Investment Opportunity: Seed Funding Stage
At a Glance
Company: Wave Therapeutics
Year Created: 2017
Mission: Providing effective and affordable smart cushioning devices and actionable analytics tools to help prevent pressure injuries.
Target Markets/Audience: Healthcare providers and long-term care facilities
What Makes Jessica Unique
Jessica Bussert grew up in a home that fostered her entrepreneurial spirit and mindset. She taught herself computer programming as a kid, and at 15 years old, she went door-to-door to local businesses offering computer services for an hourly fee. She launched her first business while still in college before going on to lead the business consulting department for a high-profile Fortune 500 company.
As a trans woman, Jessica is no stranger to discrimination. Her decision to transition led to a career shift, and after losing her corporate job, she began volunteering for the local fire department where she participated in medical runs. This sparked her interest in the medical field and led to a nursing career. Today, Jessica is determined to use her skills to address critical issues in the healthcare industry and advocate for equal rights, particularly for women and the LGBTQIA+ community.
“Across the nation, I know of only six or seven transgender founders. I continually stress the importance of finding your tribe, finding support and finding people who can relate to your struggles and experiences. You need friends, you need shoulders to cry on, you need mentors and supporters and role models. Tap into your network, because you can’t do it alone.”
What Jessica Is Trying To Solve
Jessica is passionate about finding an effective and affordable solution to the critical issues facing the healthcare industry. She launched Wave Therapeutics to provide affordable smart cushioning technology that can help prevent pressure injuries before they happen and relieve the burden on overwhelmed medical facilities. While Wave Therapeutics supplies next-generation therapeutic cushions to the mobility-impaired population, Jessica’s ultimate goal is to improve access to quality healthcare for everyone.
We sat down with Jessica to talk with her about how she got her start as a founder, what her seed funding stage has been like, and how GET Cities has helped.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
I decided to go back to school to become an ER nurse, and eventually a traveling nurse, all over the country. One day, in one of the small-town hospitals I worked in, I met a disabled veteran with severely infected bed sores. To help treat his wounds, his doctor had prescribed him a $4,000 cushion that he could not afford.
His story inspired me to merge my tech skills and healthcare knowledge to design better, more affordable medical solutions for those most in need. My healthcare startup, Wave Therapeutics, provides high-quality, inexpensive therapeutic technology to help prevent pressure injuries.
What do you wish you’d known or done to prepare for the seed stage?
The sad truth is that the entrepreneurial world in general was much easier for me before I transitioned. Although being a straight white male was never my truth, the world perceived and treated me as such. Now that I’ve transitioned, I’m very intentional about being an outspoken advocate on behalf of my daughters, my wife and my fellow women founders who have been denied opportunities simply based on gender. I’m going to use my voice however I can to speak out against injustice and hopefully change the paradigm. Now that I’m in this body, I have got to be as loud of an advocate as I can be.
Why do you think it’s important to encourage more women, trans, and non-binary people –particularly those who are also Black, Latinx, Indigenous and People of Color – to become entrepreneurs?
It is imperative to have more people from marginalized genders and races within the entrepreneurial space. Although there is a lot of beauty and power in being able to connect with other people who share parts of your identity and can relate to your struggles, I ultimately view my and other marginalized founders’ presence in this industry as a fight against systemic injustice. Women must stand up for their own rights through camaraderie and community, fighting to make this world a better place.
What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Be as persistent as you have to be to succeed. The world is going to knock you down and tell you "no" again and again and again. If you listen to it, you’ll never make a change.
What made you want to participate in this cohort?
I think that we all have an obligation to fight against this entrenched, corrupt system that we’re living in. And I think the Tech Equity Working Group (TEWG) is the perfect example of how to push back and how to help level the playing field. I’m just really honored that they welcomed me into the world.
What would you say is the most valuable tool, connection point, piece of wisdom, etc. that you’ve gained from working with GET Cities thus far?
Since joining the TEWG’s Seed Founder Cohort, I have discovered incredible value in the community of my fellow cohort members. The members have also consistently advocated loudly on my behalf, both with their words and with their checkbooks. They’ve used their networks and connections to provide me with access to receptive investors and have paid for Wave Therapeutics to participate in various programs that I would not have been able to afford myself. But most of all, I have attained a wonderful sense of community with other women going through the same struggles and trying to make a change in a broken system.