Hi there, my name is Spiffy, I’m an interplanetary journalist hanging out on Planet Earth. Today I’m interviewing Souvik Paul, the CEO of Aurie.
Spiffy: It’s nice to have you on the blog today, Souvik. What challenge is Aurie addressing?
Souvik: People living with disabilities have to rely on outdated products for everyday life and the people in charge of designing those products often don't have disabilities themselves. Aurie’s mission is to work with people living with disabilities to co-design products and services that help improve their independence and health. We're starting by building a reusable intermittent catheter system that will help people who need to use single-use intermittent catheters to urinate to gain greater independence and health in their daily lives.
Spiffy: What motivated you to do it?
Souvik: I started this company after my sister-in-law sustained a spinal-cord injury in a car accident. This was my introduction to the world of disability, and all of the problems that people living with disabilities face in daily life.
Spiffy: I’m so sorry about your sister-in-law, but it’s inspiring how proactive your response has been to the lack of daily-life support for those living with disabilities. Could you elaborate on how Aurie is working towards a more equitable world?
Souvik: People living with disabilities are currently being excluded from participation in society, due to reliance on outdated products, inaccessible built environments, and societal stigmas. By developing products that support independence and health, we're helping address part of the factors that lead to the exclusion of people living with disabilities.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent Aurie milestone/initiative and the impact that it makes.
Souvik: We have received the Safer Technologies designation from the FDA based on early test data of our product prototypes. This allows us to collaborate with the FDA much more closely to understand what kinds of testing we'll need to do in order to get our product approved by them.
Spiffy: Congratulations! On the same note, please share an experience when you faced failure and didn't give up. What did you learn from it?
Souvik: The entire experience of building Aurie has been filled with failures! Early on in the process of starting a company, it's really important to get access to grant funding. We were rejected for a full year and a half, over three grant submission cycles—three times in a row—before we were able to receive grant funding.
Spiffy: I wish you and Aurie all the best! Thank you for speaking with me today and giving us all a peek into the important work being done by your company—it’s been an honor,
Souvik (pronounced Soh-vik) Paul is an award-winning industrial designer/design strategist. He holds a BA from Harvard College and an MFA in Products of Design from the School of Visual Arts. Prior to launching Aurie, Souvik was a design strategist at Johnson & Johnson and a trader at JPMorgan in a past life. Souvik started Aurie after his sister-in-law sustained a spinal cord injury in a car accident - he wanted to use his training in human-centered design to help make a difference in her life. (Nominated by Thara Pillai at Launch Lab X Geo. First published on the Ladderworks website on January 7, 2022)
© 2022 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Corner here.