Recently, Dr. Melissa White, one of the UF Engineering Innovation Institute’s lecturers and mentors, sat down with Dr. Matt Bellman, a Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering Alumnus and co-founder of Myolyn, a fast-growing startup in Gainesville, Florida, for a quick Q and A session.
Q: How did the Engineering Entrepreneurship course prepare you for your entrepreneurial journey?
A: The Engineering Entrepreneurship course represented the first step in my entrepreneurial journey. As it is with any complex endeavor, the initial conditions significantly impact the trajectory and the ultimate endpoint of the journey. The Engineering Entrepreneurship course set our initial conditions for success by providing us with the tools and, more importantly, the mindset we needed to succeed.
Q: How has the mentorship you received helped you in the development of your company?
A: There are innumerable steps in the journey of starting and growing your own company–so many that no one person can complete the journey alone. While every entrepreneur must take each step on his or her own, the odds of success are greater if you have a mentor that can at least show you where to step. We received such mentorship from Erik Sander, and without him, we would not be where we are today.
Q: What were the most important takeaways from your experience with the Engineering Entrepreneurship class?
A: The most important lesson I learned in Engineering Entrepreneurship was to set the limits on your entrepreneurial journey. In one class, Erik Sander asked us what we would be willing to give up to achieve our vision. Would you give up your hobbies? Your relationships? Your health? Some things must be sacrificed at the altar of Entrepreneurship, but others are sacred. You need to decide the difference from the start, lest you find that you’ve unwittingly sacrificed something that can’t be replaced.
Q: How have you continued to support the current students in the EII and in the community?
A: We give back to the students in the EII and in the community by regularly speaking in the EII courses and sharing our journey with those who follow. We also actively seek out EII students to be interns at MYOLYN so that we can give them a truer sense of what entrepreneurship is.
Co-founders Matthew Bellman and Alan Hamlet established MYOLYN in 2013 during their engineering Ph.D. studies at the University of Florida. Matt spent years researching the biomechanics of the human body and how to apply functional electrical stimulation (FES) in order to improve the health and functional ability of people with paralysis. During his research, he developed new stimulation techniques and control algorithms that result in a more powerful and efficient cycling workout for people with paralysis. The result is MYOLYN’s first product: the MyoCycle.
About UF Engineering Innovation Institute:
The institute fosters a culture of innovation leadership within the UF College of Engineering and beyond. It is the nexus of leading-edge curricular and experiential programs focused on creating student leaders in innovation positioned to change the world, driving faculty programs focused on leading-edge research and innovation, connecting innovators, entrepreneurs, and investors with UF, and transitioning the research and technologies of the College of Engineering to the private sector.