Sandeep Akkaraju of Exo

An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Sandeep Akkaraju (co-founder and CEO) of Exo, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of Exo – what problem were you trying to solve and why?

Exo was founded with an unwavering vision to positively impact the world by making high-quality, affordable medical imaging accessible to patients worldwide, starting with point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS).

As a serial entrepreneur, Exo is the culmination of a life of experiences thinking about the ways that technology can transform the lives of people around the globe. My grandfather was a doctor, and my grandmother was a nurse, and together they established a hospital in India, which showed me early on in life the importance of serving the underserved. My father was a space engineer and entrepreneur who showed me the way technology can transform society.

My co-founders and I were interested in developing products that could directly impact how millions of people are diagnosed and treated for medical conditions each day, bringing equity, access and innovation to health care around the world.

What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?

We are completely changing the way medical imaging is designed, manufactured, and delivered. Using nanotechnology and advanced signal processing, Exo’s ultrasound platform will be miniaturized into an intuitive handheld device that can image the entire body, fit in your pocket, and rival the performance of cart-based systems at a fraction of the cost. Developing this breakthrough piezoelectric micromachined ultrasound technology (pMUT), a first for medical imaging, has been the biggest technological challenge to date.

What does the future hold for Exo?

What excites me most about the future is working with incredibly talented people every day and building products that will make a difference. We believe ultrasound is the medical tool of the future. Twenty years from now, physicians won’t be trying to listen to your heart or lungs to determine if something is wrong – they’ll be able to look inside the body. Our technology can directly impact how millions of people are diagnosed and treated for medical issues, creating a more accessible, equitable and forward-leaning global healthcare system.

What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Redwood City?

Redwood City is a true innovation hub. The city is booming with new ideas and emerging technologies, creating an energetic and exciting culture. We are thrilled to be a part of a city that makes a point of supporting the growth and development of the startups headquartered there.

What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Entrepreneurs often focus on moonshots and spend a lot of resources on technology and products. But while everyone wants to build the space vehicle for the moonshot, people quickly forget that the vehicle requires fuel to move. Companies that overlook that fuel, their company culture, will struggle to get to their destination.

Startups are all about the people who make big ideas happen. Surround yourself with great people and focus on building a strong team and company culture.

To build a culture that drives innovative products forward, start at the top with a focus on talent, motivation, an appreciation for ways of being, ways of doing, and ways of relating to each other.

For more exclusive interviews, see our full Profile of a Founder series
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