For Charlie Davidson, the current pandemic has come with a lot of change, even more so than the direct impact of COVID-19 itself. Having moved to Kansas City from Texas in December 2019, Charlie knew that it was a step, but didn’t know that it would turn into a leap.
“I worked in home health for the state of Missouri when I first moved here, but the risk of COVID-19 became too much”, she says.
This led to her picking up work with her partner’s start-up and homeschooling her partner’s two children during the stay-at-home order, two things she had never even imagined doing before. But it was these experiences that led her to pursue her own start-up tech business, with the help of Block Knowledge.
“Both of my partner’s kids are “high-risk” and struggle with sensory processing issues. Touch, sight, and sounds all can overwhelm them, so there is a lot of keeping track of what’s happening day-to-day and sharing that with their pediatricians at doctor’s appointments.”
However, Charlie realized how hard it was to keep track of the little things, like when a child had an outburst or what behaviors occurred after starting a new medication or occupational therapy regimen. It was this realization that led to the creation of The Beehavior Tracker.
“A lot of times, you might write down an observation or concern on a piece of paper, but with everything going on in life, you might lose that note or forget about it when the next appointment comes around. I wanted something that was accessible and could help keep our doctors in the loop at each appointment.”
The Beehavior Tracker is an app that patients and parents can use to keep track of behavior changes, medication dosages, outbursts, mood swings, and much more. Since most people have their phone on them at all times, the application concept makes it easier to note when these things happen in the moment, and compare them to previous behaviors. Additionally, at the next doctor’s appointment, patients and parents can share what has happened since the last visit and document both minor and major changes or incidents that may affect a patient’s behavior and moods.
Charlie had this idea but had no idea how to implement it. With a background in nonprofits and healthcare, she had no knowledge of the tech industry or how to create her own application. That’s where Block Knowledge came in.
“My partner heard about the class and told me to sign up the day before it began. About 20 minutes after submitting my application, I had a call from Quest. The past five months have just been a whirlwind and a crash course in tech and start-ups.”
Initially, Charlie was hesitant to pursue a career in the tech industry, due to how limited diversity was in the field. From her perspective, tech was a white, cis, hetero male-dominated industry. Block Knowledge was a breath of fresh air, focusing on propping up the community, especially people who historically haven’t been represented in the field of tech start-ups and entrepreneurship. Getting involved with Block Knowledge has taught Charlie this: the tech field can be for anybody.
“I don’t think a lot of people know that, but it’s an industry with a lot of opportunities, you just have to grasp it. With Block Knowledge, there are so many people to help you along the way.”
When asked about her experience in the Block Knowledge Builders Program, focusing on the Product Development MVP Bootcamp course, Charlie was grateful for the connections she was able to make while learning everything she needed to know about starting a business in tech. Charlie has successfully obtained a career at a local startup Stenovate as a Jr. Product Owner.
“One big thing Block Knowledge has done is to grow my Linkedin universe. I moved here knowing no one. It’s been great meeting people and especially getting to know my cohort. I’ve loved seeing all of the people in my class and their creations and their passion, like Jonaie and her automated AI dog crate Interplay? You go girl!”
But Charlie isn’t done yet and is enamored with the fact that there is still so much she can learn as she continues on this journey.
“With Block Knowledge, it’s never been about ‘What have you done?’, it’s always been about ‘What CAN you do?’”
Having had the opportunity to pitch to VCs and other self-made tech entrepreneurs, Charlie has gotten a lot of feedback and constructive advice for The Beehavior Tracker. Plans for version two include finding a way to chart behavior trends on a graph for easy review and comparison, including links to resources for common behaviors or actions, and expanding the platform to allow tracking for other health concerns, such as anxiety and depression.
When asked what she would tell people who are considering moving forward with an idea for a tech product, Charlie highlighted the wide array of support and resources available for those who are just starting out.
“It’s not as overwhelming as it seems, there is a lot of community in the tech industry in KC and there are a lot more people willing to mentor you than any other field. There’s something in tech for everyone. Writers? Designers? I thought it was all people sitting at computers and writing code, but it isn’t. The biggest thing is that once you get a foot in the door, it’s easy to help lift up other people.”
Block Knowledge’s Startup Studio is a Kansas City-based venture builder sponsored by JP Morgan & Chase, Kapor Center, and Kauffman Foundation. In the past five years, Block Knowledge has worked to support, incubate, and launch more than 102 companies. Block Knowledge has assisted these companies in locating an additional $5 million in funding through local funds, grants, angel investors, and community resources. We have assisted one founder in exiting their company through a Merger & Acquisition.
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