2010 03 05
When I was at my last fund [ed: two funds ago], we spent a lot of time talking about convergence.
Drugs and devices. Devices and IT. IT and drugs. Services and biotech. I don’t know if we were necessarily trailblazers, but I think we were giving serious thought to innovative convergent startups in the medical sector earlier than many of our peers. It always helps to work for good people who keep an open mind.
But we weren’t giving enough thought to convergence that involved technologies outside of the medical technology sphere. I once sat down with a successful biotech entrepreneur-turned-investor. He told me about having a tough (seemingly biotechy) problem. And while walking across the campus of an august academic institution he realized that another discipline probably already had the answer. Or at least 90% of the answer. And they did. He’d spent all that time trying to re-invent a connector between to spheres…and yet those folks already knew the axle inside and out.
Sometimes all the noise of our myopic, sector-focused lives leads us to miss opportunities to bring disciplines together. The next wave of DNA analysis (not just DNA sequencing, but DNA analysis…watch out Dx platforms!) companies gets it. Certainly one of the founders of those companies serves as a great ambassador for the theme. These companies are taking the wealth of manufacturing capacity and advances from the solid-state industry and leveraging them in life sciences. As it turns out, a lot of really smart people have spent their careers developing some pretty incredible technologies and processes that can help the life sciences.
Now that’s convergence.