Paula Epure, Co-Founder & CDO of VR-rehab

Paula is one of the founders of VR Rehab which started as a student project over 3 years ago.

She have never had a strong desire to become an entrepreneur, however the moment they tested their first demo with patients something clicked. When she saw their first patients laughing, competing and training hard with our software she realized she was starting a mission.

She is one of the lucky people who found something to believe in and who will work as hard as needed to succeed, Paula and her team believe in healing, recovery, and second chances. They have a mission to improve rehabilitation practices globally and they work daily towards it.

VR Rehab is a medtech company focusing on patient-driven rehabilitation through high-end technologies. We combine innovative technology to create immersive training environments that encourages and supports patients’ independence. We believe in healing and recovery regardless of age and condition and aim to facilitate access for a global patient-driven rehabilitation. Our products support engagingintensive and fun training, in addition to standardized assessment, contributing to increased patient motivation, compliance and independence.

Post brain-damage rehabilitation is demotivating, expensive and using outdated methods.

VirkKit (our first product) is VR software simulator that resembles a home-like environment in which patients can practice activities of daily living – a well-known rehabilitation method. While immersed in the virtual environment patients tend to forget their impairments and are usually more motivated to perform extended physical exercises.

VirKit is addressing rehabilitation of in-patients who has suffered brain damage. It has been developed together with therapists and patients and its combining both physical and cognitive training. VikKit has been tested on primarily stroke patients and results indicated a 12,4% improvement in the fine motor skills when compared to conventional rehabilitation.

1. What is the most important learning you had?

To always stay curious!

I sincerely believe that the only way to grow is to always be curious about everything related to your business. Never assume that you know everything and leave your ego out of it. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and maybe the most important is to simply ask for help. I was surprised by how many people are willing to help when you believe in your mission and you simply ask.

2. Why are you the best to run your company?

Because I want it the most! I have come to believe that entrepreneurship is not about who is the smartest, experienced or richest, is about who wants it the most.

It is about how hungry you are and how much are you willing to risk and push to accomplish your mission. I remember that the first time I participated with VR Rehab in a competition, the only thing going through my mind was: I want to win because I have to! Those were the first 50.000 DKK we won and put into the company. That was the moment in which I had to prove myself and the team that we were serious about this. And I made sure that everyone in that room knew that we meant business.

Professionally speaking I hold a MSc in Medialogy, Interaction Design, was a freelancer graphic designer and have a background in Management and Marketing. I am design oriented and people oriented. I love to design and develop tech solutions that works simply and efficiently. But most importantly I am fascinated by people and experiences.

3. Would you recommend other women to start their own company and why

I have actually already started to take more initiative in promoting entrepreneurship among women. I grew up being told that a woman with a successful career is there on the ground of only two reasons: she doesn’t have a family and work is everything for her or she has been put there by a man who is in a romantic relationship with. Both of these assumptions are terribly wrong and the results of this mindset can be seen in the numbers of women entrepreneurs compared with the men.

I am grateful to live in a time where things are evolving and where women are taking the place they deserve in this world. I believe that we have an emotional and emphatic nature that can change the way we do businesses today.

I will recommend to everyone to start their own business, regardless of their professional field and experience. There’s nothing in this world that can help you learn more about your profession and yourself than being an entrepreneur.

 

4. What is your best tip to staying healthy and productive while you are running a startup?

This question gives me the chills as I am still working on it. I have never been one of those people who go to the gym regularly, sleep 8 hours per night and have mostly a plant-based diet. In my world, deadlines, development and growth overtake sometimes my physical needs. And sometimes I do run to the first fast-food and grab a burger, and sit 10-12 hour on my chair while designing, writing or planning.

However, I am always aware of my limits. And I know how to take care of myself.  For example, we had a very important deadline at the beginning of February for which I had worked days and weekends continuously. When the deadline was met I took one recovery day in which I relaxed and breath back to normal. I have very intense periods of work but I compensate them with more relaxed days in my pursuing of a balance.

My best advice is take time to know yourself and do whatever works for you! You are allowed to do whatever makes you comfortable from binging on Netflix to painting and practicing calligraphy for relaxing (that’s usually my range).

5. What is the biggest mistake you have made?

My biggest mistake was that I didn’t believe more in myself.

When VR Rehab was still a student project I had many ups and down on whether to start a company or not. I immigrated to Denmark 5 years ago and close to finishing my studies I was in the position to choose between my dream and financial security. I was wise enough to choose my dream because I kept thinking of the joy of each patient training with our VR solution. Now, in retrospective I think that VR Rehab could have been growing faster if I haven’t hesitated in the beginning. However, this thought is pushing me daily to achieve more and to be even hungrier.

6. What is your best advice to future entrepreneurs?

Trust yourself enough to make it happen! Be open and receptive to ideas that contradicts yours! It is always about the

balance on what to push forward and what to discard. Be versatile and talk about your idea with everyone you meet! Speak from the heart and find something that you truly believe in, in this manner you will never sound like you are trying to sell but merely show a better way.

Don’t cry too much over your failures and prepare for the most extraordinary journey that you can take in your life!

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