Cleveland-based thermal imaging company looks for a new start at CES

Hema Imaging heads to Vegas with a new product and the tools they need to move past previous setbacks

Katie Wieser, Executive Editor

We all know there are many obstacles to entrepreneurial success. But sometimes an obstacle can be a blessing in disguise. Hema Imaging has had a few setbacks. After going through changes in product expectations and business strategy, the company was unable to meet their lofty goal of $205,000 in their first Kickstarter for the HemaImager last August. Since that time, however, founder and creator Erik Beall came to realize that meeting the goal would have created a very different challenge for the young company.

A month after his crowd sourcing attempt, another company created a similar product with higher resolution and a lower price point. If the HemaImager had been successfully funded and launched, there’s a good chance the company would have been in real trouble. As it is, Hema Imaging is still working away at a new product, the HemaVision, and a new campaign for development and funding that will be getting a huge boost during the International Consumer Electronics Show from January 6 to 9 in Las Vegas.

In 2012, Beall was beginning to develop his original idea of a simple thermal imager that could interface with a cell phone or another device to allow homeowners and industries to quickly and easily manage equipment and household conditions. As a MRI researcher at Cleveland Clinic with an advanced degree in particle physics, he may not seem like your traditional entrepreneur. And indeed he is not. As a new parent, Beall had studied the link between body temperature and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and wanted a way to monitor his young daughter’s temperature throughout the day and night. This renewed a passion for thermal imaging and Hema Imaging was conceptualized. His daughter grew up, but the device began to take on a life of its own with the concept of an imager as a smartphone attachment. Once the device took shape, he also gained a business partner in his wife, Courtney Beall.

Courtney had earned her Master’s in Business Administration from Case Western Reserve University with an undergraduate focus in marketing. As Erik developed the HemaImager, she realized that a business strategy and marketing plan would be critical to getting the company off the ground. Courtney helped Erik understand the nature of crowd funding and the work needed to display a sellable product. With her help and the assistance of their third partner, engineer Mehrdad Ramazanali, Erik was able to present the HemaImager at several trade shows and get additional input from local and national investors, industry professionals and fellow entrepreneurs.

At CES, Hema Imaging is looking to take the next step. Courtney heard about the opportunity to attend the show as a part of CWRU’s Blackstone Launchpad coalition earlier this year and urged the team to present. Though the company is undergoing a transition in regards to their product, the team is looking to make new connections and gain valuable insight about the industry during the show. They’ll also be making final decisions on their suppliers and networking with potential new customers.

It has been a long road for Hema Imaging. Erik had an idea and at this point he knows that he needs to stay true to his vision. With the support and coordination of so many who have contributed to the company’s success, Hema Imaging is hoping to develop a product that blends science and engineering with a market sensibility. With HemaVision comes the hope that all of the obstacles and redirections have led the team to the product that only a group with these dynamic skills could create.