed when scientists throughout history introduced any paradigm change, which is what we are doing. The real-time scrutiny and skepticism eventually washes out with time but in the meantime there’s a lot of misinformation that can be perpetuated by anybody at any time. 

12. Why is it important to take control of our stress levels, especially as business women?

Vicki: I don’t think people give stress and anxiety enough credit. People say all day long, I’m so stressed, I’m so anxious. They will say they are dealing with stress or managing stress, but I’m not sure they realize the actual toll it’s taking on their body. A recent study showed that 60-70% of disease comes from excessive stress and anxiety. 60-70%! That means that if there was a paradigm shift in how we thought about stress and addressed stress, we could theoretically see a huge decline in disease. It’s a domino effect. If we could reduce disease, healthcare costs would go down, people would live longer, healthier, and ultimately more productive lives.

Entrepreneurs ‘N Fuego - Interview with Vicki Mayo