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WIB Success Story: WIB-Chicago Startup Challenge Leads to Mentorship for Hubly Co-Founder & CEO: Casey Grage

Posted By Marsha Morgenstern, Friday, November 22, 2019

Casey Grage

Hubly Co-Founder & CEO


On September 18, 2019, Casey Grage pitched her company Hubly Inc. at the Women In Bio Startup Challenge in Chicago. “I’m Casey, CEO of Hubly,” she began. “We are a medical device company with the goal of modernizing bedside neurosurgery.”

Over the next seven minutes, she explained how the most common neurosurgery is the bedside skull puncture, for which failure means stroke, hemorrhage, brain infection, or death. The skull puncture fails up to 50% of the time. This is because it relies on a free-hand, hand-crank drill without any features for guidance or stability. To achieve its mission of modernizing neurosurgery, Hubly’s first product is a novel patent-pending drilling system for use in the bedside skull puncture. Casey and her team invented what they call a Ventri Drill to include plunge protection and guidance. These features for accuracy and safety will reduce human suffering and financial burden in an $8 billion market.

One of the members of the judging panel was Dr. Nancy Harvey. Nancy has a Ph.D. in Chemical Physics from Caltech and an MBA from Wharton. Over the past 30 years, she has served as CEO of TenFold (acquired by Versata), CEO of Wolfram Solutions, Executive Director of Wolfram Research, President of various subsidiaries at MacNeal Health Services Corporation, and Managing Director of the University of Chicago Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. In her free time, she volunteers as a board member at Women In Bio-Chicago, an accelerator review board member at Chicago Biomedical Consortium, and a venture mentor at MATTER.

Hubly intrigued her.

Casey emailed Nancy following the pitch to ask for feedback, and their close mentorship immediately launched. From that event in September through the present, Nancy and Casey have met for lunch every two weeks and emailed consistently throughout. Nancy has helped Casey refine her deck, apply for (and get into) accelerators, negotiate better deals with accelerators, effectively lead her team, make difficult decisions, and everything in between.

“[Nancy] has been absolutely instrumental in helping me build my company,” said Casey. “Having Nancy, a mentor whose intentions and professional opinions I can trust without hesitation, has been crucial to my ability to get sh*t done and get it done right.”

When mentor and mentee had lunch last week, Nancy remarked on the progress Hubly had made in such a short time. “When I saw Casey’s pitch two months ago, I already thought [Hubly] was going to make it . . . But now, there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind.”

What impresses Nancy most about Casey is her drive and intelligence. Casey published a full-length novel at the age of 10 before spearheading a decade-long, successful campaign to install solar panels in her school district. Years later as a neuroengineer, her fervent passion for health technology materialized when she co-founded and became CEO of Hubly. To pursue the company full-time, she completed two majors in just three years, turned down a Columbia graduate degree program, and left a six-figure salary ...all at the age of 20.

“I’ve been privileged to work with some very talented and successful individuals," says Nancy on her decades of experience as a highly successful, multi-time founder/CEO/advisor. She then added, “Casey is the most promising first-time leader I have ever worked with.”


Tags:  2019  Success Story 

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