8 to Watch Under 40

By Jane Burns and Leiah Fundell, UW School of Business

Meet eight Wisconsin School of Business graduates making an impact on their industries.

One of these grads is Shawn Michels, founder of Steady Shot, which is an add-on for insulin pen needles to make injections easier. Shawn is an alum of D2P’s Igniter program. 

Shawn Michels (BBA ’18)

City: Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

Title: Founder and CEO, Steady Shot

Previous jobs: Auditor, CliftonLarsonAllen; auditor, The VanderBloemen Group

Why he’s among the 8 to Watch: Michels took an idea born in a class and turned it into a startup that brought a medical device to market in February 2020. Steady Shot is an add-on to diabetics’ insulin pens that enables people to inject themselves more easily.

Solving a personal problem: In his junior year at WSB, Michels took an entrepreneurship class with a simple instruction: Solve a problem you have. As a Type 1 diabetic since he was 16, Michels had been injecting himself five to 10 times a day. He experienced bruising and scar tissue buildup because he could only inject himself in easy-to-reach spots. He designed Steady Shot as a solution. “With Steady Shot, I could use my non-dominant hand to inject in new spots,” he says. “And I felt more comfortable using either hand to inject in all possible injection sites while resting my overused ones.”

Needing the business acumen: Michels came to business school with a plan to become an accountant, but his Steady Shot idea steered him in a different direction. Even so, the accounting education was key to launching his company. “To come up with an idea you have to be creative. But accounting tells you exactly what you need to do for business. Accounting is black and white; the creative side is colors. They complement each other well.”

The impact of a WSB degree: Connections to the UW–Madison entrepreneurship community got Michels on his way while still in school, particularly the university’s Discovery to Product program that helps bring ideas to the market.

What inspires him: Michels responds to every customer who messages him, some from all over the world. He knows he didn’t just solve his class “problem” for himself. “There have been a lot of lives changed by Steady Shot and that is really fulfilling.”

See who else made the ‘8 to Watch Under 40’ list …