Elyse Stoltz Dickerson is big on solving problems. And she has solved some big ones in her six and a half years as CEO and co-founder of Eosera Inc.
It is a female-led biotech business that addresses unmet medical needs in the over-the-counter healthcare market. Drawing on her extensive experience, seeking input from key advisers and hustling like crazy, she has navigated rugged terrain and has her products in 13,000 stores across the US.
She has more than two decades of experience leading teams in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. She managed portfolios with annual revenues of $1.7 billion and drove product innovation and the commercialization of numerous technologies across the globe.
Elyse holds a BA from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. Additionally, she completed The Integral Leadership Program and The Advanced Leadership Program at the Stagen Leadership Academy. Elyse, married with two children, resides in Fort Worth. She is also a life-long athlete and has completed marathons, triathlons and an Ironman.
Eosera, Inc. focuses on products in the ear care and nasal care spaces, and is constantly innovating to produce effective products manufactured in the U.S. All of its products, from earwax impaction, ear itch, ear hygiene and ear irrigation to nasal care products for babies and adults, creates treatments with the customer in mind.
“My business partner, Joe (Griffin), and I noticed that ear care was a category ripe for disruption and there were plenty of unmet needs in the space. We got to work in the lab, formulating the products and doing tests and a clinical trial,” Elyse said. “After we found an effective product, we built an entire brand of ear care and nasal care products.”
EARWAX MD, its first product, dissolves ear wax in as fast as 15 minutes, compared to the leading brand that takes days to simply soften the wax. EARWAX MD is the first clinically proven effective ear wax remover on the market and is coveted by patients and doctors alike.
Among Eosera’s numerous industry awards, (including ranking No. 1 in Fort Worth and number 25 in Texas on Inc. magazine’s 2021 Inc. 5000 Regional List) Elyse’s personal accolades for her leadership and service are numerous. Most recently, in 2021, the Dallas Business Journal named Elyse one of the Most Inspiring Leaders and Dallas Innovates named her a finalist for The Innovation Awards. In 2020, Fort Worth, Inc named her Top 400 Most Influential People, D CEO included her in Dallas 500, and PharmaVOICE awarded her in their top 100. She was also awarded Fort Worth Entrepreneur of Excellence, Healthcare Innovator for 2020, and named Bionorth Texas 2020 iC3® Rising Star!. Elyse is a polished public speaker and gives inspiring presentations to large groups around the world. In addition, Elyse authors many articles related to business, including being a repeating Forbes contributor.
But how did she get to that point? She mentioned that one of the most important things she has learned is to not go at it alone.
“I have Joe, who I can share my ups, downs, frustrations, and joy with. Our business partnership is the foundation of the company and sets the precedent for how the company should do business and treat people,” she said. “I also learned that it’s okay to ask for help. People want to help you, and often they come out of the woodwork to assist you in achieving your dreams.”
She encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to step through the “fear.”
“Often, fear is what holds us back from so much—from starting a business, launching a product, or selling a pitch,” she said. “Once you step through that fear and try anyway, you’ll be amazed at what you learn and how much you grow.”
When it comes to character traits that Elyse finds to be important, she points to positivity and bravery as penultimate. “Keeping seemingly hopeless situations at least a little optimistic and approaching each challenge with bravery allows for a kind of confidence that is hard to replicate,” Elyse said.
Want to meet her? She will be at our Impact Showcase & Awards March 3, 2022 along with many other tech startup founders. Register now >>
Below, Elyse and Joe share some insights and thoughts behind some of their business decisions.
What successes and/or problems have you experienced while scaling?
We’ve grown tremendously since putting product on the market in 2017. We’ve hired, innovated, and stayed agile in giving the market what it needs. That’s not to say there haven't been issues. Finding the right location to manufacture and warehouse products has proved difficult. As we continue to grow, the space and equipment we need now may not be what we need next year. Additionally, leases tend to require you to take around 100,000 square feet and office space. There was no in-between, flexible growth space for a company like us that is warehousing and manufacturing product. We were lucky to find such a great space that fits our current needs.
How Elyse’s and Joe's jobs have changed during the years?
Our jobs have changed over the years as we grow and hire. At the beginning, we did everything. As we scale and hire smart people and empower them to do a lot of the day-to-day work, we are available to focus on strategy and big picture ideas. We’re at the stage now that there’s still a lot of day-to-day, but we’re spending more of our time on growth and strategy.
Your vision for the next 5 years? Building? Acquisitions? Acquired?
Eosera’s vision is to provide premium technology and innovation to improve human health. Eosera aims to be a house of healthcare brands that target different categories for which there are unmet medical needs. We started and expanded in ear care and nasal care, but we know there are other categories that need addressing. While we innovate and create new products, we always stay true to our core values and put people before profits.
Are you still raising funds or self-sustaining?
We are self-sustaining. We raised a total of $2 million in the early years, and then became profitable after 12 months on the market. Now, we pour profits back into sustaining the growth of the business.
The importance of mentorship and how you give back?
“Mentorship is extremely important,” Elyse said. “I take a special interest in mentoring women and girls who are interested in STEM and business. I love to partner with YWLA, a local girls’ school, to provide internships to some students in the engineering track. I proudly practice conscious capitalism and put people before profits. I empower my employees to have a hand in shaping the internships and allowing the girls to learn how a biotech company like ours operates.
“Additionally, during 2020 we hosted a feminine care drive for those who lost their jobs due to COVID and could not afford feminine care. We partnered with big brands like Always and Lola, as well as people in the community, to give thousands and thousands of feminine care products to those in our community that need it. In 2019, we gave Braden Baker, a then 13-year-old kid, $10K worth of EARWAX MD product to help his mission trips where he travels the world and cleans out and fits the ears of those who need hearing aids but can’t afford them.