CEO at TheraB Medical
Navigating the Path to Business Success
Photo BY Erika Hodges
As if being a 25 year-old woman navigating the path of adulthood as a young professional isn’t hard enough, Alexa Jones is all that and she’s the CEO of TheraB Medical; a medical company working on producing a new treatment for infant jaundice. No big deal, right?
“My life is a lot of figuring out how to run a business and how to launch a product,” said Jones, saying that she didn’t study business in school, so running one is something she has to learn as she goes.
Jones did, however, study engineering at Michigan State University (MSU), the birthplace of her idea for TheraB. As part of Jones’s capstone engineering class, she and her two partners, Vu Hoang and Oliver Bloom, were assigned
a final project – to engineer a treatment for jaundice for infants in third
The three realized that the treatment options for jaundice here in the U.S. were essentially the same, each based on a treatment called phototherapy; a treatment consisting of small doses of bright light that is exposed to the skin for increments of time, think tanning beds for babies.
Jones explained the two main types of phototherapy – the first being a box-shaped incubator with lights in it, the other very similar to a blanket with lights in it that the baby lays on during treatment.
“The current ones have to be connected to batteries or plugged into walls, which makes any sort of bonding difficult,” said Jones.
And thus SnugLit, Jones’s idea, was born – a wearable version of phototherapy that doesn’t need to be plugged in and gives the baby mobility to be held, fed, cuddled or played with.
During school, the trio was simultaneously entering business model competitions with their idea. When they started winning, the project took off on its own.
“We ended up winning a lot of money, as well as services, such as help with marketing,” explained Jones.
After graduating, Jones moved to Salt Lake City to work at Goldman Sachs bank while working part-time on launching the company. In November, Jones moved back to the Lansing area to run TheraB full-time. While she did admit to loving Salt Lake City, she was happy to be running her own company.
The biggest challenge in managing her own company, according to Jones, is figuring out how to know what to do on her own.
“Freedom is so great, but it’s challenging. I have to decide every day, should I be doing A or B? It’s intimidating because you don’t know what will happen, but it’s exciting because I get to impact how things pan out and what will happen in some respects,” she said.
“So many parts of our story, MSU, Sparrow, McLaren and more have
already been a huge part of our story. We look forward to continuing it here