Monday is the final event for the Global Impact Award, our business plan competition that awards up to $50,000 to impactful, scalable, and sustainable Washington University in St. Louis ventures.
As the final event inches closer, we’re excited to introduce the four finalist teams who are vying for the big award.
Industry: Healthcare / Patient Advocacy / Social Media
Total Number of Employees: 35
When They Formed: 2014
What problem are you solving?
Connecting people (patients, family, scientists and clinicians) affected by rare diseases
How do you solve the problem?
RareShare.org is an online platform that provides a social community for those affected by rare diseases. Along with forum discussions, we provide expert-curated scientific content in the form of landing pages for hundreds of rare diseases, podcasts and ebooks.
About the Founding Team Members:
Oversees entire Rare Genomics organization and keeps abreast of industry trends.
Jimmy received a BS in Cognitive Science, Molecular Biochemistry, & Biophysics from Yale University in 2001 and a MD/PhD in Cancer Genomics in 2012 from Johns Hopkins University. He most recently was a faculty member at Washington University in St. Louis.
Oversees entire Rare Genomics revenue generating operations.
Paul received a BS in International Business from Oral Roberts University in 1994 and a MS in Organization Leadership from Regent University in 2014.
Oversees strategic alliance partnerships for earned income and in-kind partnerships.
Nolin received a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Vanderbilt University in 2003 and a MS in Engineering and Technology Management from George Washington University in 2007.
Oversees business development specifically for RareShare.
Alice received a BS in Biomedical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University in 2011 and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2016.
Oversees scientific development and content for RareShare.
Deepa received a degree in Nutritional Biochemistry from Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda in 2001 and a PhD in Molecular / Cancer Biology from Wayne State University in 2009.
What is your favorite part about being an entrepreneur?
Jimmy Lin (JL): The most exciting part of entrepreneurship is having a vision of a product/service that solves a problem/gap in the world and start working towards solving it. Rare diseases is a long tail problem that is often overlooked and we are excited to provide creative solutions to address this.
Nolin Huddleston (NH): Entrepreneurship is an insurgency, you get scan the market and choose where, when, and how you are going to address the unmet needs. You have to be smart, quick, and resourceful enough to maneuver your team and industry partners together to make something new.
Alice Cheng (AC): Doing something that has never been done before, and learning as you build. Being challenged but always with the support of your core team, who are all aligned with the success of the organization.
Deepa Kushwaha (DK): Favorite part of being an entrepreneur is believing in the future and strength of your team and importantly of your organization. Also, troubleshooting the roadblocks as soon as we can.
What is the most challenging part about being an entrepreneur?
JL: The most challenging part of entrepreneurship is that often the new ideas are non-standard and often breaks traditions paradigms. It is then important not only to cast the vision, but show results and traction to prove that the model works.
NH: Tackling the “blue sky” problem. Your potential solution set is infinite and you have to find a way to decide on a direction and stick with it long enough to see if it will be successful, but not too long that you get permanently off course.
AC: It’s scary. Sometimes you need to pretend to have all the answers, even when you don’t, and you want to lead your team in the right direction. The fate of your organization will also impact the fate of each person. What do you put first?
DK: I think the most challenging part is to keep the motivation and interests of team members in the project/team. Keep their enthusiasm driven towards the task, regardless of success and failures.
What is your #1 tip for building a strong team?
JL: Trust. In early start-ups, since each individual contribution is so important, it is extremely important to establish trust for all members and to build a culture of collaboration, that it is not individual contribution, but success measured on a team level.
NH: No one can do it alone. You have to have a team you trust, and rely on everyone to do their part.
AC: Team dynamic is important. Even with the best skills, a team that cannot work together effectively will fall apart.
DK: Trust and hard work, a) trust in ourselves, on team and on goals, b) along with hard work as I believe there is no substitute for the same.
What is your must-read book?
JL: Startup Owner’s Manual by Steve Blank
NH: Strategy: A History by Lawrence Freedman
AC: The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
DK: Ignited Minds by APJ Abdul Kalam
What is your favorite entrepreneurial news source?
JL: Hacker News
DK: Business Insider
Like what you see? Follow along RareShare’s journey:
Check out our last profile on Epharmix, too!