The data-driven entrepreneur
Successfully transitioning an idea from academia to entrepreneurship requires the right mindset. Jessica Green, co-founder and CTO of Phylagen, explains how starting with the right advisory team is also key.
Seeing possibility in the unseen
Harnessing the power of microbiomes to solve large-scale global challenges motivated Jessica Green to leave the university setting and join the startup world. "In a startup environment I realized we could move at a faster pace and have a greater societal impact," she explains.
While pharmaceuticals are the most widely known microbiome uses, Phylagen is developing applications beyond human health. "Using advanced microbiome technology, we can mitigate the negative consequences and enhance the positive elements."
Phylagen developed the capability to sequence and map the microbes in an environment, generating terabytes of data that, once analyzed, provides a powerful new decision-making tool. "Our capability in big data analytics allows us to cull actionable meaning out of large amounts of genetic information," says Green.
Academia celebrates the lone wolf. In building a company, the company comes first and everyone needs to work as a team for the success of the company.
Making the right connections
To move microbiome technology into a commercial setting, Green shifted her mindset. "Academia celebrates the lone wolf. In building a company, the company comes first and everyone needs to work as a team for the success of the company," she explains.
So Green, along with co-founder Harrison Dillon, developed a network of people and business partners to turn to for honest advice. "Assemble a trusted advisory team you can reach out to and who will give you good feedback," Green says. Being new to startups, Green trusted the advice of board member Dave Bagshaw and his recommendation of Silicon Valley Bank.
I’ve heard the metaphor of ‘eating glass’ in Silicon Valley. I feel totally ready for those difficult times.
Partnering with SVB for the long term
In SVB, Green found an advisor that is helping her company reach key milestones “All of our seed-round funding is held by Silicon Valley Bank," Green says. That funding allows her to build the core technology team, including wet lab expertise, data analytics, and software engineering, and prepare for Series A-round funding.
Green says her relationship with SVB gives her confidence to tackle challenges yet to come. “I’ve heard the metaphor of ‘eating glass’ in Silicon Valley. I feel totally ready for those difficult times.” With SVB in her corner, she has been able to make the most of the network and resources that come along with this partnership. “The personal touch I’ve had with SVB,” Green said, is now leading to a “conversation of financial resources and partnerships that will be available downstream,” It’s one she says she’s really looking forward to.
Green explains, "I've learned to trust my gut, and very often the feeling from a first interaction with someone holds true over time." The way SVB has initiated and maintained contact has strengthened the initial bond and laid the groundwork for a long and successful relationship.
At Silicon Valley Bank, we have conversations every day with technology visionaries who are shaping the future. We invited several clients on the frontlines to share their experiences and points of view on how to build a successful innovation company.
In this collection of stories, titled Next2 POV, you will hear about the vision, passion and sheer grit necessary to get going, and how building a trusted team of partners and advisors is a prerequisite for success. Our goal is for these stories to give you insight and inspiration to move your big idea forward.