“Entrepreneurs must Focus on Market Pain” – Norman Winarsky, SRI


EPPIC organization was found in 1998, with a mission to promote networking, entrepreneurship, and mentoring for life science professionals.  Each year, EPPIC Annual Conference provides a wonderful forum to realize this mission. EPPICon on March 29, 2014 was held at Westin, SF and began with opening remarks by Dr. Norman Winarksy, Vice President at SRI Ventures.

SRI or Stanford Research Institute was found in 1946 to help Stanford University professors make an impact in the world.  It has a staff of 2500, of whom 1000 have advanced degrees and current revenue is in the range of $600M. InvestorPeterGerber&InventorDougEnglebartMany revolutionary technologies like the mouse (invented by Doug Engelbart whom I had an opportunity to meet, before he passed away, when I took his picture inserted here with the first red mouse that investor Peter Gerber is holding), electronic banking, robotic surgery (which spun out as Intuitive Surgical), and SIRI to name a few, have come out of SRI.  All SRI personnel are taught to identify the value proposition and work towards that goal, said Winarksy. SRI is a non-profit organization but gives 34% of royalty to the individual or the team that worked on the specific technology and that is how SRI competes with high salaries in Silicon Valley.  SRI process always begins with identifying the market pain, ideally a larger market opportunity.  Out of about 2000 opportunities identified, about 3-4 get funded and get about 10X return; many of the others become licensing deals and the rest die.  Currently Tempo, a smart calendar is showing a lot of promise, said Winarsky. This was a great start to a day that proceeded with excellent panels, speed pitch sessions and SIG networking opportunities.

Next EPPIC event will be held on May 6 at 6pm at Cubberley Theater, 4000 Middlefield Rd, Palo Alto.  Dr. Sarvajna Dwivedi, CSO at Pearl Therapeutics will talk about the entrepreneurship journey that took him and his co-founder to build from a tiny spin out, from Nektar Therapeutics, a world class multi-site organization.  Pearl Therapeutics was bought by Astra Zeneca last year, for $1.15 B.  To register for the event go to http://www.eppicglobal.org .

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