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Ouragins CEO Shaun Veran on Giving Back to Healthcare Professionals

Introduction

You’d be hard-pressed to find a medical uniform more iconic than the scrub. Starting out in operating rooms in the 1950s, scrubs quickly became the clothing of choice for medical professionals of every specialty. They’re lightweight, easy to clean, and can even be antimicrobial to fight the spread of disease. 

Ouragins has updated and improved the traditional scrub. Its design features copper threading and advanced antimicrobial technology to help fight bacterial spread in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. We spoke with CEO Shaun Veran about how Ouragins is taking scrubs into the future and how the company is giving back to its most loyal customers.

Note: This interview was conducted over phone and email. It has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Zee Zhong

In your own words, how would you describe Ouragins?

Shaun Vera

Ouragins is a science-driven scrubs company that is delivering the next generation of antimicrobial scrubs for a post-pandemic clinical setting. All of our products are heavily validated by third-party laboratories, have been shown to kill 99% of germs like MRSA, and are 4x more effective at reducing microbes compared to the leading competitor. 

Zee Zhong

What inspired you to take the leap and start this company?

Shaun Vera

The pandemic revealed just how fragile our healthcare system is with hospital-acquired infections spiking dramatically. Effective antimicrobial scrubs have been shown to curb the spread of these infections, yet the incumbent scrub manufacturers use an antiquated antimicrobial technology that was designed for the gym, not the clinic. 

This market need can be solved by the advanced antimicrobial technologies that we have been pioneering since 2017. So we developed Ouragins as an extension of our existing brand, OURA.

Zee Zhong

Who is on your team and how did you come together?

Shaun Vera

Ouragins is a spin-off from OURA, a brand that is worn by tens of thousands and has been featured in dozens of publications. Our team has an extensive background with launching, operating, and managing e-commerce direct to consumer brands, having grown OURA to seven figures in revenue. Lean but incredibly effective, the team includes several successful founders in a range of fields. With the existing infrastructure, our operations can quickly scale to accommodate the growth of Ouragins.

Zee Zhong

How is Ouragins transforming the healthcare apparel industry?

Shaun Vera

We are challenging the healthcare apparel industry in two significant ways — our technology and our business model. Our revolutionary copper-based ThreadFusion technology is more effective, durable, and environmentally friendly than the outdated silver finishings that are widely used by the industry today. 

However, our business model is what really sets us apart. We are proud to be the first company to give our customers a stake in the company simply for shopping. The ultimate loyalty program, our ownership economy gives our customers a chance to profit from buying the scrubs that they already have to purchase for work. 

Zee Zhong

What does the competitive landscape look like, and how do you differentiate?

Shaun Vera

There are several competitors in the space, ranging from low-cost, bulk-order scrubs to the ultra-luxury brands. However, they all fail to deliver the protection that healthcare professionals require in a post-pandemic environment. Even with the additional manufacturing cost of our premium technologies, Ouragins is settled in the middle of this range. 

In a sea of scrub companies that give back to the medical community with charitable causes, we differentiate ourselves by giving back to our customers directly with stock in the company. 

This is something that our competitors will find hard to replicate given their corporate structure, which prioritizes profits above all else. As a benefit corporation, our level of stock incentives is baked into our business. 

Zee Zhong

Can you share how the ownership economy works in Ouragins?

Shaun Vera

Popularized by cryptocurrency, the ownership economy refers to any economic system in which the user is also an owner. As a business to consumer business, this takes the form of stock in the company. 

Healthcare professionals have given so much of themselves to our communities, and we believe that they deserve a piece of the company that they are helping to build. That’s why we are offering them a stake in the company, simply for shopping. Once customers hit an annual spending goal, they will receive stock in the brand. 

We are the first consumer-based company to offer stock to its customers at these levels — we have set aside 50% of the company’s equity for our customers. At Ouragins, we believe that our customers deserve a stake in the company for helping to grow the business.

Zee Zhong

How do you intend to use the money you raise this round to scale the business?

Shaun Vera

The funds raised from this offering will be used to expand our product portfolio, bring on new hires, and improve our technology infrastructure to track the stock that customers receive.

Zee Zhong

What do you want potential investors to know about you and/or your company?

Shaun Vera

While the products that we sell are scrubs, Ouragins is first and foremost a science company. As a microbiologist and founder, I have an extensive background in biotechnology where I was involved in all aspects of the product development lifecycle (ideation, R&D, launch, marketing, and management). Additionally, we have key thought leaders on our scientific advisory board with decades of experience in infectious diseases, immunology, and genetic research. We are bringing a higher scientific standard to the scrubs industry. 

Zee Zhong

As you think about the business five to 10 years down the road, what do you see exit opportunities looking like? Have you set any future goals for the company?

Shaun Vera

The ownership economy that we are pioneering allows us to create immense value for our customers. We are turning our customers into partners who we believe will be more invested in the product development cycle than the average customer. This creates an engaged community that gives us unique insights into the mindset of our audience. 

Our intention is to exit via initial public offering once we attain a sufficient valuation. Since we are pioneering such a disruptive business model, our goal is to create a roadmap for other companies to follow our lead and fundamentally shift the relationship between companies and consumers.

Zee Zhong

As a minority and underrepresented founder, what difficulties have you encountered working on your company? What advice would you give to minority founders?

Shaun Vera

As a minority founder, we face more challenges compared to our institutional counterparts. We have had to be more innovative and work more diligently simply to gain access to the right networks. But honestly, this just drives us to push that much harder to get the resources that we need to grow the business. 

At the end of the day, we are hyper-focused on our mission to bring the next-generation of scrubs to healthcare professionals at a time when they desperately need it. 

For other minority founders, my advice would be to stay focused on your product and your business model while delivering value for your customers. It is not easy pushing back against the status quo, but if you believe in your vision and can build the momentum around your brand, doors will start to open. Also, don’t be afraid to think outside the box — there are so many ways to grow a business. In our case, keeping an open mind about our funding opportunities is what led us to equity crowdfunding, and we have already raised more than $250,000 between two offerings.

We look forward to seeing where Shaun and his team take the company. Ouragins is currently raising capital on Rialto Markets.

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