It’s not an unfamiliar story: There’s a niche market, which despite its relatively large size, goes unnoticed by most entrepreneurs and investors, because, simply put, it’s not sexy. For this and countless other reasons, as time goes by, legacy models and hardware, fragmentation, and high prices prevail. In short, it begs for new blood, new ideas, and a fresh perspective. The same can be said for countless industries, but it’s especially true for many of the markets within the bloated, backwards beast we know as the health industry.
Case in point: Hearing aids. Of the 27 million Americans who qualify for a hearing device, 75 percent choose not to purchase one — only one in seven Americans over 50 years old who need a hearing aid actually wear one. The problem is a sizable one, so former Stanford University classmates Sam Tanzer and Ross Porter decided to do something about it. In early 2011, they founded a startup called Embrace Hearing to apply some entrepreneurial pressure to the situation.