We caught up with JLABS @ San Diego Resident CEO, John Lewis to catch up on priorities and advice he has for someone who wants to launch a startup:
Q: With a full plate (CEO of four companies, CSO of two, four kids at home, and working on the development of a potential vaccine for Covid-19), what DON’T you do, so that you can prioritize the important stuff?
A: My life is certainly full of exciting challenges and experiences. One thing I don't compromise on is that I always put my family first. My wife Natalie is a full-time physician so that means that I take the kids to school most days, help with homework, plan lots of fun trips and make the time to visit the extended family, while keeping work on weekends to a minimum. Those who know me know that I don't sleep all that much - it has been that way since I was a child. (Sorry, Mom.)
I've been fortunate to work with an incredibly dedicated and talented group of team members at all of the companies I am involved in, which means that I have full confidence that great decisions will be made without my input - often letting me sit back and watch the inspiring progress!
Q: As a Professor and CEO, what’s your advice for a researcher who wants to launch a start-up?
A: First of all, there is nothing more gratifying than being a part of taking a promising technology from a research environment into the patients that it could benefit. Launching a start-up, however, is a lot of work and requires a different set of skills and knowledge than running a laboratory. You really need to expose yourself to the entrepreneurial world and build your network and team in a way that you learn what is required to be successful, and also to identify those mission-motivated team members who can help realize your shared vision and goals.
- How has being a resident of JLABS @ San Diego helped you advance your company?
Being a resident of JLABS @ San Diego has been a fantastic experience as an early stage, but rapidly growing company. First of all, the research facilities and work environment are outstanding, and we've been able to achieve all of our goals in that environment. Furthermore, being a part of the JLABS family has allowed us to connect and successfully partner with other JLABS companies and to interact directly with relevant J&J; programs. We have also found that the regular "Investor Hub" meetings have been very valuable.
I love making espresso because it combines science with routine and amazing technology - and of course an essential drug. I would love a Slayer at home ( https://slayerespresso.com/product/single-group-espresso/ )
- What are you reading, listening, or watching that you would recommend?
I have a few great books on my end table at the moment - The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer, Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan, and Malcolm Gladwell's Talking to Strangers. Sadly, I haven't had time to open any of them!