Debkishora Mitra and John Waldeisen are the co-founders of Lucira Health. Lucira Health, which was originally founded as Diassess, is the first company to get an FDA approval for at-home PCR based test for COVID. We talk about the story of Lucira...
Debkishora Mitra and John Waldeisen are the co-founders of Lucira Health.
Lucira Health, which was originally founded as Diassess, is the first company to get an FDA approval for at-home PCR based test for COVID. We talk about the story of Lucira from its founding stage to raising; the technological and market based pivots; raising over $250M (including an IPO); COVID; leadership transition; regulatory affairs; ups and downs of the journey; FDA approval of at-home flu and covid test and the unfortunate bankruptcy.
- Educational backgrounds of the founders & how they met
- Market exploration in search of billion dollar markets: markets for diseases like Malaria not big enough (~$50M)
- Technology development: Disposable RT PCR; Passive Fluid actuation; Colorimetric PCR- Visible DNA amplification
- Deborah Dean, MD, UCSF
- Running PCR in the second bedroom at home; struggling to pay rent
- Raising seed round
- Visa struggles- Detour to deal with immigration struggles
- Growing the team; mistakes
- Transparency, radical candor
- Fundraising: Kissing the frogs; building soft circles
- Diagnostics market is super hard
- Non-dilutive funding; mental models
- Venture capital: Lessons learned
- Pivots: Technological and market driven (STD, flu, COVID)
- Challenges: Regulatory, customer centric thinking, scalability (manufacturing, distribution)
- Deep dive into regulatory challenges: Issues with comparing with predicates
- "In the diagnostic space, 'you don't want to be the first in the market"
- Selecting an advisor to provide regulatory guidance for a startup
- Deep dive into product development
- Understanding the value of luck: Having a plan B
- Evolution of the "Go to market" strategy
- Government policies: Macroeconomic factors that affect pricing for startups
- Create options as the CEO
- Building the narrative
- Leadership transition; journey towards IPO
- VCs tie your personality to your startup- something to keep in mind for founders
- Highs and the lows