Published June 21, 2019
Anne-Fleur Andrle (MS Biomedical engineering ’13) had a problem: for years, she traveled extensively for her job as a medical applications engineer in medical imaging, finding herself with a well-stamped passport but little to show for it besides jet lag and a thorough reading of her hotel’s room service menu.
Though Andrle felt very much alone on these trips, she was one of many people for whom frequent business travel was an often perfunctory and underappreciated reality.
This changed for Andrle on a trip to Australia, in which she chose to stay a few extra days and explore – and experienced the untapped joys of business leisure or “bleisure”. With little knowledge about a business trip destination and a packed schedule, Andrle realized the need for a resource for business travelers like her to draw on, one that maximized their time and interests.
And thus, the concept of Jack and Ferdi was born. This first-ever bleisure app, named for explorers Jacques Cartier and Ferdinand Magellan respectively, was the invention of Andrle and cofounder Romain Aubanel, a fellow French expat. Jack and Ferdi provides business travelers with the opportunity to realize the full potential of their trips by offering “geolocalized, AI-generated, and curator-vetted suggestions” so users can enjoy authentic, fulfilling experiences tailored to their interests, whether that’s a running route, trying a novel cuisine, or making a positive impact on the road by supporting a local business or charity.
Andrle, the first woman to graduate from UB’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, constantly finds herself applying her problem-solving skills in the coexisting fast-paced worlds of entrepreneurship and tech.
“For starters, I loved the way I was taught in a lab here – it encouraged autonomy,” says Andrle. “Also, my graduate research on regenerative cardiac pathways in mice prepared me not to give up. There’s so much you can do on your own.”
Andrle took part in a “How I Built This” workshop on May 23, 2019. The event was supported by the University at Buffalo, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Blackstone LaunchPad, and TechStars.