Meet the South Florida founders developing a ‘smart’ bedpan

Doral-based Neowe wins a national “most fundable” award for its medical device innovation

A team of enterprising Doral-based founders has developed a bedpan to improve patients’ quality of life while saving medical providers money.

Michelle Marshall and André Campbell are respectively CEO and Chief Strategy Officer of Neowe Research & Development, Inc., a Doral-based startup that develops innovative tech products in the healthcare space. Last week, the startup achieved gold status as a part of the 2021 Most Fundable Companies List, awarded by Pepperdine University’s Graziadio Business School. The competition attracted entries from over 3,300 early-stage companies across the country.

The company’s flagship product, Ouipan, is a bedpan made for the 21st century. The innovative nature of the product stems partially from its unique, more comfortable design, and partially from its built-in sensors that collect and share data about the user’s wellbeing.

The inspiration for developing Ouipan came from when Marshall visited a hospital in her capacity as a co-owner of a wound care company. She told Refresh Miami that she was shocked to learn that “33% of all hospital acquired pressure injuries occur in the buttocks and sacral area,” often coming from patients’ use of bedpans.

According to Marshall (pictured above), this is many hospitals’ dirty little secret: “They just sweep it under the rug. No one talks about it, but it happens all the time.” She explained that there is no real way for patients to defend themselves, since successful litigation over issues caused by bedpans is unlikely.

The Ouipan has an ergonomic design and comes equipped with a biodegradable, flushable bag. From a tech perspective, the Ouipan is kitted out with the latest and greatest in Internet of Things sensors. It boasts a real-time alert system, which automatically analyzes samples and can trigger alerts through the app if appropriate. It has a pressure-sensing cushion that notifies users as soon as a potential irritation is identified, reducing the likelihood of injury. And it securely saves all this data, enabling medical professionals to glean a more holistic picture of a patient’s health.

André Campbell, Chief Strategy Officer of Neowe.

On top of improving the patient experience and delivering better outcomes, the Neowe team asserts that the Ouipan will reduce costs. “30% of patients that are admitted to a hospital end up on a bedpan,” Campbell noted. That translates to millions of Americans using bedpans at any given time. The US government projects that the population aged 65 and older will expand to 83.7 million people by 2050 – a significant increase from the 54.1 million Americans 65 and older in 2019. This demographic shift means “the device is going to be needed even more,” in Campbell’s estimations.

The company was founded in 2018 and is pre-revenue. At the moment, they are working on prototypes for their minimum viable product; however, they have already entered talks with a handful of medical providers, including the University of Miami Health Systems and Jefferson Health. 

Neowe is seeking funding opportunities, having applied to the National Science Foundation for grant money, as well as having been approached by some private investors.

Currently, Neowe has a three-person core team on top of a board of directors, scientific advisory board, and a smattering of consultants. Campbell said that they plan to scale the company a bit further when they manage to secure more funding.

View Neowe’s 2-minute pitch here. A Broward company also was one of 16 national “Most Fundable” winners. We’ll be spotlighting that company soon — but suffice it to say that winner has a cool innovation on a key element of South Florida’s quality of life. You can read about all 16 companies here.

Photo at the top of the post is Michelle Marshall, CEO of Neowe Research & Development. Photos provided by Neowe.


Riley Kaminer