Five Questions With Triogen Founder Tasheika Johnson

Tasheika Johnson understands the negative consequences that inconsistent prescription drug use can have on patients and those around them. Recognizing an opportunity to solve this problem, she created a software designed to keep physicians updated on their chronic disease/mental health patient’s medication adherence, allowing for improved healthcare.

Tasheika is also part of JumpStart’s Core City: Cleveland Impact program, an intensive business assistance program designed to support the development and growth of businesses located within some of Cleveland’s most underserved neighborhoods.

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Tasheika as she shared the inspiration behind her business, what she has learned from pivoting her service into a new industry and her future plans for Triogen.

What inspired you to create your business? Where did the idea come from?
I was inspired while working in the medical industry as a pharmaceutical representative. I spoke with physicians and their staff about providing better patient care. Through those conversations, I identified a huge problem in regard to patient medication adherence, meaning there were problems with patients not taking their prescription medications properly and not picking them up at the pharmacy.

For those that suffer from chronic disease and/or mental health disorders, it’s very important for the physician to have an understanding of a patient’s prescriptions and how they are actually taking their prescribed medication.

I’ve had close family members that were not taking their medications properly, so I’ve witnessed the effect that this has on a family. It’s part of what inspired me to start my company.

How did you connect with the Core City: Cleveland program, and what do you think so far? I was actually seeking funding for my business when a friend advised me to reach out to JumpStart and Lamont Mackley. Lamont has been a great resource, and he introduced me to the Impact program.

What are your future plans for your business?
To grow based on industry needs for chronic disease and/or mental health disorder patients, so that my company can continue to provide care for those patients and physicians that need our assistance.

Are there any unique challenges you feel you’ve had to face as an African American entrepreneur?
I haven’t been faced with any challenges based specifically on my race or my gender. Overall, I feel that the challenges placed in front of an entrepreneur are the ones we place upon ourselves. As long as you focus on your business and believe in the service or product that you’re offering, the sky is the limit.

We ask all the entrepreneurs we speak with to give us examples of failure or setbacks they experienced. Anything come to mind for you?
I’ve had several setbacks, but I don’t necessarily look at them as failures, because they’ve actually helped me with my customer discovery.

Initially, I started my business as a medical supply company and quickly found the competitive bid—which is how medical supply companies are reimbursed—was a threat, because you have to be a contract supplier. It’s very competitive to be a contract supplier, and that was eventually going to hurt my reimbursements.

So, I had to pivot my business, and go into something very different—the technology industry. Even though I have connections and vast knowledge in the medical industry, the technology piece is something that is relatively new to my business. But the customer discovery we did during our period as a medical supply business has actually helped with pivoting into the technology industry within the medical field.

Watch Tasheika’s elevator pitch for Triogen below. To learn more about the Core City: Cleveland program, click here.