Interview with Yasaman, Winner of the Innovation Challenge in RESI Toronto

19 Apr

Yasaman Soudagar

An interview with Yasaman Soudagar, Founder & CEO, Neurescence

– By Greg Mannix, VP of International Business Development, LSN

Greg Mannix

Interview with Yasaman Soudagar: This year’s winner of the Innovation Challenge at RESI on MaRS was Neurescence, a Toronto-based company that has combined the power of novel optical imaging technology with advanced machine learning and quantum machine learning techniques for intelligent drug discovery for the diseases of the central nervous system.

CEO Yasaman Soudagar got a late start preparing for RESI, since she didn’t decide to attend until about 10 days before the conference, when she was informed that she would compete as a finalist in the Innovation Challenge. So I wanted to ask her how she managed to have such a successful conference, not to mention winning the Innovation Challenge, on such short notice.

Greg Mannix: Yasaman, you attended RESI alone, How did you get so many players to “invest” their RESI dollars in Neurescence and win the IC? Did you spend the whole day at your poster?

Yasaman Soudagar: Actually no! I moved around and looked for the places where the most people seemed to be hanging out, and I brought a tablet around so I could show them what our technology does, in a video of the actual imaging we do.

GM: Who did you target?

YS: One thing I really like about RESI is that all the investors are easy to spot because they have a red ribbon on their nametags. So it was really easy to approach investors and start a conversation.

GM: Was it difficult to get a conversation going, or did you find that most of the investors were approachable?

YS: I just went up to them and said “Hi, I am the founder of the coolest company on the planet”, which always at least drew a smile and a funny comment. Once I got their attention, then I had the chance to say “Here, let me show you”.

GM: Did you have very many one-on-one partnering meetings?

YS: I didn’t really have time to book a lot of meetings—I only had 2 scheduled, which I took at the poster. But I made a lot of great connections just by networking. In fact, I have already had follow-up meetings with investors I met at RESI.

GM: So all in all, it sounds like you had a good experience at RESI. What did you like most about the conference?

YS: It was a great event for me. I liked the density of relevant people and that it was easy to identify the investors. It was a great opportunity to network.

 

Yasaman Soudagar, Founder & CEO, Neurescence

Dr. Yasaman Soudagar holds a PhD in the field of experimental quantum optics, under the supervision of Dr. Nicolas Godbout at École Polytechnique de Montréal and Dr. Aephraim Steinberg at the University of Toronto. She then tenured an NSERC IRDF scholarship at Attodyne, a picosecond laser manufacturing company in Toronto. The exposure to the demands of a startup gave her the confidence to start her own, which is called Neurescence Inc. Soudagar has been building up Neurescence full time since Aug. 2015. Since then the product is developed and commercialized to the scientific research market.

Greg Mannix, VP of International Business Development, LSN

Greg Mannix is Vice President of International Business Development at Life Science Nation. After graduating from the University of California, he moved to Europe where he began a career in the life sciences and obtained a Master’s degree from IE Business School in Madrid. He has extensive experience in sales and marketing management in the medical devices field. He has worked extensively in Europe, North America and Latin America and he speaks English, Spanish and French. Greg’s role at LSN is to provide international early-stage companies with the tools and strategies to succesfully fundraise and to facilitate cross-boarder investments, licensing and M&A transactions.

 

About Neurescence

Neurescence has developed and commercialized a miniature microscope initially targeted to the Neurology research market. Our Quartet™ system gets implanted in multiple regions of the brain and spine and follows the activities of 100s of neurons in each region for months while the subject freely moves around. Our hardware-software suite is the only technology that allows establishing a causal connection between the effect of the treatment, such as a drug, on both the neuronal micro-circuitry and the disease phenotype. This extremely powerful approach takes the process of discovering and developing treatments from a trial and error method to an intelligent design.

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