Looking back at last year, RheoDx did not stand out much at The Collider. They delivered a regular pitch in the first Demo Day and they were struggling to find a collective voice. Nevertheless, one would notice a clear attitude from day one: its 3 members were extremely hard-working, resilient and eager to learn.
Flashforward 6 months and RheoDx is at the crest of the wave. The company has become The Collider’s flagship, featuring in the news and already with an eye on a series A round. Today, we are happy to chat with Oliver Balcells, CEO of RheoDx, who tells us about his experience as an entrepreneur at The Collider and the future plans for RheoDx.
Meet The Colliders!
How did you hear about The Collider and what were your expectations before starting the program?
I heard about The Collider through LinkedIn. It grabbed my attention from the first moment. I had already been working in a venture capital and in a couple of start-ups. But The Collider offered me the possibility to start something from the beginning, bringing into the table cutting edge technology, best talent and market knowledge, and everything backed by a well-known institution as the Mobile World Capital.
What meet-the-expert session inspired you the most and why?
I have to say that I enjoyed a lot all the meet-the-expert sessions and I have learned something from each of them. But if I had to pick one, I would choose Ana Guasch’s session as one of the most inspiring since she is a great example of a serial entrepreneur. Ana is a person who sees opportunities where no one else sees them, and she is always looking for the next big thing.
It was inspiring for me and I have tried to apply ever after her Diverge-Converge Thinking concept: when facing a problematic situation, you first need to diverge, open every possible situation or solution and then converge, put a number of different pieces or perspectives of a topic together in some organized logical manner to find a single answer.
What’s the best part of becoming a founder of a technological startup?
The best part is really to start a new venture, to see the whole process being able to create a product that can make the world a better place. The company is a bit like your baby, it starts as an embryo and you prepare it to be ready to launch it to the market.
There is a lot of hard work and perseverance but like being a father, you learn a lot every day from your baby and it’s very fulfilling.
Working in a startup, is not like in a big company; whatever you do not do, no one else will. You need to row a lot.
This learning process has been really like a second MBA for me, having The Collider team walking next to us, has been of a great help.
Tell us about your greatest failure and major learning throughout the program?
Many people become overwhelmed by adversity. Entrepreneurs cannot afford this kind of reaction to difficult situations. The entrepreneurship path is long and plenty of small failures.
- But you must treat each challenge as an opportunity, take the company into new directions, explore new markets, and expand the business horizons in ways not thought of before.
- Be resilient in the face of adversity. Standing up to adversity often will make the people around you do the same.
- When things go wrong, find out why. There are times when you aren’t successful. The key is to use each situation as a learning experience, a challenge to do better next time. Thomas Edison often said there was no such thing as failure when it came to invent. Every wrong attempt is a step towards the solution.
Finally, what future do you oversee for RheoDx in the next few years?
RheoDx has a disruptive technology, we propose a new way to analyze blood without reagents or human observation, we propose to infer diseases related to blood cells based on physical measurements. This will be a change of paradigm in the market.
In the following months we expect to close a funding round and have 10 functional prototypes. We will distribute the prototypes to different hospitals, which we already have agreements with, to start the preclinical validation, know our specificity for some pathologies and improve our mathematical models.
In 2019 we would like to have a Series A funding round, finish the regulatory path to obtain the CE mark and with that we will have our first sales.