Ryan Del Balso had quit his job and was planning to buy an RV with his wife, travel around the country and road school their children.
When his wife received an unexpected diagnosis that prevented them from uprooting, he decided to take his engineering background and lifetime of neck pain and turn it into a business to help people like him get a better night’s sleep. Using only his personal savings, he created sustainable, adjustable pillows and launched his startup, WakeWell.
“I have probably spent a thousand dollars’ worth of pillows,” Del Balso said. “I was trying to figure out, what do I like about the pillows I’ve tried? What do I not like? And how can I combine all the things I like into a single pillow?”
As a newcomer to the world of startups and pillows, which he said has many legal requirements, Del Balso also wanted to “make sure I’m doing things right.” He found assistance through the University of Wisconsin Law School, which has started a program to provide free legal services to new business owners like Del Balso. It offers office hours for local entrepreneurs, hosts public educational events and builds relationships with lawyers in communities outside Madison and Milwaukee.