Dan Evans didn’t know he wanted to be an entrepreneur while he was in school, but five years after earning his master’s in biomedical engineering from Duke, he’s helping change the landscape of injury recovery.

Evans is co-founder of RecoverX, a Silicon Valley startup that recently graduated from hardware startup accelerator Highway1.

RecoverX makes a recovery product for knee injuries called Element. Element is an electric cold and hot pack that monitors and maintains the optimum temperature for therapy recovery.

The technology is still in the development stage and has already undergone beta testing. RecoverX is also in the process of raising seed funding and plans to release Element to the market by 2018.

Element can be controlled from the user’s phone and, because it is portable and rechargeable, takes away the hassle of ice packs and heating pads.

After graduating from Duke in 2012, Evans moved to San Francisco and took a job at robotics surgery company Intuitive Surgical. He became familiar with the entrepreneurial ecosystem when his sister started an educational company, but it wasn’t until his roommate introduced him to his co-founder Alex Aguiar that he decided to try his hand at entrepreneurship.

Aguiar was the one with the idea, and Evans was the one with the technical expertise to make it happen. Evans started working on the idea during his nights and weekends in August 2015, and in December of that year he moved to part-time at his job so he could focus more energy on the startup.

But eventually he realized he was happier when he was working on RecoverX, so in June 2016 he took the leap and quit his job. By August of that year, the company was enrolled in Highway1.

Although entrepreneurship is not the career path Evans originally imagined for himself, he said he has learned a lot and is happy he became one.

“I think the thing that appeals to me the most is having such a big impact on the company – it lives and dies with you,” he said. “That’s really fulfilling.”

He advised students to take a risk if they have an idea they love. And if they don’t have an idea but are still interested in being an entrepreneur, Evans said, they should start working at an existing startup.

“If you work at a startup, you get to see the big picture before you focus on the details, which I think is really important,” he said.

RecoverX plans to start with targeting the professional athlete market and let the application of its products spread from there. The company also plans to release similar products for shoulder injuries and lower back pain.

To read about more Duke Entrepreneurs, click here.

By Katie Jansen

Logo for RecoverX