CEO of Failed Company on What Went Wrong

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Gregory Mattes is a 2014 IU Kelley School of Business MBA graduate. Gregory Mattes is a 2014 IU Kelley School of Business MBA graduate.
BLOOMINGTON -

The former chief executive officer of a failed health technology company is talking about reasons why the business didn't make it. During our monthly INnovators With Dr. K segment, Greg Mattes of now-defunct Analog Computing Solutions said a key factor was underestimating the process to get products to market.

"When I got into the company, I understood how the technology worked, but I didn't have a good appreciation for how much work it was going to take to get that technology to the state of commercialization." Indiana University Jack M. Gill Distinguished Chair of Entrepreneurship Donald "Dr. K" Kuratko says there are "3 R's" for entrepreneurs working their way back from a failed venture.

Analog Computing Solutions created technology that worked with hearing aids and prosthetic devices. It received support from the National Institutes of Health and in 2014, was named winner of IU's annual Building Entrepreneurs in Software and Technology competition, which carried $100,000 in start-up funding.

Mattes said, in the end, the company ran out of money due to several reasons, including struggling to find a "product/market fit." He said "we were trying to sell our technology for people that wanted to interpret signals to the central nervous system." The company was doing that, but the problem Mattes says? "They just didn't want to do it exactly the way we were doing it, so we just weren't able to find that marriage."

Mattes says the biggest challenge was letting down employees.

Dr. K's prescription for dealing with the effects of an unsuccessful business is:

1. Reality- Failure is perceived: People attach certain costs to it, which may not be real.

2. Recognition- There are emotions generated by failure: We grieve.

3. Recovery- A grief recovery process: Loss orientation, restoration orientation and "oscillation," a dual process.

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