The cavnessHR Podcast can be found at the following places or you can just type in cavnessHR on the respective site.
iTunes: https://cavnesshr.co/theca54f53 Google Play: https://cavnesshr.co/googl6be3a
Soundcloud: https://cavnesshr.co/cavnea9cb0 Pocket Casts: https://cavnesshr.co/pocke97daa
Stitcher: https://cavnesshr.co/thecae7de3 Breaker: https://cavnesshr.co/breakb93d8
Spotify: https://cavnesshr.co/theca9811a Castbox: https://cavnesshr.co/theca97b36
YouTube: https://rebrand.ly/theca8c96e Overcast: https://cavnesshr.co/thecae86ea
Anchor: https://rebrand.ly/theca0e20d RadioPublic: https://cavnesshr.co/theca4ba98
Social Media links for Victor Below!!
Victor’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/victor-prikhodko-5771b317/
Victor’s Book Recommendations!!!
“The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement: by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox
Link to purchase the book is below.
The cavnessHR Podcast is brought to you by SM Diversity.
SM Diversity is a full-service Staffing and Recruiting agency.
SM Diversity provides:
End to end talent acquisition programs
Contract to Hire
Retained Hourly Recruiting
and a Recruitment Media Team
SM Diversity also provides Diversity and Inclusion Consultants to design, develop and implement D&I frameworks for organizations large and small.
Jason: The cavnessHR podcast is brought to you by SDM diversity. SM Diversity is a full-service staffing and recruiting agency. SM Diversity provides end to end talent acquisition programs, permanent placement, contractor hiring, hourly recruiting. and recruitment media team. SM Diversity also provides Diversity and Inclusion and consultants to design, develop and implement D&I frameworks for organizations, both large and small. Hello and welcome to the cavnessHR podcast. I'm your host Jason Cavness. Our guest today is Victor Prikhodko. Victor are you ready to be great today?
Victor: Yeah. Super excited.
Jason: Victor is a business advisor with the Office of Translational Initiatives. and Program Innovations. OTIAPI. Which supports the National Institute on Drug Abuse and NIDA and administers a 40 million more business program. Victor has co-founded two startups and previously held management positions and positions at ABL. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Microbiology and an MBA in Interdisciplinary studied from John Hopkins Carey Business School. Victor thank you very much for being here today. I really appreciate it.
Victor: Thanks Jason so much for having me really excited talk with you and hopefully say something valuable to your listeners.
Jason: Can you explain what is OTIAPI and NIDA and what they actually do?
Victor: So as you said it's a mouthful Office of Translational Initiatives and Program Innovations. It's an amazing office and we report directly to the Director of the Institute, National Institute of Drug Abuse and NIDA is one of the many institutes. You've heard of National Cancer Institute or Heart Lung and Blood. Well, we're one of the 27 institutes within NIDA and the primary focus of NIDA is to do amazing basic research. Then translate those discoveries into products that make an impact on public health. Now our office typically focuses on programs that help, bring some of those products and services, to the market and make an impact on public health. For example, one of the programs that we manage is called the Small Business Program. Which administers almost 40 million dollars’ worth of grants and contracts to startups and small businesses that are looking to make an impact on anything substance use disorder associated.
Jason: Victor is this a government program or is this a nonprofit?
Victor: This is a government program. So, within Health and Human Services. Most folks don't know about these amazing programs. For NIH there's almost a billion dollar’s worth of non-dilute capital funding or grants or contracts through this mechanism.
Jason: How do companies or startups find out about this program? Do you market this program or is word of mouth? How do people find about this great program?
Victor: To be honest it's a combination of all those things. We have yearly conferences that everyone is invited to participate in and attend to find out more. Our institute has a dedicated small business website you can just google. We attend conferences that range from therapeutics all the way to diagnostics in devices. Because we really invest into everything that you can probably imagine that's related to commercialization within that space.
Jason: When startups apply to this program what in their application makes you say yes and what makes you say no?
Victor: It's a good question. There has to be a very clear value proposition and the way the program is kind of broken up is this. One is essentially just a really good idea or demonstration of the feasibility of that Minimum Viable Product that you're developing. For those what we like to see that there is a very clear problem. That a product that is being proposed addresses that problem. But most importantly that there's some kind of purchaser. A lot of the times businesses they create something and they say there's a really really big need. I've been working on this product for the last 10 years. But they very quickly realized that after they filled it there's no market for it. I would say that's one of the kinds of biggest reason why a lot of startups fail. But really for us. Just has to have a very good and clear value proposition. A clear problem and a very clear way of solving a problem.
Jason: What percentage of applicants get accepted?
Victor: Depends on whether it's phase 1 phase 2 or a fast-track mechanism. The first two are kind of self-explanatory fast track is when we combined phase one and phase two into one single application. The application success rate is actually all of this is available to the public. I would say application success rates range between 15% and 25% depending on when you submit the application and what fiscal year it is and how much money we get.
Jason: Do you receive applications from all over the world or just United States companies?
Victor: There's a couple of limitations to the program. Companies do have to be majority U.S. owned. Again, that's why it's such a huge positive support from both sides of the aisle for the program. Because it creates jobs it creates an opportunity for us to translate all of these discoveries that NIH fund. So, there's huge support. The requirements are that the company has to be U.S. majority. That can be either through the founders have majority stake in the company and they're U.S. citizens. Companies can even have angel or VC backing. The other requirement is that whoever is getting the grant what we call this the principal investigator. That they are Majority in place employed by the small business. Then the work does have to be done in the US. You can't set up a virtual company and then outsource everything overseas.
Jason: The program is in the D.C. area?
Victor: All over the country. We are primarily in the D.C. area and then Rockville Bethesda in Maryland. But we have applicants from literally all over the country whether it's San Francisco, New York, Boston or any of the biotech hubs. But also South Dakota and North Dakota. You think of a state we've probably funded a couple of companies there
Jason: The company can stay where they are at right. They don't have to move to D.C. or Maryland?
Victor: Oh absolutely. A lot of states actually have a lot of amazing resources. In order to encourage startups to stay within the state. For example, if you Google NIDA, one of the resources on our website. It's called NIDA business resources. We've compiled a list of accelerators, incubators, and state initiatives. Because individual states have a lot of awesome programs. Whether they're matching funds for the grants that Federal government gives out.
Jason: Let's say there's a company in North Dakota. Do they have to do a monthly check-in? Do they go to virtual meetings? Do you all ever go to the companies and visit on site?
Victor: Usually we just recommend that they reach out to us again a company can simply just come in and submit an application. They don't have to talk to us. We always encourage that they do. After we have a kind of an introduction discussion. We outline the expectation in reverse through the application process. We talk about timelines. We talk about funding. But importantly we talk about the science that they're proposing to accomplish within their application. Then after that discussion, we try to provide as much guidance as we can. During the application process and once the application has been submitted. Our program officer does a really great job along grant management. Trying to make sure that our companies know kind of where they are within the review and the funding process. That takes place over the course of roughly about six months. From when you submit an application. We usually have three dates September, January, and April. It's about six to eight months from submission through when the company is awarded the grant and they can draw down the funds.
Jason: How has your time with corporations helped you with your startups and what you're doing now?
Victor: So it's a great question. I think "A" understanding how larger companies make acquisition decisions. That really that all goes down to understanding the value proposition and the core customer as well as purchaser. Again, I think a lot of times companies make the mistake of building something. While not understanding the complexity of the ecosystem especially our health care ecosystem. There's so many players. They have to be considered and again. A company can develop something and sell it to the State or Federal government they can sell it directly to the consumer. Or they can try to go to enterprise or follow for example the FDA approval process to get reimbursed. This health care ecosystem is extremely complex. Kind of seeing and understanding how companies make purchasing decisions. So that's been extremely helpful. But also understanding all the facets that go into product development.
Jason: Victor, how has your science background helped you with your startup?
Victor: Most of my startups were science focused. I was kind of a pretty big geek. I started working in a lab when I was 16, so still in high school. I got exposed to some amazing virology and microbiology research that was being done at the National Institutes of Health. Within Allergies and Infectious Disease. I had a phenomenal crazy Russian boss who was extremely knowledgeable, and we just did some awesome science. On things like Norwalk virus and looked at various pre-clinical and animal model. I guess, no matter what the project is, there's always going to be an element of science behind it. So being able to understand that technology is extremely valuable. So, it's not just about being able to spit out some business. Jargon. It's actually understanding the technology that's being posed. Again, because we fund so many different types of technologies. Whether it's diagnostics, therapeutic, biologic. Understanding the core principles behind the technology is extremely important. Because then we can actually give some valuable advice. When we're talking to companies and not just some jargon.
Jason: It sounds like you found your passion in life pretty early on.
Victor: I'll be honest I think I have a dream job in regards to what I'm doing. With NIDA I get to be a business advisor I get to look at hundreds of companies every single year. Literally, my job is to try to help as many of these companies come into the program. Or help them launch their products and services. Whether it' Connecting them to the right resources or whether it's just honestly having an hour meeting and having a kind of business strategy discussion session it's pretty amazing. Again, it's pretty awesome to see really breakthrough technologies that most people aren't even aware of, being so early on. But I think the most exciting part for me happened and I've been in this role for about three years now.
Victor: Is to actually see the companies that we've pivoted into this space. I'll be on a substance use disorder historically. And even now has a pretty large stigma associated with it. And in terms of D.C. investment. There's been very little especially if you look at biologics and therapeutics. The bio for example recently released a nice. Analysis looking at the U.S. interests. In. Pain and addiction. Drug discovery. And compared it to other indications. Now it's an x y graph. And you have. Cancer. You know. Billions upon billions of dollars of investment. All the way to the top left corner. And then for addiction you barely see. The amount of funding the D.C. community I mean that data is practically on the x axis. But because. Of. The Affordable Care Act. Because of the opiate epidemic. There's been this kind of huge shift. In terms of market opportunity. Again, you have. Over 60 thousand. People. Died last year because of the opiate epidemic. You have over 2 million Americans that have some kind of opiate use disorder. Expand that to alcohol smoking. A lot of those. Mechanisms. Are similar. Lot of the same drugs that they work for one type of substance or one type of indication. We can fairly pivot to another and. There's a huge market apathy there. And then at the same time, we're also starting to see this huge shift in. Digital therapeutics. And the amount of money that's being. Dusted by the V.C. community in that space. Is just phenomenal that companies like air therapeutics are good health. We bought. All of those kinds of come to mind and within the last few years really starting to enjoy more interest. In natural language processing A.I.. So, it's an amazing time to be kind of. Part of. This institute this office that's literally just. Trying to make an impact. On the opioid epidemic and within this use. Disorder
Jason: Victor, next talk about a time you were successful in the past. What you learned from this and what we can learn.
Victor: Yes there is. I think I've been fortunate with my career. Whether working at various biotech or just having an opportunity to be an advisor to NIDA. But one of my fairly recent successes was when I was at demo day. I got to see some of the best pitches from startups from across the country. One of the startups was called and they were actually out of Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. The founder was trying to solve a problem that she was seeing as an emerging. Identifying an open bed for her patients. Literally, she was spending hours and hours on the phone, rather than being a doctor. You simply can't find an open bed that your insurance company will provide. So having a really good software solution. It was just very timely. I was able to go to work with her team. They put in an awesome application to us and then we eventually funded the company. There were some headaches along the way I'll be honest. But now they were launched in Indiana last year and now they're launching across the US. Into multiple states and now patients, literally thousands of patients. Are being impacted on a daily level. Because of conversation because of one pitch at a single demo Day.
Jason: A great story. Next, tell us about a time you failed. What you learned from this and what we can learn from this.
Victor: So again, I'll reference the startup above. The first time she actually applied with her application she ended up with what's called a non-discuss. For us the way it works is, we get so many applications. There's not enough resources to be able to review all of them. So, within a review study such and what happens is that after preliminary scores are submitted by reviewers. Which are peers from the community from industry and academia. 50 percent of the applications do not get discussed which means that we cannot fund them. For a couple of reasons, open beds their application was not discussed. Which means we cannot fund them. We worked with their team for four months to put together this awesome application. After some heavy conversations, we kind of were able to come to the decision. Let's resubmit the application and let's add additional team members who can provide additional help on the project. Th application ended up getting reviewed the next submission round and we ended up funding the company.
Jason: Victor, talk about someone who has helped in the past and how they helped you.
Victor: So personally I've been very fortunate to have a lot of mentors through my career. Honestly at every single organization that I've gone through the way I think help is always there. Most people are extremely Good and extremely helpful and Even in New York. Both of us attended Investor Summit and one of my goals for the summit was to connect with as many VCs as possible in order to kind of discuss portfolios companies that they were seeing and really get their help in order to identify companies that were trying to make an impact in this space.
Jason: Yes, I had a great experience there as well. I met a lot of great people. Victor, I understand you have a book to recommend for our listeners.
Victor: So, one of my favorite business books that I love to read. That I'd recommend is the goal. The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement Paperback – June 1, 201 4by Eliyahu M. Goldratt (Author), Jeff Cox (Author) Though. Early and Go rat. Dough and. The premise is it's fiction but it reads like non-fiction. But the premise is the main character is running a manufacturing plant. And he's struggling he's struggling. On a personal level, his career and the facility are failing. Revenue is down and he gets placed into kind of the CEO role of running the facility and he has to turn around it and through his guidance of a mentor. Who he identifies early on in the book, kind of like, almost like Yoda advising him on have you thought about this. Have you thought about that? But one of the key takeaways from the book. Is that you have to identify the bottleneck. Whether it's a manufacturing plant but the bottleneck, in any situation. You can really apply this really well at a startup. Because and again from personal experience bring when you're running your own company. There's a million things that you need to do. You can spend hours upon hours on your accounting systems, on your website and on marketing and advertising and talking to your sales. But the biggest takeaway is you've got to understand the bottleneck. You can get rid of the bottleneck. Everything else is going to follow and that's how you make the most progress as a company. Especially when you're a startup and especially when everyone that is part of your team is trying to do 10000 things. You got to be able to understand what are the critical milestones that we got to hit. Where do we put the most amount of resources, the few resources that we have especially at startups. In order to push the company as far as possible
Jason: Can you provide your social media links?
Victor: Absolutely. So Yes on LinkedIn. Take a look at my name's Victor Prikhodko so you probably can't spell that very easily. But you just google NIDA and if you have a business idea that you want to discuss especially within the substance use disorder. We would love to schedule a meeting with you and hopefully help.
Jason: For our listeners, we will have the links to his social media and everything else in our show notes. You can find the show notes at www.cavnessHRblog.com Victor, we are coming to the end of our talk. Can you provide any last words of wisdom or advice on any subject you want to cover.
Victor: Yes I would say, got to take risk. but take a strategic risk. If you’re at a good job now you're not happy or maybe you have a passion. Start a startup or start a side hostile. To it strategically do it on your own time as much as possible. But most importantly if you don't take risks, then you won't have that reward. Certainly, provide for your family. But in order to become that millionaire or maybe more importantly in order to make the greatest impact. You've got to take risk as an individual. So don't be afraid of risk. Don't let fear guide your decision especially as a startup. There's gonna be so many things that you as a founder that you simply won't know. There's just too much from a legal perspective, from an advertising marketing perspective, from a client's perspective. You'll figure those things out on your own. But make sure you put in the right team in the company early on in the process. We talked about kind of the number one reason why startups fail and that's creating a product that nobody really wants. The number two is actually the team composition of that startup. So be mindful of the people that you surround yourself and can't change the people around you change the people around you. Because if they're not going to have passion for the vision that you as a founder have, it's not going to end well. I would say the last thing those bottlenecks. Focus on the bottlenecks. But at the same time have fun. Because that's when you're really kind of operate at 100 percent. When you're having fun. When the work that you're doing doesn't feel like a job.
Jason: Victor, you bring up a good point. A lot of startups start off by hiring their best friends. Maybe they have been your best friend for a few years. But maybe they’re not the best person in to develop your product.
Victor: Absolutely, and again just because let's say Jim wants to start a company with you. Well, what is Jim's skill set. You have to bring in the right people and it's really good to have multiple people making that decision. But you got to have a nice good diverse team. Otherwise, you have too much group think and all of a sudden, you'll fall flat on your face.
Jason: Victor, thank you for your time today. You are doing a lot of great things for the world.
Victor: Jason thanks so much.
Jason: To our listeners, thanks for your time as well and remember to be great every day.