Rachel Francine, Co-Founder and CEO, SingFit
Entrepreneur Rachel Francine, and alumnus of the University of Houston (M.S. Foresight, 2009), was selected for the Everyday Health Awards for Innovation, Healthy Aging category. The Everyday Health Awards for Innovation honor the latest technologies and services dedicated to improving overall health and wellbeing. Finalists were chosen from a panel of expert judges and the winners were selected through a combination of those judges and popular online votes. The Audience Favorite was determined by votes cast at Awards.DigitalHealthSummit.com.
The winners were honored at a live award ceremony at the Digital Health Summit, presented by Living in Digital Times, at the 2015 International CES®, in Las Vegas, January 6-9.
Francine’s company, invented SingFit PRIME, a music therapist designed cognitive and physical stimulation program that incorporates singing, movement, trivia and reminiscence for a fully engaging mind/body workout. SingFit PRIME is powered by a unique mobile app that digitizes the evidenced based speech therapy technique of Lyric Cuing to make a fully immersive, social singing experience possible at a low cost to achieve therapeutic goals. Currently administered in more than 60 senior-living communities, staffers report that residents with dementia experience elevated mood, decreased agitation, decreased wandering and increased quality of life when they participate regularly in a SingFit PRIME group or an individual session.
Rachel earned her undergraduate degree in literature from State University of New York at Purchase, with the vision of becoming a writer at an alternative weekly newspaper. But, she altered her course when the dot.com bubble expanded in the late 1990’s, working for a tech startup on a ten-year journey, riding the bubble until it burst. Through a series of other career transitions, an eventual spiritual journey to Australia, she realized that her dream was to do bigger things to do work that allowed her to influence the future on a grander scale and make long-term change for the better. Her discovery of the University of Houston’s Future Studies program (renamed Foresight) proved to be the perfect launching pad for her goals.
Never having worked in healthcare or the medical field was a big learning curve, but upon reflection, Rachel already had the seed for the idea planted. Her dad invented the idea of a portable music maker in the 1960’s before audio technology became mainstream. Although, her brother who is co-founder, worked as a music therapist, neither had an in-depth medical or healthcare background, which was big learning curve.
"I knew it would be tough to find a job that matched what I felt was my mission in life," Rachel said. I wanted to figure out how to build a profitable business, yet be successful at doing something good for humankind, and create great change that benefits society. I chose the University of Houston to learn about how to create transformative change by going beyond visioning and focusing more on practical application. When people come together from different career perspectives, the possibilities for creating change become more realistic. This is an important distinction about the UH Foresight program - how to apply the principles in real life."
What is Francine’s advice to budding entrepreneurs? Consider graduate education as a means of elevating your stature, seriously think about the future; pick something that you really believe in to work, and be willing to commit at least 7 years to your venture.