5 Life Lessons With Bernadine Lim - COO of Quantumcyte
QuantumCyte recently won the global startup competition Slingshot by Enterprise Singapore. The biotech startup from the United States’ key value proposition is that it has an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-integrated solution that provides more accurate test results for cancer patients, which allow for better assessment of treatment options for the patients. Here, we talk to their CEO about what drives her to success.
I'm currently the Chief Commercial Officer of Quantumcyte Inc., which has built a novel technology platform, in modern pathology, that annotates, enriches and extracts molecular material directly from targeted regions of interest (cancer cells). In turn, this delivers genomic data that leads to actionable and highly targeted insights for both clinicians and researchers that need complete molecular data to yield better patient outcomes. The technology is patented and endorsed for clinical and research markets.
1) It pays to stay focused as a team
Despite the ups and downs plus extreme stress of working in a start-up, it's important to stay focused on the why and the vision not just for oneself but as a team. We can harness so much more as a team, especially when we are trying to challenge & transform the status quo in the business. Our team shares a common passion & vision to our customers that we can deliver a novel solution that brings about better patient outcomes, especially for the unmet needs of 25% of cancer patients. in this case, our customers are clinicians – oncologists, pathologists and researchers.
2) Don't be intimidated because you are not an industry expert
I was formerly working at international investment banks, handling global investments in bio/medtech and healthcare. Not being an industry expert has allowed me to think outside of the box. My team and I are acutely cognizant about the need to communicate QuantumCyte's key value proposition in a crystal clear way that’s easily understood by stakeholders, especially investors. That's how we refined the messaging and distilled it to its very essence: QuantumCyte provides answers to 25% of cancer patients with non-diagnostic tissue biopsies. This in turn allows them equal access to modern medicines and treatments which they otherwise would not be able to have.
Remember there are always other people who think differently – hang out with them and learn from them. At the end of the day, as long as you have good strategic business instincts and solid people on the team, you can succeed, no matter the industry! Trust your gut instincts!
3) Stay strategic and agile in how you get to your end goals
That would most likely mean you will make mistakes on your way to reaching your goals. I have realized you do not need to be perfect; perfection stands in the way of progress.
In my journey to bring investors on board, I have met with many potentials but not everyone gets it or is aligned with QuantumCyte's vision to modernise pathology with our novel technology. Our approach is transformational in how we can now provide pure cellular data that not only improve patient outcomes but also opens up pathways that accelerate cancer research and discoveries.
I prefer to focus on taking small steps and celebrating wins big or small as they are all hard-earned. From being told that our technology is making a difference by our customers, to being able to secure more funding from investors, everything points to the belief that we are doing the right things and headed in the right direction.
Just this February, we made it to the Top 100 Human Health companies by global venture capital firm SOSV. The aim of SOSV Human Health 100 is to showcase all the ways that the miraculous power of technology, guided by brilliant and relentless founders, is bettering human health.
4) To all the women warriors who are founders and part of start-ups or are thinking of starting one
Don't overthink – identify like-minded women to work with and support each other. If you think you have a brilliant idea and have a solution to a big problem, never be afraid to take the plunge. Test your value proposition on as many people as possible – potential customers, collaborators, investors and see if they get excited by your idea!
5) Realize you cannot have it all and treasure little precious moments
Life is unpredictable and throws you many curveballs. Try to enjoy the little moments – For me, watching my three children grow up in a different country from me (they were all born in San Francisco and I was born in Singapore) has been an amazing life journey. Along the way, I look forward to going to baseball games when the SF Giants are playing with my husband, love listening to country music's greatest classics such as Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn and rummaging through estate and garage sales.
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