Media 7 | November 15, 2021
Anu Shukla, Co- Founder & Executive Chairman at Botco.ai explores the latest features on Botco.ai 2.0 and how it helps marketers in health and wellness verticals make more personalized, analytical and actionable insight-driven campaigns. Read on to find out about the biggest challenges in the current COVID-19 influenced product marketing landscape....
Media 7 | September 17, 2021
Fredrik Sundberg, Global Director Strategic Customer Relations at Cytiva, is responsible for working with the pharmaceutical industry to improve current workflows with innovative bioanalytical solutions. He also advises on R&D projects and business development activities. Fredrik is the author of several publications on drug discovery and biosimilar strategies. He is also a member of an EMEA Pharmaceutical Industry Expert Panel, and he lectures and discusses regulatory issues with government officials and health authorities....
Media 7 | December 8, 2020
Craig Misrach, President and Board Member at UpLyft joined the organization in 2018, spearheading the company's product launch and commercialization efforts. He began his career at Deloitte where he audited various lower middle-market businesses as a Senior Accountant.
Maintaining an active Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license, Mr. Misrach serves on the Board of Directors of Aculief and the Jewish Community Foundation, San Diego.
MEDIA 7: Could you tell us about your career journey from Deloitte to UpLyft?
CRAIG MISRACH: I started my career at Deloitte as a public accountant and auditor just trying to get the work experience necessary to obtain my CPA license in the State of California. Little did I know how working in janitor closets at client’s office locations whereby doing your job entailed asking questions and information requests from people who didn’t want to talk to you could build so much character!
I left Deloitte to join my client Silvergate Bank where I was the Controller in charge of managing ~$500M in assets at the age of 25. Not only did I gain management responsibility at Silvergate overseeing and working with a staff of 9 individuals, but I also was able to observe first-hand what it was like working in a fast-paced growing entrepreneurial culture as we grew from ~20 to ~70 employees in a short two year period.
I decided to go obtain my MBA at the University of Virginia to round out my skill sets and start a new business from the ground up. This was not a traditional path to do so at the time as most graduate students would go get their MBA from a top-tier program to become an investment banker, management consultant, or marketing manager at a Fortune 500 company. I knew from the time early in my career, and in watching my father start his own real estate business growing up in Ohio, that with hard work and perseverance I could start a successful business from the ground up.
I started my first venture, Freedom Meditech, by way of learning about the diabetes field in my MBA program and researching the reasons why it was still status quo (not just in 2006 but also still today 15 years later) for people with diabetes to be pricking their finger to determine their blood glucose information. I thought that was so archaic and not fair to such individuals when there was better technology available (subject to FDA compliance) to obtain this information non-invasively.
I spent 8+ years as the Founding CEO of Freedom Meditech, where under my leadership, we became the 1st company in the world to obtain FDA clearance for a non-invasive diabetes diagnostic test. The test worked by shining light in a person’s eye for 6 seconds. It was truly revolutionary and the FDA clearance we obtained (the first in the world – we estimated $1B of venture capital went into failed attempts of companies to obtain this FDA clearance and commercialize) was likely one the proudest moments in my career because it was a team effort and a culmination of hard work, numerous late nights, and extremely tough decisions along the way of reducing to practice a prototype, conducting clinical studies, analyzing data, and performing this process all over again several times to support our FDA submission. We built an entire sales organization, international distribution network, sold millions of dollars of product around the world, and then eventually sold the business to Sinocare LTD in China. Our product (ClearPath DS-120) is still used to this day to early detect diabetes and pre-diabetes in patients by clinicians all over the world.
The past 5 years I have spent “giving back” to entrepreneurs and the community by way of participating on Boards of Directors and mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs. This includes positions I have held as a board member on Aculief (sold – June 2020), as a Business/Finance mentor for the San Diego Sports Innovation network, and as a Board Member for the Jewish Community Foundation in San Diego.
I was introduced to UpLyft and our Founder in 2018. I was skeptical at first of the product mostly because I was not familiar with the field and I did not have a frame of reference for how “unique” UpLyft was or the value proposition it embodied. With an investor mentality, I performed due diligence on the durable medical equipment (DME) landscape, other “lifts” on the market for transferring individuals from bedside to wheelchair, and the size of the market opportunity in the US and around the world. Additionally, I had the benefit of being introduced to the company by my contract manufacturer at my last venture (who was slated to be the contract manufacturer for UpLyft), and that helped gain the confidence that we could manufacture UpLyft with impeccable quality, reasonable cost basis, and in a reasonable timeline. I then signed on to be UpLyft’s President and CEO and since that time we have raised capital, performed extensive customer validation (both for the direct to consumer home market and the for the institutional healthcare facility marketplace), accepted pre-orders from customers, and now are staging the business and technology for mass manufacturing in an FDA-compliant manner.
M7: UpLyft is the world’s first Self Transfer System from bed to wheelchair for people with limited mobility. What are the challenges you faced to launch a high-tech innovation like this?
CM: Just like any pre-revenue medical device venture, capitalization is key, and you need to kiss a lot of frogs to obtain the capital necessary to invest in manufacturing so you can mass scale your product. Some refer to this as the valley of death. Initially, we were getting lots of questions on customer validation. Things like “the data suggests this will be a huge success, but we have no proof that customers will be this.” Accordingly, we embarked on several initiatives including:
1. Circulation of surveys to potential customers (and family members, caregivers, and healthcare facility workers) to ascertain what was most important from a product feature, utility, and pricing perspective. Check out our B2B Healthcare Facilities for Nurses/Caregivers.
2. Providing in-person demonstrations where we captured testimonials of use and purchase interest.
3. Creating video content of UpLyft in use (seeing is believing).
4. After securing some angel capital that we could devote to efforts outside of R&D prototype creation and patent filing costs, we were able to establish a digital footprint in 2020 (website, order taking capability, e-mail outreach, social media utility, and engagement) whereby actual customer interest could be measured via open pre-order commitments.
With this customer validation now in hand, we believe we can be successful in obtaining the necessary capital (and reducing financing risk) to commence manufacturing and finally provide our pre-order customers and other potential customers a delivery date certain so they have the confidence to place a deposit with us and manufacture and deliver products to them.