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Hidden Gems: Meet Manos Phoundoulakis of EZEC

Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrew DeMarco and Manos Phoundoulakis. They and their team share their story with us below:”

Andy, a jeweler with 35 years of experience, has a small custom jewelry design studio. The studio was located in the Cherry Creek North Shopping District for 20 years before relocating to the Golden Triangle neighborhood, where EZEC, Inc. is currently headquartered. The idea for EZEC® came to Andy Demarco (Founder) in 2013. While out on a training run for an ultra-marathon, Andy tripped and lost consciousness. After coming to, slightly worse for wear, he found his way home. While retelling the story to running friends days later, he was met with gasps and pleas to get an ID bracelet. After surveying the options, he knew that he could come up with something better, and the seed for EZEC® was planted.

As Andy was preparing to launch a line of smart EZEC® jewelry, he was involved in a car accident that resulted in a serious neck and traumatic brain injury. Unable to think clearly in the immediate aftermath, he could not articulate that he needed medical assistance and was allowed to drive home, narrowly avoiding another disaster on the way.

After 20 procedures on his neck and hundreds of hours of physical and cognitive therapy over several years, he slowly regained his mental focus and clarity. With renewed urgency, he began to work on EZEC once again, recognizing that the simple step of alerting his emergency contacts would have removed him from peril and gotten him much-needed medical attention in the immediate aftermath of his injury.

Manos comes from a family steeped in jewelry, entrepreneurship, and innovation. A native of Greece who moved to the United States as a child, he witnessed his father and uncles build successful businesses in the jewelry industry from nothing. Following their example, but finding his own path, Manos spent years working with fine jewelry and rare gems in sales and business development for multiple award-winning designers.

Manos Phoundoulakis (Co-Founder) met Andy in 2018 at a Gemology Networking event. Over the next year, Andy and Manos worked on several projects and developed a friendship. In the early days of the pandemic, despite still struggling with an inability to clearly communicate, Andy relayed his story and ideas to Manos.

Manos, a Type 1 diabetic, quickly grasped the concept and importance of the idea and reached back out to Andy. With Manos’s unique but overlapping skillset he had some ideas that would make EZEC® an even greater solution for medical ID. In April 2020, the collaboration began. These are the experiences that drive their desire to create a new standard of Medical ID for the 21st century.

Now we are a team of 7 (including a HIPAA Compliance Officer) plus a group of several incredible advisors building and operating an impactful startup. Our launch was this past June at the JCK – Jewelry Show, where we began our collaborations with jewelry designers.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The biggest struggles have been trying to figure out how to incorporate a seamless solution from taking a jewelry design, to incorporating secure technology with a dynamic, user-friendly software suite – connected to individualized, attractive medical identification jewelry, and delivering immediate, critical patient information in urgent settings to first responders and emergency contacts. All while maintaining HIPAA compliance.

As you know, we’re big fans of EZEC Inc. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
EZEC® was founded on the idea that medical information available at the right time in an emergency along with early involvement of emergency contacts and loved ones can drastically improve outcomes; and that this requires evolving beyond the traditional, engraved medical ID bracelet.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you.
​We consider ourselves lucky because we have an incredible team and wonderful support from the jewelry industry. They really see the potential and the need for enhanced medical identification and are jumping on board to help us empower people with incredible jewelry designs.

Pricing:

  • $450 – GOLD and SMOKE pendant
  • $2150 – Gregorio Trading Bracelet
  • $350 – Gregorio Trading Guitar Pick Pendant
  • $1250 – GOLD and SMOKE link bracelet

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Andrew “Andy” DeMarco

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