Up and Running with Glen Kleinschmidt, COO, HIVE – Medical Alley Association

Up and Running with Glen Kleinschmidt, COO, HIVE

Glen Kleinschmidt is a Dual-Degree Engineering graduate who holds a BS in Biophysics from Elon University, and both a BS and MS in Biomedical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis. ​Glen has extensive and varied prototyping and product design experience, and has worked with a variety of medical device companies and their products. Glen is a strong believer in combining engineering innovation with communication and cooperation. At HIVE, Glen works primarily on product development, project and task management, operation oversight, design specifications, manufacturing, and establishing business relationships.

Give us HIVE’s elevator pitch.

Healthcare is moving from the hospital to the home, with outpatient care now accounting for nearly half of all hospital revenue. Over the last decade, HIVE’s specific market, outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy (OPAT), grew by 300% and currently has a national market of 1.4 million patients valued at $4.2 billion. Taking medication at home is more cost-effective and convenient, but also has a higher rate of non-adherence than in-hospital treatments. Covid-19 has created a sense of urgency to find solutions and keep these patients safe at home. HIVE Medical is a remote patient monitoring (RPM) company working to address this by developing a device to reduce unplanned readmissions with at-home IV antibiotics. With our patent pending CloudConnect sensor, we aim to seamlessly integrate into the current system of care to improve outcomes and help patient return to their normal lives.

What led you to join the HIVE team?

HIVE began through an organization named Sling Health, which gives current students from multiple universities the opportunity to form teams and solve a problem identified from a local healthcare professional. While our original idea was focused on medical adherence, it was not until an in-depth conversation with the former director of OPAT at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis that we pivoted to our current focus. As we learned more about the problem of at-home IV antibiotic non-adherence, tragedy stuck a member of our team, as his relative was a victim of non-adherence with OPAT and is currently in a life-threatening situation. Through these experiences we learned that not only was this problem global and growing, but that a solution to it has the potential to improve the lives of tens of thousands of people and make at-home care more viable. Once our program was finished, we decided to continue our work and officially incorporated HIVE Inc in 2019. I continued to work part time on HIVE as I completed my studies and began working full time once I graduated in the Spring of 2021.

What are the big milestones to come in the next few years for HIVE?

Our next big milestone is the completion of a minimum viable product (MVP) by the end of our current accelerator program in May 2022. In order to accomplish this, we have and will continue to perform many cycles of gathering customer interviews and research data to build, test and reform prototypes and value propositions , This MVP is one of the many things that will go into our 510 K submission, which we plan to begin by Q1 of 2023. Following positive results, we plan to move on to post-market clinical trials at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, an initial target partner which has maintained significant interest in our solution. As we predict this will take us through the majority of 2024, we aim to begin sales by Q1 of 2025.

How do you balance being a leader at a startup with your everyday life?

What has really helped me is checking in on myself periodically to make sure I don’t get burnt out or get so absorbed in my work that I forget what else matters. There always seems like there are at least 10 other things I could do for the startup, so it really takes valuing your mental, physical and emotional health as much as you do success,which admittedly can be hard since the line blurs a bit between personal and business with something I have worked on since day one. When I notice myself getting drained, upset or distracted I turn to things that help me be a different “me” for a bit, so that no one-thing becomes too much.

What’s one thing people get wrong about startup life?

When I tell people that I am working on a startup full time many of them tell me “that must be so fun, you have complete control,” and while to an extent that is true, it is not so simple. While I am somewhat flexible in that I ultimately choose when and how I do things, there are many other things we are limited by, such as lack of experience, lack of needed connections, lack of funds, etc.

I am fortunate to have some avenues to fill these gaps, but ultimately, I need to decide everyday what the best possible choice in my wheelhouse is, and even making that decision can be intensive and time-consuming. So, at the end of the day everything certainly is more personal and self-motivating, but not as “open” as people might think.

What is the best advice you have received in your career? What is the worst?

The best piece of advice that comes to mind is that almost everything is a cycle, not a linear path. Everything you do doesn’t need to be the be-all-end-all, or be without mistakes, because if you mess up with something you can learn from it and use it for future events.

Something that sounds good but that I’ve actually come to learn can be really harmful is “never give up, just try harder and you’ll get it.” That sounds cynical to say, but just putting in more and more effort when something isn’t going well does not help in entrepreneurship, or life for that matter. Sometimes you need to take a different look, take a break, pivot, or even just walk away. I was always told from a young age to “never give up” and “don’t be afraid to try things,” but what I did not learn until fairly recently is that sometimes stepping back or stepping away is the hardest and best choice. There is always enough time to try new things, but hardly enough time to keep at things that don’t work or that you don’t really want to do.

What is one personal goal for the upcoming year?

Right now, I have a very unique opportunity where I am getting a crash course in the perspectives and experiences of people with two to three times my life experience in the types of positions I hope to be in. Something I realized during work experiences and schooling is that it is very hard for people to figure out what sort of work truly makes them happy. With all of this opportunity I hope to get closer to becoming the sort of person who really knows that answer for themselves, and who other people can come to for guidance and support, just like I am getting from others right now.

How do you relax / decompress?

I find some way to reset myself, which depends on what I need to decompress from. If I have been focusing intensely, I will do something active yet mentally simple like running, working out, or cooking. If I am frustrated with something that just happened, I put myself in a different environment by going on a walk, reading a book, or watching a show. If something just isn’t working out for me and I am stuck, then I take a different look at the problem, usually by talking it out with a friend or family member or coming back to it later.

What do you enjoy most about the Medical Alley community? 

I enjoy that unlike some other large technical organizations, Medical Alley was created for the sake of companies large and small, not by those companies, or at least the ones wealthy enough to make a section of a state their “business center.” From my experience with Medical Alley thus far, every member I have spoken with or otherwise met, from the C-level executives to new hires to partner members, have a drive to improve healthcare and share their knowledge, even if they do not directly profit from it. I honestly think that community-driven environments like that are the ones that will make real changes and help people grow.

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