Gaining Strength From Adversity - GRIT Ed. 8 | The Relentless Pursuit - Magazine - Page 9
Gaining Strength From Adversity
Founder & CEO of DOT Inc.
Next A.I. (Montreal), 2019
ou will find all sorts of embellished descriptions for an entrepreneur that
come up in a Google search, including terms like passion, resilience,
confidence, flexibility, vision. However, for the Founder & CEO of DOT
Inc., Yishel Khan, the most important and common trait is eccentricity.
Let’s be honest here for a second; you’ll have to be a ‘little crazy’ to be
willing to blow through all your savings, give up sleep for days, halt your social life
altogether, give up your day job, and any and every sense of security. So why do it?
Yishel wishes she had an answer for that, but the truth is she doesn’t.
“I just know this is what I want, and I will do what it
takes to make it happen. It becomes an obsession after
a point. And that obsession is the relentless pursuit.”
Yishel has taught children with mental disorders all around the world. After
graduating as an electrical engineer from McGill University, she was planning
on going to medical school to pursue neurology. However, a few months
after graduating, she took part in a 48-hour hackathon
challenge and made a software application for
autistic children. She ended up winning several
awards, and there was a lot of excitement
around what she was doing. Soon after,
Yishel started working on forming a
company around this idea without
realizing it. She realized that by
medicine, she could help
people on a larger scale. It was
with this goal in mind that she
DOT’s vision is to make
mental health therapies
across the world more
effective and measurable.
It is a wearable headset
uses artificial intelligence to
predict different mental health
Albert Einstein said, “Imagination
is more important than knowledge.
For knowledge is limited, whereas
imagination embraces the entire world,
MARCH 2022 | NEXTCANADA.COM
stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”
Yishel echoes this, believing reality is as limited as one’s imagination.
For Yishel, starting was like swimming in the ocean without goggles. With
no background in business, being a part of several accelerators
and incubators helped equip her with the knowledge
she needed to launch her venture. “I like
to call them condensed MBA degrees.
More importantly, the networking
opportunity and mentors I now have
on board helped me become who
I am today.”
challenge for Yishel as
DOT is also a hardware
certain checklist items
need to be ticked off
before you can begin
raising funds with a
And as a female
“Women tend to
need to learn to be
more confident and
comfortable with all we
have accomplished. This
is something I am still
Despite a strong wave of
business world is still maledominated, claims Yishel. Women-led
startups face more challenges in raising
funds. Another trend she often witnesses is
women being more conservative and risk-averse
when making business projections. While this may
create a better risk-adjusted return for the business, it can also hurt during
the capital-raising process.
Taking risks is a crucial part of Yishel’s entrepreneurial journey. The most
significant difference in outcome stems from whether these risks are
uneducated or calculated. And in today’s information-saturated world, it is
hard to come up with excuses for being uninformed about the risks involved.
Despite the inherently uncertain nature of the entrepreneurial journey, risks
can be highlighted, and a contingency plan developed. That is how Yishel
deals with unexpected hurdles.
Despite the risks and the constantly evolving landscape of startups, Yishel
aims to use a data-driven approach to mental health. She and her team have
been perfecting their algorithms for over three years by privately testing
on more than 300 individuals and formulated DOT using extensive clinical
research and medical expertise.
The current status quo of the healthcare system has shifted from caring for
one’s health to disease management. We tend to look for an easy solution
without understanding the root cause.
“Let’s take the example of stress. Sure, I can alter my body’s response
by taking a prescribed pill or even consuming alcohol to feel better.
Alternatively, I could change my brainwave activity and learn to
consciously control my body’s response. The latter obviously
takes a lot longer but addresses the issue at its core.”
Medicine should be personalized to cater to every
individual rather than treating the masses. Yishel
believes change is long overdue in this
field, and she is determined to make
better technology available and
accessible to all.
Every time Yishel puts a
headset on an individual
she can accurately
access their mental
For instance, in a
clinical setting, the
accuracy of predicting
‘lack of focus’ using 30
sensors is close to 97%.
DOT has developed enhanced
algorithms to diagnose, monitor,
and treat inattentiveness with just
5-6 sensors and attained similar results using
Yishel and DOT are now in the process of fundraising to
complete their research and development, refine the headset
further, apply for FDA Approval and launch in North America.
:Entrepreneurship is an exciting roller coaster ride, with more lows than highs.
You better be obsessed with the final destination of where you’re headed
because it’s going to be a long LONG ride.
During the pandemic, the DOT Team was actively spreading awareness regarding
COVID19 through campaigns and helped the lower socio-economic groups.
They also released a free app to help people cope with stress and anxiety, called
Breathe. “BREATHE is your free guide to a happier
mindset. Don’t worry if you have no experience
with meditation or breathing techniques. We
guide you through the very basics.”
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