“RiboWiz offers customized services and web-based subscription licensing to maximize recombinant protein production, e.g. biologics, vaccines, antibodies, enzymes, and pesticides, for life science companies using proprietary RiboScan™ software platform. RiboScan™ accurately predicts protein expression and maximizes protein production by simulating and modulating novel ribosome dynamics during protein synthesis. This results in less trial-and-error and parallel laboratory testing and fewer abandoned projects which generates cost savings of $50K -$500K+ per R&D project and shortens those project’s turnaround time from 2-10+ years to 1-6 months. RiboWiz’s disruptive service enables clients to bring more innovative products to market faster, giving them a competitive edge.”
What was the original seed of the idea that lead you to launch your company?
When I was 14, I had a vision to combine science, engineering, and medicine and use that knowledge to form a company which would impact the world. Developing that knowledge and technology took many years of research at NC State University. You could say it had been programmed in my genes to launch RiboWiz.
What inspired you to go “all in” on making this vision a reality?
I believe that my technology can be used to advance medicine and biotechnology – that it will help decrease the cost of medicine and other products by making proteins faster and easier to produce. I also took a calculated risk by going “all in”. The calculation involved using the following variables: intuition, sixth sense, favorable market research and business plan, “you only live once,” and the urge to make a long-lasting impact on the world.
What were some early challenges you faced?
I would say having to face “bad luck” – things happen that one cannot control which adversely affects the business. Luck, good or bad, is also an important component of building a successful – or unsuccessful business.
Name one person or resource that really made a difference in your early growth?
There were many people and resources that made the difference; I cannot trace it to just one. NC State’s OTCNV helped get the company on its feet during spin-out and licensing. NC State News helped with the press releases. The Lulu eGames helped us with the initial funding for business development. CED helped RiboWiz connect with advisors, mentors, talents, and potential customers. HQ Raleigh helped us establish a “home” and provided us with the community and resources for RiboWiz to thrive. Lastly, SBTDC helped us subsidize interns costs, which otherwise would be quite costly for a startup.
Who is your most significant client/customer and why are they important to your company?
All of our customers are important, but the most important are our early adopters. They are the first customers who adopted our technology for use in their business. Their names are confidential, but I can say they are global ag-biotech and global pharmaceutical companies.
What do you feel makes the Triangle a great place to grow a company?
The Triangle is a fabulous place to grow companies because of the resources, communities, and education available to help entrepreneurs start their business. It requires an ecosystem for startups to survive and thrive. The cost of living is also much, much cheaper than other entrepreneurial cities like Boston and San Francisco.
Tell us your favorite client/customer success story?
Closing the deal with clients is always a success story – but closing that first deal and meeting that client’s unmet needs and getting paid for the hard work is always my favorite story.
What is one piece of advice you would give emerging entrepreneurs?
There are a lot of ups and down – much like a roller coaster. Having a good support system is paramount. Be sure to take care of your mental and physical health first, then take care of your business. Starting a company is a lifestyle change. Always do your research before diving in.
What is your favorite thing to do to help blow off steam?
I like to go on walks, call up family to rant, and run on the treadmill to blow off steam. Plants and water (aquariums, swimming pools, lakes) really help as well.
Any memorable (funny or otherwise) stories from your early fundraising or sales activities?
One of the most memorable stories is when my customers gave me a roaring cheer and applause after I gave a seminar to a full auditorium. The fact that my invention can help them make a difference in their business and eventually change how the life science industry operates – that was the most memorable part of starting a company.