Imagine a +1-cup size breast enhancement without any surgical manipulation. It became possible with a non-surgical cosmetic body shaping system named Brava. Dive into the interview with Murat Kuru, Brava’s former Chief Engineering/Information Officer—the first engineer behind the device and one of the first Intetics clients.
The sad reality is that most women are unhappy with their breast size, and it may have damaging health consequences.
The Breast Size Satisfaction Survey, that looked at 18,541 women from 40 nations around the world found that 71% are not happy with their cup size, and 47% of surveyed women wanted larger breasts.
Women who feel insecure about their breasts may be less familiar with their bodies, and therefore less likely to check their breasts for lumps.
Another serious implication—impact on young women’s mental health, especially considering rising rates of breast augmentations—the most popular form of plastic surgery since 2006.
However, the options for women desiring to enhance their body are no longer limited to the traditional methods of implants or flap surgeries.
Back in 2000, the system, designed by Brava LLC, a Florida-based company, revolutionized the beauty & healthcare industry and breast enhancement. Brava was one of the very first Intetics clients, our team empowered the system with the software solutions: developed a comprehensive website with B2B and B2C capabilities, Customer Support, CRM, and Content Management Systems.
About Brava — a Proprietary Non-Surgical Cosmetic Body Shaping System
BRAVA® is a revolutionary device, that works by placing a gentle amount of negative pressure on the entire breast. This negative pressure actually stretches the breast with its internal tissue. The skin and all the underlying tissues down to the chest wall expand to create a fertile matrix that will allow large volumes of fat to be transferred and then to survive, as stated by Miami Breast Center. The internal effects and benefits of the BRAVA expansion is one of the most effective methods for breast augmentation and reconstruction.
The Client’s Story of How It Happened
Murat Kuru, Brava’s former Chief Engineering/Information Officer shared in an exclusive interview with Irina Dubovik, Intetics Digital Marketing Director, how Brava & Intetics’ cooperation started, their success story, what pitfalls were along the way, and how Murat sees the future of the healthcare industry.
Irina: Murat, tell us about yourself and how your journey at Brava started?
Murat: I have a background in military electronics, but I came to work as an oceanographer in Miami. My core expertise lies in electronics engineering, which led me to pursue a master’s degree in the same field. I spent approximately eight years at the University of Miami focusing on ocean-related research. One day, I have injured my hand while participating in an oil exploration project in Trinidad. Upon returning, I sought the assistance of a hand specialist for medical treatment.
That doctor turned out to be Dr. Roger Khouri. He is the inventor of Brava. At that time, it wasn’t even called Brava yet. Then I met a businessman, Mr. Carlos Freyre. Mr. Freyre and Dr Khouri, with other investors, started a company to build and market the device. They asked me, whether I would like to design this device for them. And I said, yes, I will do it. So, the journey began.
I left the University of Miami, started working on the device with Mr. Freyre and Dr. Khouri. The external sustained suction of the Brava device helped the tissue to grow without any surgical procedure. Dr Khouri explained the mechanism by giving similar examples like neck extension in some African tribes, or the limb extension using the Ilizarov devices. The same concept was the basis of the Brava system.
Irina: Why did this idea, which was quite innovative for its time, catch you? And why did you decide to collaborate with Dr. Khouri?
Murat: It is always exciting to develop a new thing. After designing the prototype, I realized creating a system showcasing how well it works would be great. The users didn’t know exactly what their progress was during the treatment and the doctors did not know the compliance to the specified protocol. We were physically bringing the prototypes we were using in the clinical trials into our office to see the users’ data which was collected in the Brava controller they were using.
So, I thought I could make this process easier. I have designed a modem link. Of course, there were no widespread cell phones, ADSL, or similar devices at that time. Internet access was quite new. So, I designed a dial-in modem in a small charging cradle device for the controller of the Brava system. You would put the controller on the cradle, connect it to the phone line and then transfer the detailed usage data to a server. Then, the user and the doctor could view the data and assess the progress. It worked, and it was great. We could show usage wear patterns and people liked that.
We have grown into a team of 40 people in the early year 2000. But I was the only engineer in the company then. I said, okay, I’m doing the electronics, but I need somebody to do the software part. I have written the embedded software, but we also needed a professional website to promote our product. Although I designed the first Brava web page, it needed to be more sales- and client-oriented.
This was IoT before there was IoT
Irina: Please, share with our readers how did your cooperation with Intetics started?
Murat: I came across a company called Web Space Station (former name of Intetics). I have started communicating with Boris, Intetics CEO and President.
And then, in April 2000, the Intetics team developed our new website and later transformed a simple website into something much bigger. It became like a data transfer hub.
Just think of this, you have a device sending the data to a server somewhere. And now, from that server, the doctors and patients can log in and see what’s going on, how many hours they were using the device, how much breast growth progress they had, and the doctors could track it. Boris and I even joke about this: this was IoT before there was IoT.
Whenever we needed something, Intetics was there
Murat: We were working together nonstop. We installed more and more servers first in Japan then in China. The amount of data grew very fast. New users were also located in Europe: we had them in England, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland etc. Everybody using the device was sending data to our servers to be saved and viewed by them. The company continued to grow.
Later, when the software was written and needed no more adjustment, Intetics started working with us as the maintenance team. If the server went down or something happened, I would transfer everything to the Intetics server, and our clients could still access data. Thus, we remained always accessible. Whenever we needed something, Intetics was there. We continued to improve our software together with Intetics until 2015.
Irina: How did you manage to launch a totally innovative project revolutionizing the healthcare industry? Please share the biggest challenge you faced.
Murat: The device was initially invented by plastic surgeon Dr. Khouri. He has been working on his idea for years, but it only became a product after he and Mr. Freyre started Brava.
As the device would bring changes to the body, it becomes a Class II medical device, which requires FDA approval and continuous risk management. This is always challenging and expensive for small companies. Brava was no exception. In Europe, particularly in England, several alternative products were already on sale as they didn’t undergo the same rigorous testing process we needed in the USA.
Irina: Who were your major clients, and were they primarily Dr. Khouri’s patients, or did you attract them online?
Murat: First, we started registering doctors for Brava sales. We had a team of 4 Sales Managers in different parts of the United States. Each was going to the doctors’ offices in their designated states to give a demonstration of the Brava device. The users would then buy and use it from the doctors. That’s how we worked for about four or five years.
Eventually, it became too costly to continue with that marketing model. At some point, we had around 500 doctors, and all were managed through the digital ecosystem built by Intetics.
Using the doctors as the sale channel is quite expensive. So, the original Brava device was expensive in the USA. We then created a simpler version of the Brava device without the data transfer component which was sold directly to the consumer. All the changes we implemented required changing or adding things to the software. Intetics was always there.
We also sold the device in other countries like Israel, Saudi Arabia, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Chile, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, etc. We have used local distributors in each country. The list of countries was quite extensive.
Irina: Any innovation brings about something good. What do you consider the success of the Brava product?
Murat: Around 50000 patients used the device all around the world. Most of them really liked it. Patients gained a one-cup size enhancement in just ten months without surgery. Just think of this: how long does it take for nature to do it? When somebody is growing up, it takes years.
Irina: How did you choose a software development provider, and why Intetics? What was the best part of your cooperation?
Murat: First of all, the price was good. Boris and his team designed the website very fast and charged a very modest amount of money. But that was not the only reason. We just clicked. I was developing a prototype and needed an electronic capacitor component for the Brava controller. We couldn’t find it in the USA. Boris found the component in Czech Republic for us.
And one more important thing — the people. I worked only with Boris initially, but naturally it evolved into engineer-to-engineer communication. The communication was effective, even though it was mainly by email at that time. Even the time difference worked in our favor.
If I come up with a new idea for a business, Boris is the first person I call
Irina: What is the best about the team & project management, and Boris, as the leader superpower, to your mind?
Murat: Boris is very detail oriented, but at the same time, he can see the big picture. He is a “doesn’t-miss-the-detail” kind of leader. Boris always hires the best people and lets them do their job. He doesn’t mind having intelligent people around him. I was very pleased by the knowledge and work ethic of every person I worked with at Intetics. Actually, Boris’ entrepreneurial journey is a real success story.
We always keep in touch. If I come up with a new idea for a business, Boris is the first person I call. Boris, can this be done? How long, and what’s needed?
Irina: How do you see the future HealthTech solutions? The interaction between doctors, clinics, and patients. What technology do you consider at the forefront of healthcare innovations?
Murat: The good thing is that there will be AI. Imagine a regular doctor’s appointment. You only see them for 15 minutes. It is not enough time to get all the data and develop the correct solutions.
With AI, gathering as much info as possible and delivering the right results will be achievable, even if they still will need to be 100% correct. In the future, technology will take over. Unfortunately, we’re not there yet. Although there are many different MedTech devices people use daily, there is a big need to collaborate efficiently with FDA and involve them early on to get the best outcomes. FDA will also need to regulate the AI involvement in healthcare in innovative new ways.
Anyways, I believe the future of healthcare will be totally technology driven. Companies like Intetics will enable smaller businesses to gain easier access to many tech innovations in this field.
Irina: If you would like to revolutionize Healthcare today, what would it be?
Murat: Big Data and AI can predict what will happen if we eat or drink something and do or don’t do something. Which diseases are possible because of our behaviors as well as our genetics and environment? How can you help healthcare professionals to make better diagnosis and give better treatments in a timelier manner? How can you better predict diseases and prevent them? The AI will be very helpful to collect, process, and disseminate previously impossible amounts of data for all these fields by employing the new transformer models. Early detection of pandemics will be possible from seemingly unrelated data. The new generative AI, as well as predictive methods can revolutionize how we get healthcare more efficiently and cost effectively. It is very exciting indeed.