Mike Stadnisky - Thielsen Capital - Part 1

Familial Exposure to Business & Science at a Young Age | The Importance of “Care Before You Share” | Actively Managing Your Time | A PhD is a 10,000 Hour Degree

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Part 1 of 3. My guest for this week’s episode is Mike Stadnisky, Managing Director of Thielsen Capital. Thielsen Capital is a seed-stage financing syndicate network bringing together life science investors, operators, and innovators to drive exceptional outcomes for founding teams, investors, and science. Before Thielsen, Mike was the CEO of Phitonex, which Thermo Fisher acquired. He was also VP & GM of Informatics at BD Life Sciences and was the CEO of FlowJo before its acquisition by BD. He has also taught at MIT Sloan, authored 10 patents, and won the 2019 International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry Innovation Award.

Join us as we sit down with Mike Stadnisky as he discusses his early exposure to leadership in business and the obsession that drew him to science. How he acquired critical and transformative skills as a student brand manager at Red Bull, his experience in Michael Brown’s lab at UVA, and his thoughts on the importance of lab culture and team dynamics in research environments. Please enjoy my conversation with Mike Stadnisky.

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Mike Stadnisky is the Managing Director of Thielsen Capital. Thielsen Capital is a seed-stage financing syndicate network bringing together life science investors, operators, and innovators to drive exceptional outcomes for founding teams, investors, and science. Before Thielsen, Mike was the CEO of Phitonex, which Thermo Fisher acquired. He was also VP & GM of Informatics at BD Life Sciences and was the CEO of FlowJo before its acquisition by BD. He has also taught at MIT Sloan, authored 10 patents, and won the 2019 International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry Innovation Award.

Mike Stadnisky
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Episode Transcript

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00:00:01: Welcome to the Biotech Startups Podcast by Excedr. Join us as we speak with first-time founders, serial entrepreneurs, and experienced investors about the challenges and triumphs of running a biotech startup from pre-seed to IPO with your host, Jon Chee. 

Jon - 00:00:23: My guest today is Mike Stadnisky, Managing Director of Thielsen Capital. Thielsen Capital is a C-stage financing syndicate network bringing together life science investors, operators, and innovators to drive exceptional outcomes for founding teams, investors, and science. Before Thielsen, Mike was the CEO of Phytonix, which was acquired by Thermo Fisher. He was also VP and GM of Informatics at BD Life Sciences and was the CEO of Flojo before its acquisition by BD. He has also taught at MIT Sloan, is an author of 10 patents, and won the 2019 International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry Innovation Award. Over the next three episodes, we cover a wide range of topics, including Mike's time working for Red Bull as an undergrad, his pivotal grad school experience at the University of Virginia, his transition into entrepreneurship and business development, his advice on creating and nurturing fruitful partnerships, and the lessons learned going through multiple mergers and acquisitions. Today, we'll explore Mike's early exposure to business and science. The critical skills he acquired while at Red Bull, his transformative experience in Michael Brown's lab at UVA, and his thoughts on the importance of lab culture and team dynamics in research environments. Without further ado, let's dive into this episode of the Biotech Startups Podcast. Mike, so good to see you. Thanks for coming on the podcast.

Mike - 00:01:38: Good to see you, Jon

Jon - 00:01:39: We're doing some homework on our end and really trying to find a fun place to start. And we wanted to turn back the hands of time and really kind of dig in a little bit into your upbringing and really just kind of learn from you and get inspired on what formed your leadership style as you were growing up and your overall business philosophy.

Mike - 00:01:57: Sure. Pick it up with that. From a very early age, my dad would tell me what was going on at work. And so he was a chemical engineer by training. He worked for Millipore, full circle because they ended up putting out a flow cytometer later in water purification. And we moved to Delaware, so DuPont, so chemicals. And then later on, got into water purification and then much later on into pumps. And I mean, I was always really drawn to science because of that, because he would talk about the technical side of the business, but also he would talk about like very plainly with me. I remember being in middle school and he was talking about, essentially a labor negotiation. And there was no holds barred on like, hey, this is where they're coming from. This is where I'm coming from. Or, you know, things when he was having to deal with lawyers, he'd come home in a suit and said, you know, hey, I want to catch up, but I really need to go take a shower first because I've been with lawyers. And, you know, as a young kid, like, you don't realize that you're almost getting these like business lessons. And I'm not sure if it was intentional or not, but it was like, hey, we're going to have these conversations really middle school and high school. And I didn't at the time, I didn't really think much of them. Right. And I think come to find out later, I think from an early age, I was just exposed to more aspects of the different almost like sides. Right. If there's this polygon that is business. And I think that really, he's gave me these exposures to these sides that I think a lot of people don't get to see. And some of those I've never had to touch. Right. Whether maybe because the technology was a little bit different or the issues that he was dealing with are different because he always, generally speaking, ran a little large manufacturing operations. And I said things simultaneously. I got to see. The push and pull and sacrifice that my family had to make because of the career path that he chose and the amount that he had to travel and all the rest of that. So I got to see that with my family and the sacrifices my mom had to make to make that work and what they did also get me through school and all those different aspects. I think that those are really formative pieces for me. And I think each one of those conversations, I always joke like I got my MBA from my dad before I ever even considered what the heck I wanted to do with it. And so from that point on, he's always been a really close advisor. So I'm really blessed and really lucky that I have that exposure early on. It was a lesson for me. You know, it's a lesson for me now. I'm like, I'll take a conference call in my car with my son. And I'm like, listen, like, do you know what we're talking about there? You know, kind of abstract. And I'm like, yeah, this is what we're doing. You don't have to go into gross detail. And, you know, sometimes you have to tell people to watch their language a little bit, but like, don't say that. Don't say that at school. I guess it kind of opened my eyes to being like, hey, all these items, I mean, these are things you, literally, they're not taught in school, but they're critical to how we form business and the kind of frame of reference we have, right? And remember that, maybe just to take one step back, like a business is an organizational structure and we put around something that we want to affect change in the outside universe, right? There's multiple ways we could do that. It could be a nonprofit, it could be a university, right? And so I think from early on, I definitely was. Raise thinking that and knowing that private enterprise is a way you could actually do that and that you could make a living from it and make a living also being a geek which i think is another sort of exceptional thing to learn at an early age, right? I mean, I think it seems obvious to us now, right? Because The Geek Show on here at the Earth, and frankly, they have over the past 40 years. But I think when I was growing up in the 80s and 90s, I don't think that was patently obvious, you know? And I think the generation before us knew that because of the space race and because of Kennedy's emphasis on that and because everyone was an engineer, right?

Jon - 00:05:26: Yep.

Mike  - 00:05:26: Everyone was building something.

Jon - 00:05:28: Yeah. 

Mike - 00:05:28: Then it kind of went away. I think we're coming back around on that. You know, I think for the people who listen to this podcast, they're builders and they're engineers and they're scientists. They kind of get it. But I think society-wide, I mean, I think that would be great if we could get back into that same kind of mindset of being builders and engineers. But anyway, I think it was a very different, even mindset that they had towards business, where it was like... No one was just doing business for business sake. They were engineers who were like, hey, okay, we just have to put a business around this thing.

Jon - 00:05:58: Yeah,

Mike - 00:05:59: Because we need to make a living.

Jon - 00:06:00: Yeah, we've got to pay the bills. Yeah,

Mike - 00:06:02: because this is a generation that engineered, just the generation just before engineering, the most complicated human structure that's ever been built, right? Like, so they're like, okay, well, we'll build a business around it and then we'll make this thing, right? That's also why you see a lot of businesses that are founded around the same time, right? And so looking back on that now, that was really formative for me. I was just lucky to have that. And I was also lucky when I was in middle school and high school to just see those kind of environments. Like to have a job in a cubicle, which had created a lifelong hatred of cubicles.

Jon - 00:06:32: Yeah, that's so funny because I had the same experience. My first cubicle job, and it was like a suit and tie type situation. We would all have our ties in our desks. But anytime the CEO would come through, ties on. So it's like CEOs in, and then we're just like quickly like tied up. And as he's doing his rounds, everyone's like buttoned up. And then the days that he's not there, just put it back in.

Mike - 00:06:55: That's why the clip-on was invented, right? I mean, it was...

Jon - 00:06:57: Yeah, it was just like, boop, we're good.

Mike  - 00:07:00: Because that's important.

Jon - 00:07:01: Yeah, it's super important, right?

Mike - 00:07:03: That's a different kind of management by walking around, I guess. Just management. People like are adhering to the dress code.

Jon - 00:07:09: Yeah, unbelievable. There's so many directions I want to take this. And I guess it sounds like your father was both in business and science. Did one appeal to you more than the other? Or was it these are both sick?

Mike - 00:07:21: No. It was my... Much more of the science that drew me. I was just obsessed. Yeah, I just... I couldn't get enough. And I think at least when we were growing up, thankfully, it's different now. I have a nine-year-old son. He works in a lab and can do cool stuff. And his dissector name is already... I'm like, dude, I would have killed for that when I was his age. So it was much more standard like you're going to learn Linnaean biology. You're going to learn taxonomy. All that's going to be from this textbook. And that was really all... It's always how it was. You're lucky to get your hands on a microscope before you're in eighth grade. I think... For me, the proof in the pudding, at least at a young age, was I grabbed an old chemistry textbook of his and just started studying it on my own. It felt like secret knowledge when I was a kid. So I read a ton of science fiction. And when you actually start reading a textbook around chemistry, you're like, oh, man. It's kind of like being let in the secret door. You're like, whoa, there's knowledge here. And man, you could do some cool stuff with this.

Jon - 00:08:13: Yeah. It's like alchemy.

Mike - 00:08:14: It's totally like alchemy. As a kid, yeah, you're like, whoa, we can make stuff. This is before the biotech revolution too, right? You had told me that. At that time, you could effectively, I guess in kid language, teach a bacteria how to sing a new song. It would have blown the brain out of the back of my head. So just even having that access was just awesome. And I had the privilege of going to a high school where this to me was like, this was it for me. This would be his niece. Freshman and sophomore year, there was a combined biology and chemistry program. So you did one semester biology, three semester chemistry, and then two semesters of biology by the way, whoever came up with that idea at Stanford University, unbelievable. Because they're not... They're not siloed, right? Right off the gate, it's like, if you could kind of write a script for like, hey, how do you get kids interested in life science? That's it. That's it. That's it. You show them that there's two sides of this and that they're dependent on each other, right? And I remember having those classes and then watching Gattaca. And that was it for me. I was like, I'm hooked.

Jon - 00:09:10: Yeah.

Mike - 00:09:10: Maybe you have the same experience.

Jon - 00:09:12: Yeah. That's so funny that you brought up Gattaca. It's the same experience as me. I agree with you. I think it always felt siloed, almost like two kind of like fiefdoms. Chemistry and biology, that is. But it took me until like university. I did have the high school program, but it didn't take me until university to like really stitch it all together. And I'm going to guess that experience probably informed your decision to do biochemistry at Clemson.

Mike - 00:09:35: Absolutely.

Jon - 00:09:36: And you're talking about your son having like lab experience as a nine-year-old. Did you have a lab experience as an undergrad?

Mike - 00:09:42: Yeah. I mean, but look, like I didn't get to touch biochemistry again until I was a junior. It's like you're kind of back on the recipe of like you got to, you know, two cups of sugar and, you know, you got to do all the basic classes. Even if you come up with a bunch of credit, it doesn't matter. Like you got to check all these boxes first, which is fine. And at that point, it's almost like you're earning the advanced biochemistry course. It certainly led into, I mean, I still thought I was going to be an engineer when I started and then like briefly thought I was going to be a political scientist. Or like I don't even know what political scientist would be. And it's no offense to people who have a political science degree, but like just having been in multiple political science classes doesn't seem very scientific to me. But anyway, I digress. The other like appealing thing about biochemistry, and I'll come right around to your lab question, is it was hard. Like the first biochem class, it was pretty much like you better buckle up, folks. And it clumps in because it's got an agricultural background. It's kind of wild, like the number of folks. Like you could divide the whole universe, right? You have the two kids in the front that were going to dental school. So they had more people than anybody because statistically speaking, that was really hard. All the pre-meds, right? You know, the collar-wearing pre-meds, sort of pre-gunners. And then you had the ag folks who were like... Some bad, some not, right? So like this is before Carhartt was school. So you knew exactly who they were. And then you had like the biochemistry kids who were like finally, like after years of being like you are, you know, this is like, you're at NECA, you know, you're like, oh my God, we're here. Act in all day, let's do it. And just on the edge of the seat, everyone's telling us to shut up because we're asking questions, right? Like, hey, tell us about rigor mortis and how actin and myosin are locked. And they're like, yeah, like more. And everyone's like, yo, can we go? So I think that's what is appealing about biochemistry. And I think there was a cohort, really two years of classes that both kind of really vibe on that. I think that was, I was really lucky with that. And then I had some research experience in undergrad. I mean, it was good exposure, but I mean, it's amazing that the postdoc just tolerated my assistance in that lab. I mean, I was not useful. I should have been washing glassware.

Jon - 00:11:37: Yeah, yeah. That was the same experience with me. And like in retrospect, and I joke about this, but I'm like half joking only. It's like, oh, I was a liability. In that lab, I probably destroyed the cell lines, not like doing it properly. And the postdoc just like,

Mike - 00:11:53: they need like a fake cell culture lab for people like you and I, right? I mean, it's a wonderful way where I'm going to like move from there. I mean, luckily that's something else where the narrative has changed, where they like get you in early enough so that you know what not to break. At least they're getting them in as like sophomores and freshmen. Because like, yeah, you do all these like lab experiments, which are totally cookbook, right? Like run a gel, like there's nothing compared. I mean, that's, it's like learning how to like pass a ball and then all of a sudden playing rock. I mean, it is that much of a difference in terms of how full contact the research environment was. It's like a wonder. I mean, people like you and I are like, we still want to do this. The mentors must've been like, all right, man, well, good luck. I mean,

Jon - 00:12:26: you're entering a world of pain and you don't know where the pain is derived from. Like more often than not, you're just like running an assay and just like doing it. What you think is like the exact same way and just getting very different results. You're just like, hmm, well, the book told me it was supposed to come out this way, but it clearly didn't. And I don't know how to troubleshoot this.

Mike - 00:12:46: Oh yeah. Like, gosh, just the number of cutting out the wrong band from a gel. Pretty mass spec. Or the number of protocols that like messed. It was just like, I mean, no wonder consumable budgets for undergrad labs are expensive. Like it's just, you're just ripping through stuff. I mean, I think I had like one personal win, which is like, I still remember, which is like I was able to program the HPLC robot to like drop. Water where it needed to go, which is like, honestly, simpler than what I see kids doing with like Lego robotics. Now like way simpler but at that time i was like yeah look at me.

Jon - 00:13:21: Yeah yeah that's so funny so it sounded like and you can correct me if i'm wrong the undergraduate experience was more a little bit like the beginning just like cram it and not until the later junior senior years where you actually got more hands-on but even at that it was still kind of surface level at that.

Mike - 00:13:38: very much so i mean i think i would call it like a very traditional didactic education in that regard i mean great biochemistry program and like you come out knowing all the fundamentals and the nice part about the scholarship program i was in you could choose any class and take it so you know i got to take middle eastern politics i was got to take like an advanced microbiology course i could take a botany course so like i think it was almost that part was actually more like a traditional university education where you're actually getting a little bit more parents education which i really appreciate so it's hard almost kind of now to look back and kind of stack up like would it have been worth it to spend more time in the lab doing undergraduate research depends what you're trying to do i mean i know guys have got full rights i mean that's awesome that's what they want to do and they knew really early on that's not what i wanted to do and i look back now i don't think there's a level of intentionality there i just think it was more just like Hey, what's fun? This will be the only time in my life where I'm able to learn all this stuff, essentially professionally. So let's go try this. And there's also a ton of outside the classroom education that was going on. I think the one notable one that people keep coming back to, and it's actually like, depending on who the person is, if they don't understand the science, they'll be like, oh, this is Mike. And they'll be like, he's got a PhD, but he used to work for Red Bull. Like, okay, that's your spin. Okay, that's fine. But that in itself was like, to me, that was like a transformative experience. I did not expect to get. And funny enough, I remember when I wait on incubation times, I'll be writing up my Red Bull reports and like trying to combine those two and kind of smash them together. I ended up being something that was really important, particularly post PhD. So there was always something that was outside the classroom that was always going to grab my attention. And again, I don't think that was intentional. It was more like looking back. It was like, well, those are good opportunities that I took.

Jon - 00:15:16: What was that Red Bull experience like? If we can kind of dive in a little bit. I'm fascinated. My one friend growing up was really good at skating and he was sponsored at one point in time. And so my one interface with Red Bull was just him coming over with crates of Red Bull to fill our fridge. But that's the extent. But it sounds like you had a more commercial responsibility. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Mike - 00:15:38: I mean, I remember the job being pitched to me by this guy I was on student government with. And I don't know why he chose me out to be their student brand manager. And you got to get one per campus. And this is before... At that time, there were some rules around like you cannot market this without Paul. It was completely... That was like separation of church and state. So it was kind of interesting. And I mean, the job was pitched to me as like, hey, dude, this guy from Cincinnati. Dude, all you do is you get free Red Bulls. And I was like, this is not like a job. But then I interviewed with my boss, Veronica. And she was asking really good questions, essentially trying to incite my skepticism of Red Bull. She's like, what do you not like about Red Bull? I was like, what's the difference? It's a different kind of company. I kind of like lambasted their ads, which I still don't. But the problem is we all remember them. So that's kind of the point. And I took the job. I was like, okay, well, this is some extra money. This will be fun. And I think what I didn't realize was I was joining them at kind of a seminal moment where they had just started creating a market where... I mean, you're selling two different cans of sugar with irrelevant amino acid in it and caffeine. So I'm going to talk about alchemy. This is real alchemy because there was just starting to be some competitors in the market. And we had to figure out a way. It's kind of interesting you share your experience. I think the gap... The gap I identified was a couple of gaps. The first gap was Red Bull is just seen as like this extreme sport thing, right? Skaters, snowboard. And it's so distant. Like you're in South Carolina and you see like a snowboarding video or someone's like doing a flip. Like, who cares?

Jon - 00:17:01: Yeah, yeah.

Mike  - 00:17:02: This doesn't relate. Like, I can't relate to this. And so that was the first gap. They're like, how do we leverage these assets? And my first kind of feeling was like, you don't?

Jon - 00:17:10: Yeah. Not snowboarding.

Mike - 00:17:12: Because I just can't care. Like, it's a lot of these different extreme sports. And so... Where we started there and where I think I had most of my success was kind of created the second thing, which was sort of like, okay, where do you meet people? Where they're in a moment of need of energy, right? For multiple different reasons. We can talk about some examples. And then how do you handle that interaction? Because remember, they're not paying for it. Your job, the thing you're selling is that they will remember and associate Red Bull with that need and in that moment. So you have to make that memory. That's really important. Because otherwise, if you just give somebody like a Red Bull in a library, which we did sampling, sure. And you do that during finals week. Okay, got it. That's block and tap. That's the simple stuff, okay? Okay, maybe people remember. Maybe they don't. Whatever, right? And we had whole teams. We had a mobile energy team. If you've ever seen the people on like the Red Bull truck, that's what we did. When you come to like block and tap and stuff where you know, and you're just doing sampling, good. Decent kind of retention there, but there's very little brand loyalty, right? And hard to measure, like, okay, how much exposure people get. So there's like three different types of interactions, I think, show how you can kind of insert that memory. The first one was the Society for Automotive Engineers, which ended up being a right place, right time kind of thing. These are guys that would choose to build a essentially miniaturized Formula One car. And from Thursday night until Monday morning, when they had to go back to school, these guys would not sleep. And instead of partying like, you know, every other college student, they would be in a workshop. On the edge of campus with the music blasting. Welding, you know, laying cat. I remember showing up, I still have mace and hair on the back of my neck stand. And the other thing was like, when do you choose your time, right? When do you go? And the answer is you don't go at 8 p.m. On a Friday. You go and it makes a difference to them, so I show up at 11 p.m. Or midnight. On a Friday. And they're like, who the hell is this guy? Right. So I'm like, who the hell are these people? This is what these folks are doing at midnight. It's amazing. There's no beer inside. It's okay. Like what, how this was happening here. And so then create this philosophy around like care before you share. And the first thing is I'm not there for Red Bull. I'm like, what are you guys doing? And then like, tell me about like, what are you even building? And then you get to nerd out. I mean, it turns out I ended up becoming a Formula One fan because of these guys. Right. I was just like, this is incredible. So this is this notion of like care and then boom, insert your, like, you got these great backpacks, like laptop bags that had little like little mini coolers in them. And then boom, hit them with Red Bull. Dude, I got to tell you, in that sequence, in that moment, if you can find something that's analogous to that, that's it. It was awesome.

Jon - 00:19:53: Incredible. Because like, I think on paper, people just think of like exactly what you're describing before. It was like final season. But if you just like dig a little bit deeper and caring before sharing, I've never heard that used in that way. And I love that. Because like, people can also smell it from a mile away if you don't give a shit. And so I'm going to imagine your enthusiasm when you got there was infectious and that kind of like, you know, people are very receptive to these kinds of things. And even outside of like, just Red Bull, just like whether sales, BD, marketing, like people have a great BS meter. And it's something that you can't just bludgeon someone with it and not give a crap. Relationships matter.

Mike - 00:20:30: Absolutely. I would add maybe a little part on that, which is that, and I think it is one of the unique things about our industry, is that I think it's what draws people into the industry. And then it draws people like you and I who like serve the biotech and biotech inform industry, which is that we get. It's been around for passionate people. And I think the mistake that people make is that they're like, well, you're passionate. That's great. Cool that you're working on that. You need this. Right. And then it's just, this is obviously something you need. And it's like, well, how are they passionate about? What specifically are they doing? You know, and I think having, to me, that kind of informed early on, like, maybe I don't have the solution for these people's problems. But no matter what, if I walk away and I'm stoked up on what they just told me about, or like that's something that's super cool, that's a win. I've acquired new knowledge. Again, we've created this relationship kind of from scratch. And it's not like, oh, I'm the greatest listener in the world. I'm not. I'm just not, right? I mean, people would always be like, you have two ears and one mouth. That's like a famous thing to say all the time in the South. And I'm like, yeah, that's great. But it made me uncomfortable. But at the same time, it's like, I don't think it's actually listening. I think there's this interaction of like... Hey, how can we affect each other a little bit about how excited you are about something? And if there's a fit here, then we can create like this flywheel of like, hey, you know what? This thing you're talking about over here that sucks, that's stopping you from this passion being, you know, this fire that we really want to stoke. Okay, now we've got something that can keep this going, right? And I think getting back to the Red Bull thing, that's what we did there. And I mean, I remember we ended up placing a fridge in their garage, and we ended up placing someone on the Baja team. It was like one of the first reality shows, and they followed this kid through the Baja season. And we ended up placing somebody on the FIA, which is the governing body for Formula One. And then my favorite story is I'm doing this in the middle of a bunch of cornfields in South Carolina, and then Red Bull buys a Formula One team.

Jon - 00:22:16: Oh, the timing.

Mike - 00:22:18: quite literally right. And they're like, how do we do automotive more? Now relate this back to what we just talked about. Okay, now you have an asset, and you have a very clear like, okay, we've got the whole story. And so that was a right place, right time kind of interaction. I think it taught me a lot about things that I would take with me. We did the same thing for a couple of other engineering groups, right, that were just doing that. And then also, I would also say like groups that were nerding about stuff that was also cultural was something else. It was a totally different axis. What was fantastic, right? I mean, I ended up celebrating very memorable. I ended up having a great interaction with the Indian Students Association. And they invited me to Holi, which is like the festival of colors. If you want to talk about people who need energy, it's like an endurance body painting festival. And I remember I brought the Red Bull cooler up, and they were starting to use that to mix with the paint. And I was like, this is it. I mean, and this was before Instagram, this was before like all that. I just remember so distinctly like, man, this is crazy. But it's another example where it's like... Here are people who are very passionate about the different events they're putting on and the different festivals. And they're just an amazing group. But again, another one where they're meeting up to plans. I can't remember what it was. They're meeting up to plan something and have a meal. And it was late on a Thursday night, which for most undergraduates, particularly in the South, is definitely the start of the weekend, if not Wednesday. And again, show up and they're like, what the heck are you doing? I'm like, I heard you guys were planning something. Like, what are you guys doing? Same kind of thing, right? And that ended up being an incredible relationship. Met some cool people. And I remember I used to play rugby. I remember showing up to, when I stopped playing, I remember actually showing up to a rugby game. And I was like coated head to toe. Mud and like different colors people were like man what is he getting into you know oh i'm just doing my job.

Jon - 00:24:00: Yep just out in the field.

Mike - 00:24:02: Here we are so anyway like i think it was just a blast and learned a ton had a great incredible boss who was a little bit sad that i didn't like end up continuing on with that but Yeah, Red Bull was awesome, man. It was super fun.

Jon - 00:24:15: That's super rad. And how did you go from being in the field, getting active, and then being like, hmm, time to get back in the lab for a PhD? Very different things, right? This is like, you're going out, you're going meeting new groups of people. I've always thought about my lab experience. And it can be very isolating. And I realized, even though this podcast might make me seem extroverted, I know myself, I'm actually pretty introverted. I'm good at conversations with small groups. But even for me, going into the lab, damn, it's lonely. It is lonely. So you're out in the field, you're meeting people. You're like, okay. I'm about to go into solitary confinement for a bit. What compelled you to do that? Kind of when did you know it was time to go back into the lab for your PhD?

Mike - 00:25:01: Sure, I mean, I think there was a very intense indication that this wasn't for me. I think kind of to the other end of what you're discussing. But, you know, when we would go and do like a long weekend from like random work. You just didn't sleep. You just burned the candle with a welding torch at both ends. And yeah, and to the point, it was all extra work all the time. And you had to be on. Like, I remember there being a discussion about like, how do I yawn?

Jon - 00:25:26: Oh, man.

Mike - 00:25:27: Like, you know what I mean? Like,

Jon - 00:25:28: yeah. Yeah,

Mike - 00:25:30: There was just a little bit of like, man, this is, I mean, like a notable time is like, okay, we go to a hotel in Tribeca and we're meetings all day. And then like, you go out to dinner and then you go out to party. And then like, all of a sudden, they're like, oh, hey. Puff Daddy's at this location. You need to go pitch him. Because you got to remember that Red Bull also did not pay for celebrity placements. So all of that stuff happened because people kind of in a similar scenario as we were just discussing would insert the product and get it somehow into that, right? So you're getting a BS in biochemistry, but all of a sudden you're pitching Puff Daddy. Which is that actually happened, right? Yeah. And the leverage there that we had was like both product, but also funny enough, riders. So the rider is a list that people send ahead to the concert hall, right? And so guess what? All these concert halls are all Coke or Pepsi venues. Red Bull is an independent company. But guess what? The band members and crew members and everybody wants because of their evening escapades. When they get to the end of that concert hall, they want Red Bull. So there's the leverage, right? And that's how you end up with all these placements, etc. So we did that. But it was enough of that. To just be like this life. I'll buy it. 26.

Jon - 00:26:41: Yeah. It sounds like it.

Mike - 00:26:43: Yeah. It's the opposite of what you described in the lab. It was like what?

Jon - 00:26:46: I got tired literally just putting myself in your shoes for a moment, like a full day. You party. And then you're like, oh, there's more work on your plate. And you've got to be on point. And you're like, all I want to do is sleep right now. Yeah.

Mike - 00:27:00: Because we're back up at seven eating. And then like, you're worried about yawning. And you know, like you're okay. Like this is like the quickest pass to like a fast. Yeah. You know what I mean? I also just think, look, I had never deviated from the course of still being a nerd, you know, and I just love science. And I mean, I remember giving a mini lecture at one of our meetings about, they probably didn't love it, but like how we could have chosen any random amino acid to be in it. Like, I remember we created a whole nother energy drink. I just had some other brand of amino acid. And people were like, that's a pretty good idea. And you're like, that's not what it is, right? Like people have an association with this. They have a relationship with the product, right? I still do. And I don't choose. Like, for instance, when I go into a store. If you're like, well, like I need to pick me up. Even to this day, it can't be afternoon because I'm old now. But like,

Jon - 00:27:44: yeah,

Mike - 00:27:44: I'm going to go choose a Red Bull, which is crazy to say, but like, there's a reason for that, right? The point is, is like, I had never deviated from being a scientist and being a nerd that whole time. And this was just something that was fun. It was very, very different. And I don't want to say it was like a distraction. At the time, I didn't realize all the stuff I was learning. I mean, they had this amazing triangle that we ended up using in the FloJo business, which was like, try, no. Leave. Love. And this was like before customer experience was like a real good buzzword. Like, they just had it figured out. And they're teaching undergrad. So they have to simplify it way down. You know, because most of the other folks who are doing this marketing with me are frankly what you consider like old school jobs and stuff at that time. I'm sure it's true. And you couldn't use alcohol marketing. So I was kind of like, okay, well, that's now. And so it was a bit of a sideshow. It ended up paying dividends. But another one of those things where I'm glad I did it, but I think in the time there wasn't like a... Intentional like oh hey this is gonna work i think the counterbalance to like the lab thing is i think this is now looking at it you know with hindsight is all of those things ended up helping me realize like how far away science and life science was from like anything that was consumerized.

Jon - 00:28:58: I would even say now it still feels that way and we've been doing this for a long time and it's like it's still like this?

Mike - 00:29:04: It's still like this you know and it's just so frustrating and i mean i think the easy stuff to do if you hire the right team and you talk about it in the right way is to use this stuff in your commercial efforts to be successful, right? Assuming that you've done the right, correct things on your product, et cetera. There's a huge basis of assumptions here, but I think the hard things to do are like, how do we meet our customers where they were like the experience that they should demand from their tools and from these businesses. Right. And so I think what we end up doing in biotech is over-serving with people because we simply cannot spend the capital to meet their expectations on on private software. I think it's one thing where I keep coming back to. I'm like, I'm sorry, your consumer software is just going to be the pants office because it's just, they're going to overspend on us. So what we're going to do is we're going to meet you on customer success and we're going to meet you there and you're going to have career relationships and we're going to work together. And it's going to be more like a team effort because we just simply can't address you there. And then we're going to bring the innovation on the other side, whether it be anywhere, consumers or what have you. And that's where all the money's going to get spent. But like your interaction with that is not going to be at the level of like It's not going to be the level of your iPhone. We just can't go there. And I think that's always going to be a gap. They're just going to always outpace us there. So it kind of puts the pressure back on us to be like, man, we really got to hire the right people, the right scientists, particularly to partner with our customers. And on the other side, we better be innovating where there's true pain points here that we're addressing where we can innovate so that we're meeting them on both sides. In the middle, we're never going to get to them the same way, right?

Jon - 00:30:35: So it sounds like you're like, okay, Red Bull, it's a wrap. You're now at UVA. Can you talk a little bit about your grad school experience and being in Michael Brown's lab?

Mike - 00:30:45: What I always tell people is like, a lot of people don't enjoy getting their PhD. Like they treat it like a grind. I frankly had a blast. Like I had to learn how to study, which was like a first. I mean, I think undergrad was rigorous, but I could just cram and make it. You know what I mean? And I was just lucky. And like, I was just good at school. I mean, folks that go to grad school are good at school. Like they like being in school. And there was some positive feedback. Some teachers kept being like, you're great at this. And you're like, sweet. I'm going to do this for 20 years. I'm going to do this for 30 years. Like in the end of grad school, you're like, oh, I'm not as good at this as I thought. And like, so you end up with two gaps. The first gap is like this academic gap. And the second one is what you described, which is like the lab gap, right? Okay, how do you close these, right? Then the academic gap, it was like, all right. It's like kind of the first time I was like, you know what? I'm just going to, I hate to say it. Like I treated it like a competition. I mean, I think people I went to grad school with will probably laugh and go, yeah, you did. And I was just like, I'll hustle. Like this is business now. Like, and it ended up being like, it turns out we were all in it together. Right. And I had a great grad school. Have kept up with some of them and like, I was really lucky about that. But at the time, I was like, this is happening. Like, I'm going to out-hustle, out-study, and I'm just going to absolutely, this academically, like, this, the game is on, right? Because you only have classes for like a year and a half. But you get to learn from experts. You know, I think the cell biology class at UVA was always, essentially, one teacher would come in and teach their expertise for a week. It was awesome. And you got to read journal articles. It was pure nerd all the time. I mean, it was like binge nerd method, right? And like, you just got to have that experience of just learning all of this. And then eventually, you kind of come around to like what you really want to, you know, sink your teeth into, right? And I got to tell you, it was definitely not yeast genetics. Because you go through a semester of that, you're like, that's holy smokes. Like, if I never have to draw another buddy yeast or like go through that again, I'll be totally happy. And like people that have done yeast genetics, and you know what I'm talking about. I mean, look, I'm glad you guys are doing that stuff. But holy smokes. Oh, like, so funny. Just that and like, all the histone modifications that you can ever imagine. Like still, like, it's in the recesses of our brain. We have like histone modification PTSD. Like, it's just like, well, so you know what you don't want to do, right?

Jon - 00:32:52: Yeah. Yeah.

Mike - 00:32:53: Which is important. It's important. Totally. It's actually, I'm in this position now, I get a lot of people career advice, and just figure out what you want to do first. Like, that's easy. I think that's really what the academic part of grad school was like. And then, like most graduate school programs, we do a bunch of rotations. And a lot of that's just about like sort of chemistry and the people you get along with. And it's funny, because I mean, you certainly want to get along with your PI, but like, it's awesome. You're a graduate student sitting in your lab, right? And a UVA, it's not a very postdoc heavy academic environment, which I didn't realize at the time, because I didn't know any different. But again, looking back on it now, it's really useful. Because if you're a PhD student, you don't just kind of want to be the intern of the postdoc, right? And this isn't to like put down big labs or put down programs that are all postdoc based. But if as you mature as a graduate student, you're able to really carve out your own research program and kind of just be frank, rule the roost a little bit and bring undergrads underneath you, like you're getting an exceptional graduate education, right? And I don't think, you know, graduate schools aren't judged on that. They're judged on like publications, grants, et cetera. But like that is not a good measure of the quality of the education, right? The good measure of the quality of education is like, are you doing something that you're going to do in your career? And the answer at UVA was yes, absolutely. They didn't position it that way. And again, I don't know if there was actually a lot of thinking around that, but it turns out like when I talked to folks who are like in biotech now, like the undergraduate student who ended up being way better, or sorry, the graduate student who ended up being way better in the lab than I was, like way better. Let's just be honest. Jeff Teo, you know who you are. Like looking back now, we're like, yeah, that was awesome. At the time, you're just in lab. So did a rotation in Mike Brown's lab. And Mike Brown's just an incredible. I mean, he's just. He's just an incredible human being. He's just somebody I look up to. And joining his lab was very small. I mean, at that time, essentially his lab was about the size of like a large office. Looked out on like an industrial courtyard and there was like an old Applied Biosystems machine in there and that took about a third of the lab. So it was like, they're all working in a cubicle again. It was close quarters. Like, we're in a submarine. So it was kind of like a nice esprit de corps, like when we had that, but like a really cool team of graduate students that were there. Again, there was a graduate student who was ruling the roost, Mavi. She was just awesome. Great personality, tons of energy. She ended up, by the way, joining BioNTech right before that.

Jon - 00:35:10: There we go.

Mike - 00:35:11: Yeah. So, you know what I mean? Like, it's like just wild, right? And she just did an incredible job. It was like. Creating a lab culture that the right people really wanted to be a part of. And my guy definitely gave her credit for that. It was incredible. And kind of keeping people honest, trying to keep people humble, particularly me, which I'm sure was a challenge. I mean, it was great. So I think that's really why I chose it. And then the science, I would say it was the 49% of the other reason to join too, right? You got to choose the right environment to be successful. Certainly saw that. And then the 49% was like, we get to study essentially the host immune interface for viruses. And we get to study innate immunity. And that was really appealing to me, right? I was sort of, I'm not going to say I was like anti-adaptive immunity, which is kind of like a strange thing to say, like that you can have an opinion like that, like that was CD4s. But like, immunologists know this, right? And first of all, there's a couple of other things. Let's just get clear of the air. All immunologists are jealous of neuroscientists. Okay, that's why we call them dendrites. Okay, that's why we call it the immune synapse. Let's just get that out of the way. Okay, that's point one. Point two, every immunologist has a favorite cell, and that will dictate kind of their personality and then how they like work in the universe, okay? We all have someone we know who's a B-cell biologist. They go to bed early. You know what I mean? Like they're B-cell biologists. We all know. Right? And then there's like CD4 biologists. Like they're actually very helpful. I've never met a CD4 biologist who's actually not themselves helpful. Okay. Now you got CD8 biologists, right? Like they're like, you know, kind of they're having their heyday right now. They're feeling their swagger, right? They're not killers. I studied NK cells. So like, you know, you got to be a killer, right? That's just the way. You got dendritic cells. They're a little, you know, people study dendritic cells a little more extra, right? So like people fall into these, this is pure theory, but like they fall in. And we were studying NK cells. It was fun. It was like, man, these are, they're like pretty aggressive cells and they're going in and kicking stuff up based on essentially MHC presentation. You know, like they're knocking down doors and kind of figuring out like where they're at later. And that frankly was probably, that probably fit my personality. It certainly fits some of the personality of other people who are in the lab. And so that was fun. The scientific stuff was fun. And it was also the first time I got to touch a flow cytometer.

Jon  - 00:37:20: By the way, everything you just described, I just had that Ratatouille moment. Because at Berkeley, I was in Tolman Hall, which by the way, doesn't exist anymore because they knocked it down because it's not seismic retrofitted. And our lab was also quite small. And it was funny too, because we're like quasi basement. So there was like a window, but it was only like this big. Yeah, just a little bit of daylight. I was like, oh my God. And our lab was a Bio-Rad Laboratories. And so it had that same interaction. I was like, what's that? Oh, that's the ZE5. Don't touch it. Very expensive. And I was like,

Mike - 00:37:56: Absolutely.

Jon - 00:37:57: All right.

Mike - 00:37:57: This is your first year in the lab. Like do not.

Jon - 00:38:00: Don't touch that, please.

Mike - 00:38:01: Don't touch. That's not for you.

Jon - 00:38:03: Yeah. You can touch the nano drop. Like that's okay. You touch the nano drop. Don't touch that, please. Yeah.

Mike - 00:38:07: You're in our own PCRs.

Jon - 00:38:09: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. It was massive on the vent. Like the ZE5 was like far larger. I was like, all right, I guess I'm going over here.

Mike - 00:38:16: Oh yeah. Like you work in your little two foot space or whatever with a tape line. Like Jon Cheese spots here or like, and then you label your pets and push them to the back.

Jon - 00:38:26: Yeah, that was exactly it. I remember that vividly. So it sounds like it was like in this lab where you first closed itometer. And I'm going to guess this is kind of where it kicked things off for you. And I'm going to guess it sounds like the academic track. You're right. No, not doing that.

Mike - 00:38:41: No, I considered for a long time. It sounds crazy because I think what ends up happening, this is like another side. I think what ends up happening is people look at like a resume or they look at like a LinkedIn or whatever. And they're like, wow they must have planned this whole thing out. No, they didn't. This is how we are being humans, right? We create this like backwards narrative. I didn't do any career planning. I didn't even really devote any thought to it, which I think might've been an advantage until way too late. I mean, Jon, until I was like a UVA, you walk down and want to graduate. I was like, oh man, what am I going to do with this? That's when the moment hit me. I was like, oh shit. Like and way too late. Advantage or disadvantage. I think that's one of the reasons I really enjoyed. I wasn't stressing about it. At that time, and it was just all about the science and the execution of science. And I had the opportunity to first work on the first flow cytometer I had was a fat scan, which was upgraded by SciTech. Because SciTech used to do upgrades in service. And it ran inside. It was like the Millennium Falcon. I mean, this thing was absolutely bomb-proof. But you had to talk to it correctly. You know, like you had to, like, oh, like sometimes the fluidic slumps are kind of like you need an elbow. And I very distinctly remember the first time running a flow cytometry experiment, like all day on a Saturday, it was Yufan who kind of just taught me that, like, hey, this is how you run a flow cytometry experiment. And gravitating towards that technology, I ended up bringing a lot more flow tech into our lab. And we ended up upgrading that. And we just didn't have a flow capacity in the lab, I would say, at that time. That's something that I got to really lead. And just I loved the tool side of it, which I think is something I'll kind of revisit in a second. Because even my PI kind of early on, when we were looking at RT-PCR machines, I started stacking them up. And I wrote like a five-page report. I'm like, why are we not going to go? With this Applied Biosystems thing that's a LAMP-based because it's got edge effects. He was like, where the hell did this come from? You know?

 Jon - 00:40:24: Yeah. You can handle this. I'm not going to.

Mike - 00:40:26: Yeah. And so it was like, oh, like, I was looking back, of course, I'm like, oh, that was a pretty early indication that, like, I was all about the tools. Like, it was tools all day for me. And there's a couple of distinct memories I have from graduate school. A couple of distinct memories. One, the first time I ever used FlowJo, I was crying. Because someone, the person who was running the core lab, dressed me down for not labeling my parameters. Oh. Just like... Just like FL1. It's the only time I ever cried in grad school, right? There's no crying in baseball. I'm always crying in baseball. And so, man, she dressed me down in front of the whole core. They're running their samples and she just, oh my God, it's savage. And I was like, I was like a beginning second year student. My family was visiting that weekend. And I remember I was just like wrecked.

Jon - 00:41:07: Oh no.

Mike - 00:41:08: My family was like, are you okay? I'm like, I just got my, like, I just got my buddy handed to me. Handed, like the whole hallway was like, what? I was like, man, you talk about something you'll never, even if I ran a flow cytometer to this day, I promise you those parameters, they'd be labeled, right? That's, it was like more than a decade ago. And the second thing was I would run these really, like later on in graduate school, when I started upping our flow capacity, we started running, you know, so there's cytokine assays and killing assays. And we started doing crazy stuff on a flow cytometer, like, Hey, can we run viral counts on here? Just like hacking, trying to hack the flow cytometer essentially. Right. And so what I would do on these really long services, long incubations is I would go for a run, like in these four hour incubations and I would come back and I would nap and I would put a hat over my head and it was a FlowJo branded hat. Go figure, man. I was just like sick. My brain or something. Yeah. So anyway, so it was just like, it was a lot of fun. And I think the lesson that if someone was like, give a graduate school talking like how to be successful in graduate school. Realize that the PhD is a 10,000 hour degree. There's a lot of ways to slice this, right? And I think people screw up in the way they organize their thoughts around it. It's very likely you don't have any responsibilities. It's very likely, practically speaking, that you don't have a mortgage. Anyone that's dependent on you. You might not even have it. It is the time to figure out what you can work every single week and still be a healthy human being and not do what I saw a lot of people do, which is like work 100 and then work 20, 20, then work 100. And this is hours per week, right? It's an ultra marathon. Like get in there. And if it's 60 hours and that's what you can handle per week, then do that. And it's not a flex. It's just like you are literally trying to get that time in and get it not as quickly as possible, as efficiently as possible so that you can maintain that level of performance, right? Because essentially, you think about a PhD. A PhD is like you're going to have for science. It's like we're creating an Olympic level scientist. This is your full-time job, right? Full-time plus. And I think that's what I realized midway through my PhD. I was like, wait a minute. And once I kind of had that realization of like, okay, this is an endurance effort and I need to figure out what a sustained effort can be. And of course, you're going to go beyond that sometimes. But this isn't a time to be thinking about work-life balance. Okay, this is a time to be like, I'm going to be an Olympic athlete as a PhD. It is a time to do that, right? Because that's just how that degree works. And I would do that again in a heartbeat of like, how do you figure that out? And it's important because if you figure that out early, then that's something you can take with and be like, I know where my limits are. Because life's going to get a crap load more complicated on the other end of the PhD, right? And all the things that you don't need to worry about now. It's a singular pursuit, right? People are like, oh, it's a singular pursuit of publications. No, it's a singular pursuit of a research project that you created. And the only person that cares about it is you, right? It's very rare that it's ever going to happen again. You're going to be on a team. You're going to be working on team projects. You're going to be depending on other people. They're going to go like how every team project goes, right? Where there's always going to be that one person. It's just the way it is. You know what I mean? You're going to have a mortgage. You're going to have more complications in your life. So use that time to really figure out what you're capable of in terms of your work and how you can run it like an ultra. It's not digression. I just think it's something that's really important because it's one of these grads that almost help people.

Jon - 00:44:22: I think it's critical. And that era for me too was kind of figuring out what was that sustainable level of pushing it but not burning out. I'm sure you were kind of scarred from the Red Bull experience. It's like, I don't want that. For me, it was that. It was like one, finding the sustainability. What is the limit without burning out? But also, what is as little that I could survive on? Personally, being in the lab with, let's just say, I had friends who were like, on Wall Street, just living. And I was like, I'm not living like you guys. And I resented it for sure. I'm not saying that it's a good thing to be underpaid. I'm not saying that. But I turned lemon into lemonade in this way. I was like, okay, what can I sustainably live on sustenance-wise and still maintain my sanity? And how can I push it to as much as I can without burning out? And for me, that experience kind of led into Exceeder, where it was like, okay, I don't need all these bells and whistles that TechCrunch is telling you that you should have. And I was like, no, like, I was in the lab super broke. And I was still having a blast, having an absolute blast. So I was like, okay, here's the baseline of like personal burn. And then it's time to take it up. Like, let's see how much mileage we can get out of this and do this for as long as possible. And so that was my experience. Obviously, with 2020 and 2021, it was like, cash for everybody, just like cash for everybody. And then you never have that point where you're tested. Like, what do you actually need to not bottom out and also not to redline too much? And you didn't have to have that introspection. But like, for me, that was like critical to my business philosophy. For better or for worse, it's like scar tissue I've built up. And I carry that with me to this day. But when you were talking about kind of like finding the sustainable path, I saw it on the other end as well.

Mike - 00:46:14: No, I love that. I love the insight because it applies to the personal management of your time. It applied to your own finances, right? But it also applies to how you create a business. Because you can't in all of these, you can't ever extend yourself. There is such a thing as redlining. I would also say you also can't understand, right? Because then all of a sudden you're on the other end of this, right? That's a really interesting insight. Like, I would have never thought about relating this, but it's like, it's essentially kind of core. The thesis that how do you run, not just like a sustainable business, but like, how do you run an efficient business? How do you measure that? And how do you engineer to build for that? Right? I still think we're in the hangover period where there's just so much capital, right? And to your point, that's almost like antithetical to the fact that like we pay graduate students, at least when I was there, like essentially almost at the poverty.

Jon - 00:47:00: Yeah, nothing.

Mike - 00:47:00: Which is sort of crazy. Like how do you reconcile those two things? And I think that maybe the danger there, and we're certainly seeing the downside of it now, right? With a lot of different layoffs in biotech is like, you got a lot of lives that are being fundamentally uprooted, right? Because when you train graduate students in an environment where they're literally like, like, what flavor of ramen? Like then you put them in charge of a business or a team, and then you're like, it's pork. You know, I think that's a bit of a twisted environment, right? I think that that's tough. I think the lesson that you're talking about in terms of like, moderation and sobriety maybe is like an interesting one.

Jon - 00:47:33: Not by choice, right? It was like, I'm sure it could have played out in a very different way. If you're talking about the rotations, I just didn't happen to stick in a lab that was like, there's like a slosh run on campus for some labs and they just ball out. And like you talk about consumable spend, all right, 40K, whatever, stick it in the freezer. Oh, I forgot that I bought that. You know, there's kind of like that element, but I just wasn't in that lab. The lab that I gravitated to was just the lights. I was like, oh, sunlight and like the lab and our postdoc, Candice was again, someone who just took everyone under her wing. Similar situation. I was like, yep, I'm in this lab for better, for worse and not planned, just like stumbled into it.

Mike - 00:48:14: Yeah. I think that's a really interesting lesson. I think something else that I don't know how you'd run this study, but I think you have to hustle harder when you're a graduate student in those kinds of labs, because you are kind of more in a startup already. The way you're phrasing, I've never even thought about this this way, but like you and I were working for startups, right? I mean, here was a PI who was probably was getting emails from the university being like, hey, by the way, you better cover 10% more of your salary next year in grants. And they're like, cool. Which was an absolute reality for our PI's, right? And they're like, how the heck do I do this? And you realize there's kind of a lot of skin in the game because you can't have your lab fail. You know this, like, and graduate students are in these smaller labs. You know, like when your PI comes to you and is like, hey, I'm going to get some of this data in the grant. Like what they're actually telling you is like, I need to eat, so do you. So let's get this production going. And I think that there's a lot more in it. It's like, I hadn't even thought of it that way. But like, man, we need to figure out who's like in these small labs and be like, all right.

Jon - 00:49:06: I truly believe, I mean, it was like a startup experience. It truly was in an academic realm. And academia has its own economic funniness to it. So after that coming out of the lab, I was like, well, time to learn non-academic practices and like shed that baggage.

Intro/Outro - 00:49:24: That's all for this episode of the Biotech Startups podcast. We hope you enjoyed our discussion with Mike Stadnisky. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, leave us a review and share it with your friends. Thanks for listening. And we look forward to having you join us again for part two of our conversation with Mike. The Biotech Startups Podcast is produced by Excedr. Don't want to miss an episode? Search for the Biotech Startups Podcast wherever you get your podcasts and click subscribe. Excedr provides research labs with equipment leases on founder-friendly terms to support paths to exceptional outcomes. To learn more, visit our website, www.excedr.com. On behalf of the team here at Excedr, thanks for listening. The Biotech Startups podcast provides general insights into the life science sector through the experiences of its guests. The use of information on this podcast or materials linked from the podcast is at the user's own risk. The views expressed by the participants are their own and are not the views of Excedr or sponsors. No reference to any product, service or company in the podcast is an endorsement by Excedr or its guests.