- What is the one thing everyone takes with them when they leave the house?
- What is the second thing anybody with a life-threatening allergy should always have on them?
If you answered: a cell phone and then an Epi-Pen... go to the head of the class and meet Delaney Brody, a CEL entrepreneur who has conceived, developed, and produced EpiPhones. An insulated silicone case that attaches to the back of a cell phone to house an epinephrine device, Brody’s EpiPhone provides “peace of mind wherever you go.”
Delaney has suffered from life-threatening food allergies to eggs and nuts her whole life and she knows firsthand how easy it is to forget her EpiPen which can lead to scary close calls. In the fall of sophomore year, Delaney and her mom attended FARECon, a conference in D.C. that brought together 700 teens, parents, and adults managing food allergies. There she heard again and again from peers who struggled to always carry their EpiPens with them. So, when the time came to solve a real-world problem during her CEL Capstone course (Spring 2019), she quickly drew on personal experience for her project.
Working in the class’s Invention Studio with Peter Randall, Engineering & Robotics department chair, Delaney experimented with 3-D printer technology to develop a prototype of her holder. “But, I quickly realized it wasn’t a long term solution,“ she acknowledges. “It took too long to print and the material needed to be more flexible in order to hold the epinephrine pen case. I’ve also learned that white is not a great color for the case—it gets scuffed up pretty easily—so we are producing black and lavender versions for the first batch.”
Now a senior in the Venture Accelerator program, Delaney has been working with the CEL team to tweak and refine her product, design her website, and build her business. As any good entrepreneur will tell you, networking with family and friends is often key to success. Through family contacts, Delaney made a critical connection to a manufacturer in Hong Kong. And now, a silicone version of the EpiPhone is in production. She is taking pre-orders through her website while awaiting delivery of the first 500 cases.
Solving for real-world problems is one of the CEL program’s fundamental missions. “Delaney is the ultimate example of a student who found a problem that deeply effects her and designed a solution,” says CEL Executive Director Ed Glassman. “This lifesaving innovation demonstrates her entrepreneurial mindset. We are so proud of her progress!”
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Over the past 10 years, the Sands Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) has become one of the flagships of an SCH education. It is a program that is as substantial in its educational content as it is inspirational in its impact. In celebration of the CEL's 10th anniversary, we will be showcasing our CEL Venture Accelerator (VA) students throughout the year. Seeking out opportunity, devising creative solutions, working to effect positive change, more than two dozen VA students are currently hard at work with faculty mentors to bring their visions to life. We hope readers will enjoy learning about the people and the projects that are percolating in the VA right now.