A Conversation with Elizabeth Iorns – Advice for Biotech Founders

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YC Partner Adora Cheung talks to Science Exchange Co-Founder and CEO Elizabeth Iorns about her experience as a biotech startup founder.

Learn more at https://www.startupschool.org/

Chapters (Powered by https://bit.ly/chapterme-yc) –
00:00:00 Introduction
00:01:50 Shift from academic to startup route. Where did the idea come from?
00:03:47 How Science Exchange helps organize the very fragmented market for research?
00:05:54 Was it difficult to make the switch and not work on the one thing that you focused on during research?
00:07:56 Advice for people who want start a startup from a research at University? Sometimes it’s a huge obstacle from universities. How can they navigate?
00:09:08 Do you think there is a overall trend in people moving from academics into startups?
00:11:46 How did you get your first users for Science Exchange marketplace?
00:14:08 What was more difficult – Supply or demand?
00:15:54 Do you remember on the demand side, the very first customer? What were they? What did they do?
00:17:04 So we talked a lot about at Startup School, product market fit. For you what was that like? When did you know you had that? And how did you define it? And what metrics were you looking at?
00:19:51 Reproducibility Initiative (reproduce to validate experiments) – why has this never been done? Was it a money problem or can only Science Exchange solve?
00:23:09 What are the two top two complex factors?
00:25:10 What is the biggest challenge as a CEO of a marketplace company that you have today? And how has that challenge morphed over time?
00:27:03 There has been this implosion of biotech startups recently, especially in Silicon Valley, what do you think that is? What are the causes for this?
00:30:04 Are there any similarities between biotech and software?
00:31:25 What does an MVP mean in biotech?
00:33:13 What has changed that has allowed a small companies product to go-to-market without getting acquired?
00:34:36 Science Exchange is helping speed up experiments, trolls, and getting through the FDA process.
00:35:48 Common mistakes you’ve seen biotech founders make? What do you just need and what do you avoid at all costs?
00:37:33 What do you think about the need for a business co-founder and should that be a goal?
00:39:30 Non-scientists who are interested in biotech, what should they do? Get a PhD or what’s the potential path?
00:42:17 Decisions you’ve made that was a game changer (inflection point)?
00:43:29 100 years from now, what do you think Science Exchange will be?
00:45:16 Q1 – whether we should look at new approaches too, instead of just looking at correlations to look for causality in a space with unknowns?
00:46:40 Q2 – Idea to an MVP in a short space of time, and the steps that required to do that?
00:49:27 Q3 – Importance of credentials in the biotech space?
00:51:29 Q4 – when did you decide to leave academics?
00:53:18 Q5 – Quality control in a two sided marketplace?

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