On June 6th, BCLA hosted another exciting virtual event showcasing entrepreneurs from Los Angeles. The event entitled “Patterns in the pandemic: Entrepreneurs experiences and what you can learn from them” featured Dr. Priyanka Mathur, Founder & CEO of MediPocket, Dr. Joe Dunham, Co-Founder and CSO of SeqOne LLC, and Dr. Hilan Kaplan, Founder & CEO of Epoch Innovations, LLC. The webinar was moderated by Scott Witt, Entrepreneur-in-residence at West Coast CTIP. The panel discussed how entrepreneurs have adapted to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. The event was a great success with more than 60 attendees, as well as support from our long-term partner Biocom!
Many have described COVID-19 as an accelerator for science and biotech, leading to large amounts of funding, and papers being published faster than ever. For entrepreneurs, this means identifying patterns and rapidly adapting. Dr. Mathur realized that MediPocket, an app that manages personal health for the entire family, was well positioned to respond to the increase in tele-health demand. With the support of investors, MediPocket accelerated their operations to become more efficient and even partnered with competitors who couldn’t meet the increased demand for prescription delivery. For Dr. Dunham, the pandemic required a bit more of a pivot. His company SeqOne is a next-generation sequencing platform mainly used by academic institutions. As many institutions halted their research, Dr. Dunham and his partners had to find other customers. SeqOne managed to partner with firms focused on forensic analysis and human leukocyte antigen (HLA) sequencing which has become important in COVID-19 research. The PPP and SBA loan programs, as well as COVID-19 grants, were also instrumental in keeping the company going. Last but not least, Dr. Kaplan made the biggest pivot out of these entrepreneurs. His company Epoch Innovations is focused on developing permanent yet removable tattoo ink. In the wake of the pandemic, Dr. Kaplan identified the need for hand sanitizer. A chemist by training, he felt he was well positioned to make hand-sanitizer to meet the demand and bring in much needed cash during the uncertainty of the pandemic. While many were skeptics, Dr. Kaplan was able to manufacture hand sanitizer quickly and has now returned his focus to tattoo ink.
While each of these three entrepreneurs had distinct experiences during the pandemic, they all adapted to the changing landscape, took risks, and found new partnerships and markets. We hope this event was helpful for soon-to-be entrepreneurs in their own journeys. Thank you to all of our speakers, attendees and sponsors for another great BCLA event! We can’t wait to see you (virtually) at our next event!