SDEE Newsletter_May 2015

Dear SDEE Members and Friends! You are going to love the new SDEE website. We created a dynamic online community for San Diego entrepreneurs to find helpful events, workshops, local resource listings and interact with fellow entrepreneurs.

Some of our new features include a SDEE business directory, consultants directory, up-to-date member news, interactive SDEE community blog, listings of local entrepreneur resources and a members-only directory and discussion forum. Check it out and join the SDEE community in helping San Diego area entrepreneurs start-up and grow.

SDEE May 2015 newsletter content:

  • A message from Scott Struthers, SDEE Co-Founder & President
  • Highlights of our new website
  • Highlights of recent SDEE workshops & events
  • SDEE member news
  • Upcoming workshops & events

Great networking happens at our SDEE Happy Hour. Come hang out with us on the third Thursday of every month at New English Brewing Company. It's a great way to network with fellow entrepreneurs in an informal setting.



Dear Fellow Entrepreneurs,

Since our first entrepreneur’s roundtable in 2010 SDEE has been helping entrepreneurs and their companies succeed in San Diego. This would never have been possible without the extensive efforts and vision of our Founding President, Scott Thacher. After five years serving as our president, Scott asked the Board to choose a new president and I am honored to serve in that role for the next two years. Scott will continue to be actively involved in SDEE as a member of the Executive Committee and a member of our Board of Directors.

Last year was one of the best ever for SDEE and its members. The optimistic mood was clear at the holiday party. The food and wine were great, and the friendships and support of our peers grew even stronger. Conversations ranged from recent financial successes in deals, grants and sales, to growing pains of building out new labs and recruiting. It was a significant shift from our first holiday potluck where the nascent membership traded stories of their recent transitions to entrepreneurship (often unplanned), and the challenges of starting new companies in the depths of the great recession. We have come a long way!

This year promises to be even better. Behind the scenes, the SDEE board has been focusing a great deal of effort into making 2015 a transformative year for the organization. Soon you will see a new website with a cleaner look, but more importantly an engine for growth underneath. It has been redesigned with easier navigation, and implemented on the NationBuilder platform, which integrates communications, event registration, and membership previously managed on four separate platforms. The Events Committee started the year with a superb lineup of speakers at our workshop on term sheets where 35 entrepreneurs chatted with experts on issues around termsheets for convertible debt, series A investments, and pharma partnering. Our ever-popular investor roundtable on “Founder’s Tales of Start up to Success” took place in April. We are also having our “Meet Your Neighbors” event in June, which drew our biggest crowd ever of about 300 attendees last year.

It’s important to remember that SDEE is an all-volunteer organization and all the events, workshops and happy hours are only possible due to the efforts of local entrepreneurs who believe in helping each other and paying it forward. A great mentor of mine once told me there is no better way to build relationships than to work together on an altruistic project. I’ve made great friends and business relationships by committing time and creative effort to SDEE—and you can too. We have openings on the Events, Communications and Membership and Fundraising Committees. Please take a moment at one of our next events to talk to a committee member about joining us and helping to strengthen the entrepreneurial community in our great city.

On behalf of the Executive Committee, I wish you all a successful and growth-filled 2015.

-Scott Struthers, President



EVENTS – Showcases the exciting events & workshops we have planned for 2015. You can now register directly from our website by clicking on the “RSVP” button. We invite you to suggest SDEE event/workshop topics you would like to attend or sponsor.

OUR COMMUNITY – Check out our new entrepreneur-related topics blog, get up-to-date SDEE member news and view our SDEE Business and Consultants Directories. 

RESOURCES – Find local San Diego area facilities, equipment, incubators/accelerators and grant information designed to assist entrepreneurs in starting & growing their businesses.

JOIN SDEE – Discover an array of options & benefits for joining SDEE including: Basic, Student, Small Business, Consultant & Corporate memberships. Choose the membership level that works best for you or your company.

MEMBERS-ONLY – These pages include our SDEE member directory and discussion forum. Join SDEE to gain access to these great ways to interact directly with our community.

SPONSOR SDEE – We invite you to help us promote and connect the San Diego entrepreneur community by becoming an SDEE sponsor at the platinum, silver, gold levels or sponsoring an SDEE event.

ABOUT SDEE – Meet our committee member volunteers whose efforts contribute to SDEE’s success. If you would like to volunteer, please click on the “volunteer for committees” button and fill out the form. We’d love to have you join our team!

SOCIAL MEDIA - Don’t forget to follow SDEE on LinkedIn, Twitter (@SDEEorg) and Facebook. Check out these sites to see upcoming events, member news and interact with San Diego’s vibrant entrepreneur community.



March 12, 2015 “What You Need to Know About Term Sheets” Workshop

Our Term Sheet workshop was packed with great tips for entrepreneurs.

Our guest panel had a wide range of expert including:

Licensing - Bob LaPolla, VP Licensing & Business Development (retired), Johnson & Johnson 

Convertible Notes - Arshan Amiri, Founder Amiri Law Firm P.C. 

Equity - Hayden Trubitt, Shareholder at Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth, P.C.

Key tips from our panel

  • Clarity is critical. Make sure your term sheet avoids confusing or vague terms and conditions
  • Be prepared to abide by the terms you propose or agree to – credibility is important
  • Don’t wait for the perfect situation to send or request a term sheet. It’s a good way to test the waters or smoke out interest
  • Why convertible notes? Faster than equity round, less legal costs, defer valuation issues & retain more control over company
  • Typical convertible note interest rates are 2-6%
  • Consider convertible notes when you need to raise small amounts of capital ($50K-1.5M) or need bridge funding
  • Make sure you are specific on what IP is being licensed
  • Be careful not to crowd out investors
  • When to bring on an advisory board? If you can get impressive board members at the beginning of your start-up, take them

Event key tips courtesy of Silvia Mah (founder Hera Labs, co-founder Hera Hub) and Kathrin Copley (KCopley Consulting)


April 7, 2015 “Founders Tales of Start Up to Success” Event

We were treated to inspiring tales of how our panelist founders started their companies. Strategies included asking colleagues to share lab space and equipment, funding via SBIR grants or “Friends and Family” sources, making tough decisions on resources and partners and keeping a “can do” attitude throughout the process.  

Our Event Speakers: 

David Schwarz, PhD, President, Advanced Cellular Dynamics

James Evans, PhD, CEO, PhenoVista Biosciences

Richard Lin, PhD, Founder, President and CEO, Explora BioLabs

Chris Rhodes, Founder, CEO Drug Delivery Experts

Event Chairman: Taylor Moyer, Founder, CEO Managed Lab Services

Insightful tips from our speakers

Richard Lin, PhD – Don’t let the rules limit you. Don’t take “no” for an answer.

Chris Rhodes, PhD – If you are going to start a company, know how long you can go without pay.

David Schwartz, PhD – Share your ideas, find creative ways to build business.

Congratulations to our 30 second pitch participants on their presentations.

G. Sridhar Prasad, CalAsia Pharmaceuticals, proprietary CNS focused fragment library and x-ray crystallography to cross barriers in drug discovery. 
Tiliang Deng, Dream Biosciences, develop recombinant immunotoxin platform technology for cancer treatment 
Zackary Prag, ALT (American Laboratory Trading, Inc.) 
Ray Smith Jr., Integral Hygienic Solutions, a biotech start-up that specializes in infection prevention and control 



James Evans, CEO, PhenoVista Biosciences opened new lab space at 6197 Cornerstone Court in Sorrento Valley. PhenoVista also formed partnered with Israeli instrument manufacturer Idea-Bio Medical and local automation experts BioSero. These partnerships support PhenoVista's mission to provide state-of-the-art assay development services to biotech and pharma using primary and stem cell derived cultures.

Scott Struthers, CEO, Crinetics Pharmaceuticals received a $1.5 million NIH Phase II SBIR grant to develop orally-available, small molecule kisspeptin receptor antagonists to treat polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and other women’s health disorders. 

Jiwu Wang, CEO, Allele Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals will license induced pluripotent stem cell technology to Ocata Therapeutics, Inc. for use in its regenerative ophthalmology products.

Ken McCormack, Founder, Arisan Therapeutics was awarded a Phase I SBIR grant of $300,000 for the initial optimization of small molecule Ebola virus antivirals.

Mark Vreeke helped organize a session entitled “Chemical Angel Network: Chemists Investing in Chemical Businesses” held Monday March 23rd at the 249th ACS National Meeting Denver.

Sylvia Norman, Founder, Molecular Diagnostics Consulting signed a mutual referral agreement with BDC (Business Development Connections, Greenbrae, CA).


Workshop: Advance Topics on Grant Writing

May 7, 2015 at Hera Hub

Get To Know Your Neighbors 2015

June 9, 2015 at Campus Point Conference Center

SDEE Monthly Happy Hour

Held on the 3rd Thursday of Every Month

For more details, please visit our website Events page