"Although Princeton has given me exposure to a multitude of interesting areas," said Miles Cole ’22, "it has also gifted me with an unquenchable thirst for entrepreneurship." Miles has taken that unquenchable thirst and applied it to a very personal mission: helping hemophiliacs like himself with the daily process of intravenous injection, which is imperfect at best for even trained medical professionals. For these efforts, Miles has won the 2020 Tiger Entrepreneur Award, a prestigious award designed to celebrate the value of entrepreneurship and innovation across the Princeton community and to emphasize the University’s commitment to Entrepreneurship the Princeton Way.
Hemophilia is a genetic condition in which the blood does not clot normally, and the treatment of it requires daily IV injections. Even for the trained professional, needle injections are accurate only 75 percent of the time. For the occasional injection, this is largely acceptable, but for those who require daily injections or for the infirm, this situation can result in life-threatening complications. When Miles arrived on the Princeton campus, he had an idea to build a device that could automate the IV injection process.
"What was so intriguing about Miles’ story was that he said he was not an engineer and would probably be majoring in psychology but he was very passionate about getting this idea off the ground," said Stephanie Landers, Entrepreneurial Program Manager at the Keller Center. She connected then first-year student Miles with Craig Arnold, the Susan Dod Brown Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Director of the Princeton Institute for Science and Technology of Materials and himself a successful entrepreneur.
Miles met with Prof. Arnold and the duo set out to develop a prototype to solve the problem. With Prof. Arnold’s guidance, Miles founded Invictis Technologies, assembled a team, won acceptance to the Keller Center eLab Summer Accelerator, obtained multiple patents, was awarded funds from the Princeton IP Accelerator Fund, secured significant outside investment for the development of the device, and has engaged with major clinical laboratories to bring the device to many phlebotomy service centers. After an initial prototype the size of a dishwasher, the current prototype now fits easily on Miles’ wrist.
The initial market was conceived around hemophiliacs, but through the entrepreneurial process, Invictis is realizing a larger market and greater potential success. While his mission is personal, the automated nature of the device will help many more people than just hemophiliacs. As Prof. Arnold points out, "it can used in any setting from a battlefield or emergency response situation to a quiet and peaceful living room."
Miles was able to make this progress while juggling a full course load and a Division I water polo schedule. "His dedication to the mission of improving quality of life is admirable," said Prof. Arnold. "I have only the highest praise for Miles and what he has been able to accomplish while being a full-time undergraduate student and varsity athlete." At the outset of the pandemic, Miles moved the Invictis operation to this childhood bedroom and continues to make significant progress toward achieving his mission.
For the first time, the Tiger Entrepreneur Award will be given during Engage 2020, Princeton’s inaugural innovation and entrepreneurship conference. "Having first-hand experience founding multiple medical device startups myself," said Anne-Marie Maman ’84, Executive Director at the Princeton Entrepreneurship Council and co-chair of the conference, "what Miles has been able to do so far is remarkable. I look forward to watching both the company grow and Miles develop as an entrepreneur."
The Engage 2020 conference is the first major event under the Princeton Innovation initiative led by Rodney D. Priestley, Vice Dean for Innovation. "Miles is a perfect example of taking innovative work done at Princeton and translating it into the real-world in a way that has real societal benefits. This is an integral part of the Princeton Innovation initiative," said Priestley.