Gerald “Jerry” Wilmink is founder & CEO of WiseWear, a company he founded in his San Antonio garage in 2013 after his grandfather passed away due to a fatal fall. On a mission to “right this wrong”, Dr. Wilmink started WiseWear to develop wearable devices that would allow users to alert their loved ones in times of potential danger.
Parallel to building wise wear, Jerry serves as an advisor for several start-up companies, and as mentor for TechStars, the #1 startup accelerator in the world, Advisor at 3-Day-startup and incubator for students at top universities across 6 continents (Harvard, MIT just to mention a few), an advisor for National Academy of Sciences, TEDMed speaker.
We are talking about Jerry’s big WHY, for creating Wisewear, how you get started and build a technology company, how to get investors and the key characteristics of entrepreneurship that we need to work on as aspiring entrepreneurs.
What you will learn
- Hire people to cover your weaknesses and get out of their way. Sir Richard Branson
- How the idea was born 3 years before Jerry actually launched WiseWear.
- How Jerry approached his MBA study with the aim of building the business plan for his business WiseWear.
- The intersection between two areas of domain expertise can be the potential birth of a new service and business.
- Double down on your expertise and what you are really good at, and delegate the rest. – Jerry Wilmink
- Why Jerry’s mother has been the single biggest inspiration in who he is today.
- How Jerry almost lost the faith of his engineers after a disappointing Indiegogo campaign with sales of $15.000
- How an introduction to fashion and jewelry designer Iris Apfel changed the trajectory of wise wear’s design and success with IoT jewelry.
- The importance of design and technology, respectively for product success.
- Jerry’s “Why” for creating WiseWear and why this is important for any entrepreneur starting a business.
- Reach out to accomplished entrepreneurs to get help, build, scale and overcome hurdles.
- The key areas of focus when developing a new product when looking for financing.
- Looking for investors, how Jerry pitched 100 investors before getting the first funding.
- Make sure you screen investors well, that they understand your market and are active investors. Understand their hang-ups so you can improve your business and your pitch.
- As TechStars advisor, here is Jerry’s take on what is holding aspiring entrepreneurs back