Meet the Innovator: Jessie Garcia, CEO & Founder of Tozuda
Pennovation Works is home to an exciting mix of startups, research initiatives, and innovative companies. In this new series, we will be introducing you to a member of the Pennovation Works community through a Q&A spotlight.
Our first spotlight is with Jessie Garcia, CEO & Founder of Tozuda. Tozuda is a manufacturing company that develops safety products for sports and industrial applications. Their mission is to make safety assessments simple and accessible both in the game and on the job. Their flagship product, the Tozuda Head Impact Indicator, is a device that attaches to any helmet and indicates when a hit may cause a head injury. After a significant impact and a visible change of color, all their users have to remember is, if it's RED, check your head.™ Tozuda is a member of the Pennovation Center, where they have had an office since February 2020.
What inspired you to start Tozuda and how long have you been operating?
As a collegiate rugby player, my coach didn't recognize the signs and symptoms of my concussion and let me keep playing. As a result, I suffered post-concussive symptoms for six months. When I went to find a device on the market that would have alerted me to my injury, I simply couldn't afford the $200 impact sensing mouthguard that was available. Out of frustration with my own injury, I became dedicated to making head injury awareness more affordable to all people. We began our research in development in 2013 and haven't looked back.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
We received our first testimonial from a hockey coach in upstate NY who purchased our product. When Coach McKenna said that he believed in our device and thanked us because it helped him actively assess one of his athletes with a concussion which allowed him to get them to a doctor for diagnosis. It made all of our years of hard work and effort worth it because our product was helping our users as intended.
If there was one thing you would want someone to know about Tozuda what would it be?
Tozuda wouldn't be possible without our amazing team members whose backgrounds and diligent efforts have helped make this idea a reality. You can purchase your own head impact sensor today on our website, Tozuda.com!
Do you have any key mentors or people who have deeply influenced you?
I'm incredibly grateful to my parents and family, who immigrated into the US from Cuba to give our family a better opportunity. Their sacrifices, resilience, and work ethic motivates me to keep fighting for Tozuda and solving problems day after day.
What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?
I love a great hike on a new trail; exploring the outdoors always re-centers me and provides a new adventure.
Fall - love the changing of the leaves, football season, and great weather for hiking!
What music gets you through the tough days?
Reggaeton and a little bit of cafecito, can help you get through anything :)
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A lawyer, an artist, and a politician lol Definitely pivoted from that one!
Early bird gets the worm or burning the midnight oil?
Burning the midnight oil
Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?