The Deep End by On Deck is a podcast where visionary builders, creators, and experts discuss world-changing ideas. We skip the surface level and go in depth into ideas that matter including the futures of commerce, higher education, art, governance, longevity, and more with some of the most exciting figures in these fields. The Deep End is hosted by Marshall Kosloff and produced by On Deck—where top talent go to accelerate their ideas and careers. Visit ideas.beondeck.com for show notes and additional essays.
Overcoming the Six Stages of Health Tech Grief with Nikhil Krishnan
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Nikhil Krishnan is the author of the Out of Pocket newsletter. Out-of-Pocket is making the business of healthcare easy to understand. Nikhil writes in plain English and compliments industry analysis with memes and humor.
We haven’t done a true digital health episode yet, and Nikhil was the perfect person to provide us with an overview of the space.
The first question we asked was probably the hardest for Nikhil to answer. Marshall asked “What the is the problem?" in US healthcare right now, and Nikhil laughed. The American health system is uniquely complicated. Everyone thinks everyone else is the bad guy and an obtuse system means that nobody knows what the best direction to row in is.
Nikhil points out how healthcare is more emotionally charged. The industry has a fundamentally different risk-reward dynamic when the stakes are quite literally life and death.
Still, there is reason for hope, amid all the grief. Nikhil helps identify all the areas where health tech entrepreneurs might be able to create meaningful change in an industry that has been particularly ravaged by COVID during the past two years.
Frictionless Generosity with Overflow's Vance Roush
Vance Roush is Founder of Overflow. Overflow is building the infrastructure to make generosity frictionless across every major asset class.
Vance is on a mission to democratize philanthropy to the masses. Through his experience with churches and other non-profits, he has become keenly aware of how the top percentile has leveraged wealth management tricks and tips to donate stock (instead of cash) for decades. There are huge tax and savings benefits to doing this. Vance knows that that benefit can be extended to others via technology.
This conversation is about why and how philanthropy can be diversified across asset classes.
At On Deck, we have an obsession with access because we believe that talent is broadly distributed but opportunity is not. In 2020, we created the On Deck Access Fund to enable more people from around the world to participate in our programs by removing financial barriers. In 2021, we’ve awarded scholarships to more than 1,000 Fellows, totaling more than $1,000,000. And this is just the beginning. We recently announced “ODF Advance” a program to provide up to $25,000 in funding to would-be founders who are exploring a startup idea. Through our Access Initiatives we are unlocking opportunities for thousands of high potential entrepreneurs. If you’d like to learn more about our Access Initiative, visit www.beondeck.com/access-initiative
Resurrecting Extinct Species with Colossal's Ben Lamm
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Hot off last week’s episode about helping extend human life, this episode is about how to bring certain long-gone animals back to life. This week, Ben Lamm (Founder & CEO of Colossal Biosciences) joins The Deep End. Colossal describes itself as a genetic engineering company interested in extinct species restoration through radically new genomic technologies.
They have landed a ton of press and attention for their ambitious goal to resurrect a woolly mammoth in the next few years by sequencing the genome of mammoths and editing genes of their closest living relatives - the Asian elephant.
We spend a little time on the hard science of this and discuss how closely this resurrected proxy would be related to the original mammoth. But we also discuss the why, the when, and the bioethics.
Ben is quick to say that there’s no silver bullet for climate change or ecosystem restoration. Still, there is a strong conservationist argument for at least learning how we could create genetic backups for species. The arctic tundra could also potentially see its grasslands return if large animals like the mammoth return to their ancestral home to eat the overgrown bushes and trees.
Deep Tech 101 with James Sinka
This week, we are joined in the Deep End by James Sinka - cofounder of On Deck’s Deep Tech program.
Some of our past Deep End guests (and many On Deck fellows) are working at the bleeding edge of technology. So far, we’ve talked to founders of biotech companies, space manufacturers, and more.
Deep Tech is a category of innovation that exists at the intersection of many different fields under the technology umbrella. Modern advancements in computer infrastructure enable new sophisticated methods of tackling tough problems in the world of atoms.
James Sinka joins the show to share how world-class scientists, card-carrying PHDs and engineers can commercialize their deep knowledge in hyper-specific fields to unlock vibrant futures for humanity.
The sophistication of some of these tough technologies might sometimes be thought of as miraculous. If we can master protein folding, for example, we might be able to revolutionize drug design and otherwise heal cells with more ease than we might have ever imagined.
Of course, common modern technologies like the iPhone or X-Rays were also deep tech miracles when they were first created.
This conversation provides a broad overview of Deep Tech, and examples of how interdisciplinary application of advanced technology can go to market. To learn more about On Deck’s Deep Tech program, visit beondeck.com/deeptech
Making Lifespan Malleable with Dr. Kristen Fortney
Dr. Kristen Fortney is CEO & cofounder of BIOAGE - a company working on slowing aging and chronic disease.
Figuring out how to live longer is an age-old problem. For as long as humans have studied medicine, we have tried to learn which remedies, habits, and environments best position us to have a chance of long life.
Recent developments in the last few decades have, for the first time in human history, opened up the door for serious progress into understanding how humans and animals age. Last season, we had Celine on the show to talk about the work that her team is doing to improve the health of dogs. Lessons that might one day be applied to humans.
Now, Kristen joins us to give us an overview of the aging field. She also shares how BIOAGE is using machine learning to develop a pipeline of therapeutic assets that increase healthspan & lifespan. Aging may be the core cause of many of the cancers and chronic diseases that wind up killing us. If we can leverage AI to help identify flawed genes, we can make lifespan truly malleable.
Plenty of exciting discussions ensue - including what the differences are between healthspan and lifespan, what it would take for the healthcare industry & regulatory bodies to approve anti aging drugs, and how we might otherwise learn how to live as long as 200 year old whales or 1000 year old trees.
Launching an Africa-Focused Venture Fund with Abe Choi
Abe Choi is a prolific angel investor and CEO of Simple Dealer. Abe has partnered with another high-profile angel investor named Olumide Soyombo to create Voltron Capital - a Pan African venture capital firm. This is our first pure VC episode in awhile and it was refreshing to hear about some of the dynamics on the venture side as opposed to the founder side.
Africa is massive. One of our first questions that we ask Abe was about how his firm expects to develop a consistent thesis for the continent, given that Africa is so large, diverse, and spread out. He helps us learn how to think about the industries primed for growth and the regions that have developed innovative hubs throughout the region. We discuss different private & public sector partnership models that are emerging and why fin-tech startups are especially booming.
Abe also contrasts investment from his firm with investment from Chinese firms or firms from Europe.
This was a live episode recording and we had other angel investors in our live audience that were supplying questions in the chat. If you would like to be notified about future live episodes, be sure to sign up for our newsletter at thedeepend.substack.com
Up there with Stratechary
I rarely write reviews but this podcast should be at the top of your rotation. Practical explorations of emerging technologies, behaviours, and industry with really smart people resulting in smart conversations. Great work.
Simply superb content curated and presented perfectly.
Love Marshall’s work. Got here from Rising -> BP -> realignment to here. Keep it up!!