How do you apply Lean to Digital Health and Life Sciences?

Five years ago we brought evidence-based entrepreneurship to Life Sciences – teaching the first Lean Lean Launchpad class at UCSF, then the NIH and Imperial College. But it’s been awhile since I was in a room made up entirely of Life Science entrepreneurs. So I was excited to visit IndieBio, a life science accelerator in San Francisco. Think of IndieBio as “Y-Combinator for Life Sciences with a wet lab” and you get what they are trying to do. It’s a 4-month program to help biotech startups build their company and it comes with $250k in seed funding.

I sat down with Arvind Gupta, Founder and Managing Director of IndieBio and talked about how Lean methods apply to Life Sciences.

If you can’t see the video click here

The first half of the conversation talks about Lean and its origins.

The second half focuses on its applicability in Digital Health and Life Sciences.

18:19: Why the Lean Startup works for life science startups
19:20: The origins of Lean and I-Corps
22:34: Your science is not a company
26:53: Your investors may like you but it’s not why they fund you
28:53: Do you have a crazy person in the room — Innovators vs. entrepreneurs
32:30: Reducing startup risk – Evidence-based entrepreneurship in Life Science
35:30: Lean is a bounding box around infinite uncertainty

3 Responses

  1. Hi Steve,

    This is so relevant. We are working on a Life Sciences strategy for Israel. I will be in San Francisco Jan 5-9. Do you think you can introduce me and I will visit IndiBio?

    Any chance to meet you? We are actually flying in in Jan 5 morning and could drive up or meet you anywhere?

    Best Regards,

    Anya Eldan

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Steve, thank you so much for sharing this. Taking an i-Corps class through my university a year ago changed my life — I pivoted from being in academia and now work with start-ups full time :). I’ve combed the internet looking for the open sourced NIH-specific open sourced i-Corps class that teaches the curriculum in the “new order” you reference in this blog post: but I can’t seem to find it. If you might be able to direct me to the link, that would be much appreciated. So thankful for you and the work you do!

  3. A wonderful interview, bridging science and startups! We invested in several deep tech (medtech / IoT / robotics) startups that went through iCorps programs and we can’t recommend it enough.

    Our focus being — like IndieBio does for life sciences — to help through the next steps (from prototype to product), the teams who have figured out product/market fit and team/market fit early are much better positioned.

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