Editor’s Note: In honor of 10 years of the IDS program at the iSchool, Alexandra Archambault will be leading you through a 10-episode podcast series. Each episode highlights a different successful startup company from the program.
Alex: This week I had a call with Luis Romo. Luis told me about his company, PurpleSun.
Luis: PurpleSun is a healthcare technology company. We are designing and manufacturing novel light-based solutions for the healthcare industry, specifically for the purpose of disinfection.
In a nutshell, we design these machines that are powered by a special type of light. Instead of using chemicals, we’re using a different type of technology for the purposes of disinfecting equipment such as hospital beds, OR tables, and all different types of equipment used in healthcare.
The Beauty of Engineering and the iSchool
Alex: Luis said that his initial idea was born out of the IDS program’s first class, What’s The Big Idea (IDS 401). From there he took a serious of classes, and with lots of trial and error eventually was able to start PurpleSun.
Luis: It started with just the fundamentals of thinking of ideas and how you turn it into something real. Or creating them and making them real. One thing lead to another while we working on the technology, and it evolved into several iterations. Lo and behold, PurpleSun was born thereafter.
Alex: Luis was not actually an iSchool student but an engineering student. This would ultimately help him invent and develop his product into what it is today.
Luis: My background is in biomedical engineering. I was a student in the engineering school and I did my masters while taking the three core IDS classes. The advantage was that it was one of the first times I had seen a course that applied to any school and/or any major. Anybody from any school at Syracuse University could utilize these classes and count them towards your credits. It was powerful from that sense.
The idea for PurpleSun actually came after the classes. I had other ideas that won some business competitions but none of them were feasible from a financial standpoint. It wasn’t until after the classes that I learned what the big idea was and what the big opportunity was going to be.
What PurpleSun Looks Like Today
Alex: Luis graduated and started PurpleSun back in 2012. Today the company looks very different than it did back then.
Luis: Right now, all the stuff that I had designed and invented in the beginning (after the course) is all now patented. We work internationally as well so we have to have international patents as well. We’re gearing up now for big orders and our series B invest round. We also work with some big healthcare partners that we were able to secure. We also have investments from the 12th largest healthcare company in the world. They’re worth 10 billion dollars and have 22 hospitals spread out across the New York area. They’re essentially our customer/clinical partner/investor. They’ll be buying our machines for their facilities for the 2019 year.
Advice to Young Entrepreneurs
Alex: When talking about his tips for his entrepreneurs, Luis had a very carpe diem or ‘seize the day’ mindset.
Luis: I always say “today is the day!” Today is the day, that you can decide what you want to do for your future. It’s not tomorrow, it’s not yesterday, it’s NOW. If you want to do something that you have the ultimate power to decide, then that’s it. It’s that simple. It might sound like a simple philosophy or recommendation, but that’s what it is.
You have to decide and be committed to that decision to get started. Whether it’s to start it, or work on your idea, you have to make that decision to go find it or go create it. If you’re not obsessed with or in love with your idea and you’re not completely all in, you’ll never make it. Those are the fundamentals, you have to be all in, you have to be obsessed with it, and you have to be in love with the work that you’re doing. If you’re missing those things, it’s extremely easy to quit.
This interview has been edited for clarity.