55 episodes

Hundreds of thousands of researchers around the world are working to improve life and address imminent threats to humanity. Often, the research ends up in the “Scientific valley of death” in the form of publications and patents that never see the light of the day.

Welcome to “Lab to Startup” a podcast aimed at showcasing the effort needed to translate lab research to startups. The show has two main goals:  1. Sharing the stories of those scientists and engineers who have successfully founded startups based on the research at university and national labs.  2. Highlighting the resources and tools needed to help those aspiring to launch startups in the deeptech space.

We also want this show to be a way to communicate those technology development stories to the general public (taxpayers funding the research) in the hope that they will continue to support such research and startups.

About the host
Naresh Sunkara, Ph.D. is a chemical biologist, entrepreneur and the founder and Executive Director of the Berkeley Postdoc Entrepreneurship Program at the University of California, Berkeley. He has been running this program for the past ten years that has helped graduate students and postdocs at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and at several other universities in the US.

He was previously a postdoc at UC Berkeley developing lipid nanoparticles for delivery of mRNA based drugs targeting viruses and cancers.

Lab to Startup Naresh Sunkara PhD

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 3 Ratings

Hundreds of thousands of researchers around the world are working to improve life and address imminent threats to humanity. Often, the research ends up in the “Scientific valley of death” in the form of publications and patents that never see the light of the day.

Welcome to “Lab to Startup” a podcast aimed at showcasing the effort needed to translate lab research to startups. The show has two main goals:  1. Sharing the stories of those scientists and engineers who have successfully founded startups based on the research at university and national labs.  2. Highlighting the resources and tools needed to help those aspiring to launch startups in the deeptech space.

We also want this show to be a way to communicate those technology development stories to the general public (taxpayers funding the research) in the hope that they will continue to support such research and startups.

About the host
Naresh Sunkara, Ph.D. is a chemical biologist, entrepreneur and the founder and Executive Director of the Berkeley Postdoc Entrepreneurship Program at the University of California, Berkeley. He has been running this program for the past ten years that has helped graduate students and postdocs at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and at several other universities in the US.

He was previously a postdoc at UC Berkeley developing lipid nanoparticles for delivery of mRNA based drugs targeting viruses and cancers.

    Lessons from Evolution of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem at UC Berkeley

    Lessons from Evolution of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem at UC Berkeley

    Richard Lyons, Ph.D., is the Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Innovation & Entrepreneurship Officer, at the University of California, Berkeley. Rich is an economist and the former dean of the business school. Rich will become the next chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley. 
    We talk about a wide variety of topics around the Evolution of innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem at Berkeley. We covered topics like paradigm shifts, cultural transformations, overcoming inertia; global impact and many others. 
    I hope you get some insights from this story, and walk away with appreciation and potentially actionable steps if you are trying to build startup ecosystems on your campuses.
    Show Notes:

    https://vcresearch.berkeley.edu/faculty/rich-lyons Report on entrepreneurship at UC Berkeley from the Faculty Entrepreneurship Committee: https://vcresearch.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/2018-08/Entrepreneurship_at_Berkeley.pdf  UC Regents taskforce report: From Discovery to Societal Impact: A Roadmap to Unleashing UC Innovation and Entrepreneurship: https://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/regmeet/may21/g1attach.pdf Cultural transformation at UC Berkeley: https://newsroom.haas.berkeley.edu/berkeley-named-top-university-for-number-of-venture-backed-companies-founded/#:~:text=PitchBook%20has%20ranked%20Berkeley%20%231,public%20university%20for%20startup%20founders. Bakar fellows program: https://bakarfellows.berkeley.edu/ Cultural transformation to embrace entrepreneurship Mission of academic institutions is impact Overcoming inertia at academic institutions Ecosystem dynamics & talent pipeline Start with “Yes, if” framework to address difficult questions Pilot programs Berkeley RIC  I&E Council Inclusivity: Dual degree program  Berkeley Changemaker program Failures and hurdles Ethical considerations Parts of the ecosystem that could be replicated and hard to do so by other universities Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (SCET)

    • 58 min
    Civilization Ventures: Lessons learned from founding, exiting and applying them to support founders as an investor

    Civilization Ventures: Lessons learned from founding, exiting and applying them to support founders as an investor

    Shahram Seyedin-Noor is the founder and managing partner at Civilization Ventures. Shahram received a JD from Harvard and worked at Wilson Solsinis and Cooley before going into investment banking at firms like Goldman Sachs and Bank of America. He then entered the startup world co-founding several startups. He eventually ended up Angel investing and in 2017, launched Civilization Ventures, focused on supporting cutting-edge innovations in health tech and biology.

    Shahram has over a dozen exits under his belt, which is a phenomenal achievement. Here are some of his investments: Rewrite (acq. by Intellia), Replace (acq. by Tome), Lemonaid (acq. by 23andme), Singular Bio (acq. by Invitae), Rocket Pharma (listed on Nasdaq), Palamedrix (acq. by SomaLogic), Foresight Diagnostics, BillionToOne, Omada and others. Shahram takes an active role in company building. Prior to founding CV, Shahram was the founding CEO/Chairman of Inspirna, an oncology therapeutics company currently in Phase 2 human trials, and the CFO and VP of Corporate Development at NextBio, a genomics software pioneer acquired by Illumina.

    Shownotes:
    https://www.civilizationventures.com/ Success has a thousand fathers but failure is an orphan Accountability: Few people blame themselves for failure and give credit for success to others Evolution of mindset: Don’t let others dictate what you can or supposed to do in life EQ is more/equally important than IQ Transition from law school to startups Advice for recruiting a non-scientific co-founder Rewrite therapeutics acquired by Intellia Investment thesis at Civilization Ventures: Drive to do things differently Lessons learned from exits Contact email: shahram@civilizationventures.com

    • 54 min
    Humba Ventures: Investing in Deep Tech Startups with Engineering Focus

    Humba Ventures: Investing in Deep Tech Startups with Engineering Focus

    Leo Polovets is the Co-founder and General Partner at Susa Ventures. Leo focuses on enterprise software and technical products at Susa. About two years ago, He also started Humba Ventures, a fund that invests in deep tech and critical national sectors like energy and defense at Humba.  

    Leo led Susa's investments in Mashgin, People Data Labs, Scalyr, and Treasury Prime. Having been a software engineer for 10+ years, Leo approaches challenges with an engineering mindset and supports portfolio companies in vetting and hiring technical talent. Prior to Susa, Leo was the second engineering hire at Linkedin, where he worked on the first versions of products like LinkedIn Jobs and LinkedIn Groups. Leo then worked on payment fraud detection algorithms at Google, and was also an early engineer at Factual, where he built data processing software. Leo received a bachelor's degree in Engineering and Applied Science (Computer Science) from Caltech.

    We talk about lessons that translate from investing in traditional startups; explore lessons learned about market sizing, pricing, team dynamics, managing burn, scaling, valuation and many other topics in the deep tech space.

     
    Shownotes: https://humbaventures.com/ Leo’s presentation on “Exploring Startup Ideas” https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1C-JFkqsY40tidqPD1OZbV3-OXPAyrsPIV5Q_00PkToQ/edit#slide=id.g221d008c440_0_35 Thinking about making money for scientific founders Thinking about market attributes for a potential startup Intro to Humba ventures Investing in deep tech Founder-market fit; Time to make money Investment thesis Communication: between team members, to investors and beyond Working with startup teams: Commercialization Pricing in deep tech: Think of value being created How to ask for money for your product? Aloha robot- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaaZ8ss-HP4&t=5s Story telling Manage your burn! Scaling: Calibrating on talent; learning to delegate; firing Bs and B+s on the team Keeping up with new technologies Thoughts on valuation What Leo likes to hear while being pitched to

    • 53 min
    Berkeley Skydeck- Catalyzing the growth of deep tech startups at the world’s number one ranked public university.

    Berkeley Skydeck- Catalyzing the growth of deep tech startups at the world’s number one ranked public university.

    Caroline Winnett is the Executive Director of Berkeley Skydeck, a startup accelerator at the University of California, Berkeley. Skydeck started as a mentoring space in 2012 and soon translated into one of the leading startup accelerators in the world.

    SkyDeck was Formed as a partnership between UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, the College of Engineering, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. While it offers all the benefits of a traditional accelerator, what makes Skydeck special is the vast resources of the world’s number one ranked public university. The robust and vibrant ecosystem includes a deep network of advisors, industry partners, and attracts some of the best investors. I have seen its evolution first hand because of my own association since my postdocs days at UC Berkeley

    We discuss the evolution of the startup ecosystem at UC Berkeley and then dive into how Skydeck has been supporting deep tech startups, challenges and lessons learned.
     
    Shownotes:

    Berkeley Skydeck: https://skydeck.berkeley.edu/ Startup resources at Berkeley: https://begin.berkeley.edu/ Berkeley named top university for number of venture-backed companies
    Evolution of startup ecosystem at UC Berkeley: Pre & post Skydeck Changing academia-industry relations Skydeck is just not for UC Berkeley community Support for deep tech startups at Skydeck Criteria for picking deep tech startups for accelerations Lessons learned from working with scientific and faculty founders Scalability and market potential of deep tech startups Partnerships with corporations: realistic expectations Picking advisors Commercializing deep tech startups Investing in deep tech: Evaluating founders Tips for applying to Berkeley Skydeck Apply here: https://skydeck.berkeley.edu/apply/

    • 52 min
    Medtech Innovator and Biotools Innovator: accelerator for medical device, digital health and diagnostic companies

    Medtech Innovator and Biotools Innovator: accelerator for medical device, digital health and diagnostic companies

    Paul Grand is the founder and CEO; Ayelet Marom is the Program Director for BioTools Innovator, which focuses specifically on biotools; and Jim West is the Associate Director, BioTools Innovator, who was previously the Co-Founder and CEO of, Clara Biotech, which was founded in 2018 and was acquired by Innovaprep in the summer of 2023. Jim was the first founder to go through the biotools program.

    In this episode of lab to startup, we first discuss some of the challenges that affect medtech and biotool technology startups, and then go into ways that medtech innovator, an accelerator program is helping founders in this space, especially around lessons learned and how the program has evolved into one of the best accelerators in this space.
    https://medtechinnovator.org/about-us/ Founding story of Medtech Innovator Things medtech startups struggle with: Articulating value proposition; understanding reimbursement; having the wrong CEO; staying in stealth mode; choosing the wrong indication Medtech innovator “Value program” Value coaches from established companies like J&J How startups get accepted to the program No equity, no fees and no strings attached for being a part of the program Bringing the right investors to the table to support founders Biotools innovator program: https://biotoolsinnovator.org/ Challenges in the biotools space How investors are different in this space Pay for Service as a model Story of Jim West, Founder and CEO of Clara biotech, that went through the program Advice on slide decks Info session videos: https://www.youtube.com/@Medtechinnovatorchannel

    • 1 hr 12 min
    Metcela - Treating chronic organ diseases using a novel fibroblast-based technology

    Metcela - Treating chronic organ diseases using a novel fibroblast-based technology

    Kenichi Nogami is the co-founder and CEO of Metcela, a clinical-stage biotechnology startup pioneering the research and development of fibroblast and stem cell-based therapy for chronic heart diseases that currently have limited therapeutic options.

    We talk about the current treatments for heart failure and how the fibroblast technology could help this space. We explore the founding story; setting smaller milestones and fundraising to meet those goals; the role of recruiting firms in hiring in japan; building a flat structure at the startup, as opposed to a hierarchical system that Japan is generally known for; and how Ken’s investment banking experience helped with acquisition of another biotech startup; and many other stories.

    Shownotes
    https://www.metcela.com/en/ Fibroblast technology for treating Heart failure Current treatments and potential of regenerative capabilities Founding story: Investment banker meets a PhD student and launch a startup Nedo, Japan: Technology-Based Startup Support Program https://www.nedo.go.jp/english/activities/activities_ZZJP_100091.html
    IP: University waives its right to file a patent and the startup files the patent Co-founder chemistry Business model evolution Immune response challenges developing cell therapy for heart diseases Fundraising stories: Raising money from Japanese investors vs those outside Japan Raising from university derived VCs Cell manufacturing challenges Acquiring a startup while being a startup Evolution as a CEO Team and hiring process: Supply drove the hiring more than demand in many cases Building culture Hierarchy vs flat structure: decision making process Challenges building a biotech startup in Japan- talent, infrastructure; and need to expand globally

    • 58 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
3 Ratings

3 Ratings

awojdyla ,

Excellent podcast on deep tech

Highly recommended podcast for anyone with (or without!) a phd who would like to understand how to turn their research into companies

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