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Updated 14 January 20
Introducing Rebecca Taylor; the student turned founder who’s storming the startup world and pushing innovation in healthcare across the UK. After moving to Liverpool for university, little did she know that 4 years spent studying design engineering would lead to the start of Aquarate, the digital health business putting hydration at the heart of patient care.
“There’s an opportunity here to do something I truly believe in. I can see it making a difference to people, and that’s what motivated me to get started”
Despite spending her days at university studying design engineering, it wasn’t just Rebecca’s course that inspired her startup idea. Instead, a conversation with an Associate Specialist doctor was what got her thinking. “I was going to lots of healthcare events around the North West, and I met a doctor called Begho Obale,” Rebecca explains. “At the time, she was starting a national campaign called ‘Think Kidneys’, which was all about educating nurses, doctors and patients about looking after your kidneys. One of the issues surrounding kidney health is fluid balance and from that I realised a solution to help could be really beneficial”.
Your fluid balance might not sound like something particularly detrimental to your health, but dehydration costs the NHS over a billion pounds a year within the UK. “The current fluid balance monitoring system comprises of nurses asking their patients what they have had to drink that day, and then writing it down,” says Rebecca. “As you can imagine, this is highly inaccurate and time consuming”.
“I thought there’s an opportunity here to do something I truly believe in. I can see it making a difference to people, and that’s what motivated me to get started”.
“I graduated in May, and by June I had investment”
Rebecca first crossed paths with the Nova team when she took part in a Hackathon tackling acute kidney injury and sepsis patient deterioration. She recalls, “Olivia, Nova’s Chief Innovation Officer, joined my team along with 14 clinicians and industry leaders, and for two days we worked on my idea.”
“The day was a success, but I knew I needed additional support to get the business started. After hearing Nova’s process from Olivia, it sounded perfect”, she explains. “I graduated the following May, and by June I had investment”.
Working with Nova’s ready-made startup team, Rebecca was able to watch her business idea quickly come to life. “Aquarate is a system which helps accurately track and monitor patient’s fluid balance in hospitals and care settings,” she says. “We’ve currently got two products in development. One is the AQI cup which tracks what people are drinking, and then we have the AQO tracker which sits in the toilet and measures fluid output.” As the NHS continues to embrace digital innovation, Aquarate’s products will digitise the processes already in place and really start to improve the quality of patient care.
“We’re already working with a few major hospitals in the UK and I’m excited to see a ready-to-test product being trialled within the next year”
As other entrepreneurs will know, starting a business requires dedication and you’ll never stop learning. With Rebecca, it’s no different. “As a young founder, it’s been brilliant to have that business support. From learning how to actually run a startup to watching my team transform my idea into a working product, it’s been incredible.”
“With Nova, you have every aspect you need for starting a business. Marketing, finance, design, development; it’s all happening at the same time. There’s no way I could have done that on my own”, she admits.
With the Aquarate team busy with product development, progress has come along in leaps and bounds. “We’re already working with a few leading hospitals in the UK, including the Liverpool Royal, and I’m excited to see our ready-to-test product being trialled within the next year”, Rebecca says.
But Aquarate’s goals for the future don’t stop there. “Long-term, I hope to see our products being used throughout the UK and internationally”, she tells us. “With better fluid balance monitoring in place, it’s possible to reduce patient length of stay, help nurses utilise their time more effectively, and provide patients with the opportunity for self-care. We’d really be making a difference”.
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