Scott Nelson: Co-founder, Joovv

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Scott Nelson is a cofounder of Joovv, the first company to commercialize a full-body, professional-grade light therapy device designed for convenient, in-home use. Prior to cofounding Joovv, he spent his entire professional career in leadership positions with some of the largest medical device companies in the world, including Medtronic, Covidien, Boston Scientific, and C.R. Bard. Scott is best friends with his wife and soulmate, Liz, and loves spending time with his 4 kids. Fun fact: In his spare time, Scott is also the host of Medsider Radio, a top-ranked medical device podcast.

How did you get into the industry?

I’ve always been interested in the sciences and studied Biology in college. Ironically, my first three years post-undergrad were spent in the finance space.  But that’s where I cut my teeth in business. After coming to the realization that I wanted to spend my time in a space that closer aligned with my interests, I landed a sales gig in the medical device arena. I then spent ten years in various sales and marketing leadership positions with companies like Medtronic, Covidien, and Boston Scientific before co-founding Joovv in 2016.

Any emerging industry trends?

Medical device companies have traditionally relied on a legacy healthcare system that goes something like this: Physician tells the patient what procedure they need; Patient blindly agrees, Procedure is complete; Hospital and physician are reimbursed by the insurance company.  

As most people know, the healthcare system is rapidly changing into one that rewards the physician and hospital for delivering quality care. In addition, because healthcare insurance premiums are at all-time highs, a lot of consumers are opting for high-deductible plans. This puts the power of choice back in the hands of the patient.

Fortunately, with Joovv, we’re able to avoid the healthcare insurance system altogether because consumers pay cash for our devices.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

Most medical device companies don’t know how to position their products to the general public. As I mentioned before, they are stuck in the legacy healthcare model. This presents an obvious opportunity for a nimble company like ours to take a Zappos-like approach by delivering premium products through world-class customer service.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

Back in 2014, after researching the many benefits of red light therapy (photobiomodulation), two of our cofounders decided to buy a red light therapy package at a local salon. Within a matter of weeks, they both saw huge improvements in things like stretch marks and eczema, issues they had dealt with for quite some time.

But with multiple kids, traveling to the salon 4-5 times per week was both inconvenient and expensive. Plus, they wanted the rest of their family to experience the healing benefits of red light therapy as well.  So, they began to search for an in-home solution - something that was convenient, powerful, and could treat the whole body. After a ton of research, the only devices they could find were small, overpriced units designed to treat single areas like your face.

So one of our cofounders convinced her engineer-husband to build a custom solution, product specifically made to maximize the results of red light therapy in a convenient, efficient design. And that is how our first prototype was born!

What's next for the Business in the near future?

Our single biggest issue has been trying to keep up with demand, which has been a good problem to have. Because Joovv is growing at a 20% month-over-month clip, we’re in the process of increasing our manufacturing capabilities while scaling our team to effectively manage the growth. In addition, we’ll be rolling out 1-2 additional product lines within the next 6 months, which we’re very excited about!

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?

Over the past year, we’ve tried to follow the Bullseye Method, popularized by Gabriel Weinberg in his book, Traction. In the spirit of this methodology, we’ve tested multiple channels like paid advertising (via Google and Facebook), content marketing, PR, etc. But by far, our most effective way of reaching our target demographic has been to establish relationships with influencers that openly promote alternative health, beauty and fitness options that are rooted in science. People like Dr. Mercola and Ben Greenfield. By encouraging folks like this to try our product, they can see for themselves the benefits of full-body light therapy. Then, of course, we reward them for helping us spread the word about Joovv!

Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)

Despite the fact that we’re a young company, we’ve already had two other companies try to launch copycat products. Fortunately, we solidified our intellectual property (IP) early on, which we’ve definitely leveraged thus far. I would encourage every entrepreneur to think about their IP sooner rather than later. But at the end of the day, ideas are a dime a dozen, even with strong patents in place. Therefore, focus on executing better than everyone else and let that be your differentiating feature!

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

Because of the mechanism of action of light therapy at the cellular level, our product helps to heal people from the inside out. Everything from reducing wrinkles and stretch marks to increasing testosterone and fat loss.  Therefore, if you’re looking for a safe, alternative to enhance your overall health, we’d encourage you to take a look at our light therapy products!

How do you motivate others?

Empathy is incredibly important.  Putting yourself in the shoes of others, in a genuine fashion, fosters trust and understanding.  In addition, getting in the trenches and doing the work helps to create a “just do it” type of culture.  One that’s focused on momentum vs perfection.

Career advice to those in your industry?

Early on in your career, network, network, network.  But don’t do it in a typical self-serving way.  Instead, develop a unique skill and offer it for free to those influencers that you wish to connect with.  That will reap rewards over and over again if you do it right.