CEO and co-founder of Smileyscope, Dr Evelyn Chan, knows firsthand the difficulty in taking a good idea and turning it into a business. This year’s International Womens’ Day theme set by the United Nations is Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress. We’re proud to be investing in Smileyscope and to share Evelyn’s inspiring journey.

Read her interview below.

Hi Evelyn, please share with us what you were doing prior to Smileyscope.

My story starts in pediatrics. While working as a trainee, I quickly realised that lots of kids were petrified because they thought that seeing a doctor meant having to get needles. It became important for me to make children’s visits to the doctor a comfortable and safe experience for everyone.

What made you decide to make the shift and build Smileyscope full time?

One of the biggest realisations I had was when we saw clinicians were keen to use the Smileyscope headset for applications outside of the clinical trial. One of the clinicians actually mentioned that since implementing Smileyscope, she had not needed to give patients nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas) as they were much calmer during procedures.

That was when I realised there was a much greater need for Smileyscope’s technology than just simple needle procedures. The potential for patients to receive drug-free support that was pain-free, and anxiety-reducing is huge.

I knew then that I needed to take the leap and focus on making this a reality. It was now or never.

What was the most challenging part of being a founder?

One of the things about building a startup is there’s a need to be very strict on what to prioritise to move the dial. Having finite resources and time, I found it challenging to hire a team that can understand the vision Paul Leong, my co-founder, and I have for the company.

While we’ve now got a great existing team, I’ll admit that I’m still learning and figuring out the right formula.

Any tips for other founders in the making trying to follow in your footsteps?

Most people have lots of great ideas, but focusing and implementing an idea requires a big leap. This is where understanding the landscape is key. Does it make more sense to support someone who’s already doing this mission? Or is it something that’s entirely novel and worth doing as a startup?

When you find a true need, usually because you’ve experienced that gap, that will keep you going and seeing your startup through to the end.

Read more about our investment in Smileyscope .