Health Tech: Hilla Shaviv On How GalsBio’s Technology Can Make An Important Impact On Our Overall…

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Health Tech: Hilla Shaviv On How GalsBio’s Technology Can Make An Important Impact On Our Overall Wellness

I honestly and naively believe that doing good to other people is what, and why we live for. I’m doing lots of activities, including sports, traveling, playing, etc. But the one that gives me the most satisfaction is knowing that I’m working hard to do good to other people.

In recent years, Big Tech has gotten a bad rep. But of course many tech companies are doing important work making monumental positive changes to society, health, and the environment. To highlight these, we started a new interview series about “Technology Making An Important Positive Social Impact”. We are interviewing leaders of tech companies who are creating or have created a tech product that is helping to make a positive change in people’s lives or the environment. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Hilla Shaviv.

Hilla Shaviv is a biomedical engineer, a serial inventor and entrepreneur in the women’s health arena, with more than 20 years of experience in medical device R&D. Over the last 13 years she focused on researching and developing women’s health devices. Hilla’s education and experience concentrated on bio-fluid dynamics where she developed various devices, including a heart assist device, as well as carrying out computational blood flow and in-vitro simulations. Hilla entered the entrepreneur world in 2007 after having founded her first company GalMedics, where she developed a new kind of tampon that treats menstrual pain, based on her own invention. In 2016, she established GalsBio with the goal of developing Tulipon. Hilla earned a BSc from Caltech (Mechanical & Fluid Dynamics Engineering, cum laude) and an MSc from Tel Aviv University (Biomedical Engineering).

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory and how you grew up?

I grew up in a small suburb of Haifa in Israel. I always behaved and looked like a tomboy, preferred playing and running in the streets, as well as climbing on every tree I could find. I used to get very dirty, injure myself, and teared clothing that my mother had to fix. My mother always complained that her younger daughter is wilder than her older brother (currently the CEO of Waze). Being dyslexic made it hard for me to read and write, and the teachers mistreated me as dyslexia was not diagnosed or treated in any way back then. Nonetheless, mathematics, physics, and other STEM subjects came relatively easy to me. Therefore, on average, I was relatively a good student with high grades. Moreover, I was very good at sports from a young age, and I even represented my school in several athletic competitions. That gave me self-esteem, and I was very popular socially.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

One nice story is that we used to have women volunteers testing our new tampon that treated dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain). One of the volunteers was an MD student who came to the study one day crying. She told us that she was kicked from the university since she failed one of her exams, which happened to be during her monthly bleeding. I connected with her professor and told him that she is actually participating in a clinical study since she is experiencing debilitating menstrual pains. As a result of my communication and involvement, she was offered to retake the exam, which she passed in shining colors. And today, she realized her dream of becoming a doctor, helping and treating people. Moreover, we are constantly getting feedbacks from women that cannot wait to have our devices on the market and they are really happy to see a company like Gals Bio that is finally bringing innovation to a field that hardly had any in over a century.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Becoming an entrepreneur and then a CEO after studying and being an engineer was an arduous and lengthy process for me, which is still ongoing. My natural abilities include out-of-the-box thinking, innovation, and integrating data from different arenas. As a CEO my dyslexic disability took a very painful turn, and I had to rely on many people to show me and consult me on my journey. Being a sole entrepreneur, this reality is even more complex. I could have never made it without my endlessly loving and supporting husband, Prof. Nir Shaviv, who always believes in me and helps me in every possible way. Moreover, a few years ago, I finally met my professional match, my CTO Eng. Omer Shizefi who took over the R&D of our device, and for the first time, I had the piece and quiet of knowing that Tulipon is in the right hands. And finally, from the business point of view, I was fortunate to have many mentors. The ones that did the most significant change in me are Keren Leshem (OCON CEO), Erez Gavish (Founder and CEO of 2Breathe), and my board member Dina Niron.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I have two favorite Life lessons quotes: “There is no second chance in the first impression” and “The greatest risk in life is not taking any.” While the first one is quite known and obvious, the second one actually made me change the course of my life and become an entrepreneur pursuing my dreams.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Endless optimism, persistence, and courage — these three traits got me to where I am today. In retrospect, I made many mistakes on my journey. I could have saved myself a lot of time, money, and struggles. However, we all make mistakes all the time. Therefore, the most important thing is to learn from them and to look into the future.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about the tech tools that you are helping to create that can make a positive impact on our wellness. To begin, which particular problems are you aiming to solve?

I aim to solve one of the biggest problems of 51% of the population: women. Women’s health and wellness had been neglected for many years. Research, funding, and innovation were hardly invested in this field except for fertility and pregnancy (where men’s and women’s needs intersect). One example is that there are only three kinds of technologies for handling monthly bleeding; none is holistic and supports the users in all possible aspects. In my opinion, one of the outcomes of this is gender inequality because women are more prone to take a leave of absence only because they do not have the appropriate technology to manage “this time of the month.” This is precisely one of the problems we are trying to solve in Gals Bio. We have developed a new kind of hygiene device, called Tulipon. Tulipon combines the best attributes of the tampon (with an applicator) and the best attribute of the menstrual cup, and we added novel features to provide a holistic solution. Moreover, in the future, Tulipon will enable women to monitor their wellness and health from home noninvasively based on biomarkers available within the monthly bleeding for 40 years of their life. Currently, we have an early bird free samples campaign, where the first 10,000 subscribers will receive free Tulipon devices once it gets to the market: To learn more about Tulipon and the revolution it will bring to women’s wellness and health, visit our website at: HTTP://

How do you think your technology can address this?

Tulipon’s innovative design and technology allows it to be easily used like a tampon with an applicator, but it functions like a menstrual cup with no absorbing materials. This means it can be used for 12 hrs, with no leakage during any activity, day or night. Tulipon is disposable nonetheless, it is made from sustainable materials making it ecologically friendly. Tulipon also has a liquid lock mechanism that keeps the collected liquid inside, preventing the restroom from looking like a murder scene. Moreover, due to its unique design, Tulipon will enable women to monitor their health from home with the accuracy of a lab with the help of a dedicated app.

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

Prior to working on women’s health, my studies and education focused on cardiology and blood flow. When I decided to become an entrepreneur, I made a list of all the ideas I had then, and I started to research each one from the point of view of patents, technology competitors, etc. When I got to women’s health, it was like entering a void when compared to cardiology. There was hardly any published research or patents. That is when I decided that this is the arena I would like to work in and contribute to humanity.

How do you think this might change the world?

The first time women joined the workforce outside their homes was only after the pads were invented at the end of the nineteenth century — Imagine what a huge change this small invention did to the life of women. For the first time, they could work and learn for a whole month and contribute to society and the economy. In Africa, even today, girls who do not have an adequate way to handle their monthly bleeding are forced to leave their studies, get married at a young age, and basically destroy their lives. Tulipon, first as a new kind of a better hygiene device for women, will give them the quiet and security they need during their everyday activities. Moreover, using menstrual effluent to monitor wellness and health will democratize women’s health worldwide. It will make it more accessible and cheap, and diagnostics will be available very early, making treatments much more successful.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

To be honest, I do not. The vaginal cavity is unique in many senses; it contains no nerves and can stretch more than three times its size. In Hebrew, the word vagina means a small purse, something you can carry around easily and put inside vital things. The only drawback I can think of is that people will not realize this, and the field of women’s health would continue to be neglected, not appreciating its large potential.

Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, can you please share “Five things you need to know to successfully create technology that can make a positive social impact”? (Please share a story or an example, for each.)

In order to create new technology with a positive social impact, you need to know many things and be willing to learn all the time. Since none of us are capable of doing everything, you must find the right people to work with. And this by itself is a challenging task. From my experience, it took me more than ten years to meet my CTO, Omer Shezifi. So, patience and persistence are vital. But on top of all that, you have to realize that you are not doing this for the money, thought money is nice, to pursue social impact a person needs values, laser-sharp focus, and internal honesty that are commonly not found in business that are only dealing with making money.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

I honestly and naively believe that doing good to other people is what, and why we live for. I’m doing lots of activities, including sports, traveling, playing, etc. But the one that gives me the most satisfaction is knowing that I’m working hard to do good to other people.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

If I have to choose only one person, I would choose Melinda Gates. I believe that she can be a key person to get involved, as her vision in helping humanity coincides with ours. Nonetheless, I am sure that every strong woman, such as Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, or MacKenzie Scott knows first hand how menstruation can be debilitating but would appreciate that it can be leveraged for women health and wellbeing. The only way women’s health will gain the same attention and funding as men’s related health problems are getting, is if women like the aforementioned will get involved and take lead.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success in your important work.

Health Tech: Hilla Shaviv On How GalsBio’s Technology Can Make An Important Impact On Our Overall… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.