What’s the name of your startup?
What’s your title?
In which city (or cities) is your company located?
Describe your startup and its product/mission.
Shift, a women-founded technology company, is defining the future of education and training through virtual reality. Our products address the ~$5M issue of nurse churn and bring a focus to diversity, equity, and inclusion, in order to impact the horrific gaps in care due to health inequity and provider bias.
What got you into launching a startup?
In 2018 when, due to budget cuts, I was laid off from the University of Oregon, I heard about the Mozilla Gigabit grant that was available to fund the use of technology to address pressing social issues. I wanted very much to help people see what life was like for historically marginalized groups and I knew I could do that with virtual reality so I applied for and received the grant and never looked back.
What’s been the biggest challenge? Your proudest moment?
My biggest challenges have come from being a woman who is over 40 and trying to break into tech and startup from the world of education. I have been faced with a lot of bias and preconceived expectations from funders and contractors.
My proudest moment was the first person to use my virtual reality, took off the headset, and, releasing a big sigh, said “That was an incredible and eye-opening experience!”
What are the short and long-term goals for your startup?
We are gaining new customers, partners, and advocates daily so my goal is to get as many people as I possibly can to use our products so that we can have a huge impact on disrupting bias. Long term, I intend to sell the company to someone who can take the work even further than we can.
What’s your favorite thing about our region’s tech ecosystem?
Without TAO and the tech ecosystem, I would have never gotten the grant to get started in the first place and I would never have met all the wonderful people who have become advisors, mentors, and especially Maggie Hubbell who became my co-founder and COO.