Nathan J. Alves, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the IU School of Medicine, is CEO and co-founder of Indiana Lysis Technologies LLC. The company is developing safer clot-digesting pharmaceuticals by leveraging nanoparticles to produce targeted therapeutics. Current therapies for digesting harmful blood clots are associated with significant risk to the patient and are often too dangerous to administer.
Crimson Catalyst: If a person has an idea for a business, what are the first three actions they should take to make it a reality?
Nathan J. Alves: A) If the idea has value that will require protection via patents, trademarks or copyright, be careful not to post, tweet or publish your idea in any public setting. B) Seek guidance as to how you can protect the idea such that you could start a viable business around it. This might mean speaking to a trusted friend or seeking legal counsel. C) If you are working at a company or university, be sure to understand the policies surrounding intellectual property and being a founding member of a company.
CC: What has surprised you during the course of your day-to-day entrepreneurial journey?
NJA: I have always been a proponent of networking, but as an entrepreneur it is even more critical to be effective at networking. Being a successful entrepreneur requires strategic and continual networking because nothing happens in a vacuum.
CC: How do you define success?
NJA: There are small and large successes when being an entrepreneur. For the day-to-day, I define success as hitting the next milestone, making forward progress and adding value to the enterprise. Big-picture success is gaining regulatory approval and translating the technology/drug to ultimately have a positive impact on society and help people.
CC: What is dangerous or scary about being an entrepreneur?
NJA: Being an entrepreneur means you need to be comfortable with the unknown, which can be very scary. The path is often not straightforward and is never guaranteed.
I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur in the biotech/pharma space, and at a young age, I sought as many entrepreneurial opportunities as possible to learn more about what it would be like. The truth is, every opportunity is unique, and it’s difficult to anticipate what it will be like. I find the unknown is what makes being an entrepreneur so appealing.
CC: What is the best advice you’ve received?
NJA: An entrepreneur sometimes just needs to take the leap. You can plan all day, every day, but planning in and of itself doesn’t move the needle. Trust your gut.
CC: What is the best advice you can offer?
NJA: Get business cards, create a LinkedIn account and use it. Network everywhere. Continually make connections in the community, as it is a smaller world than you think. The person you are sitting next to on the plane or waiting in line with might just be the person who will help you achieve your next milestone.