April 6, 2017 SDEE Get to Know Your Neighbors Event
By Neil Thompson
On April 6, SDEE hosted its 4th Annual Get to Know your Neighbors event. By the time I arrived, the event was in full swing. To describe it, think networking mixer on steroids. Plenty of bustle and business cards. Where to begin?
Mini pizza bites in hand, I sat down to take in the scene. There were many exhibitors, from companies to consultants. The evening got kicked off with an address from SDEE president Taylor Moyer. She went over SDEE’s mission and the many initiatives that SDEE supports, such as Entrepreneur Roundtables, monthly happy hours, and specialty workshops. Ultimately, Taylor stressed that SDEE is all about “entrepreneurs helping each other.”
The main event was a talk from Samumed’s founder and CEO, Dr. Osman Kiber. Founded in 2008, Samumed was in stealth mode up until 2015. The company has made over 30 presentations since then, so this presentation would likely be a piece of cake for Dr. Kiber. Samumed has developed small molecule drug therapies for 10 disease states, from osteoarthritis to psoriasis. They have raised over $300 million – none from venture capital. You can bet the audience was listening intently to hear what Dr. Kiber had to say.
He offered his take on entrepreneurs and investors, likening entrepreneurs to risk takers and investors to profit watchers. Dr. Kiber knows all about risk. Originally a joint venture with Pfizer, Pfizer sued Samumed years after their partnership ended. Dr. Kiber described himself as “blissfully ignorant” during this time. If not worrying about a lawsuit from a behemoth of a company doesn’t indicate risk taker, I don’t know what does!
Dr. Kiber also noted that entrepreneurs have to live as people of contradictions. They must be humble but arrogant – humble since no one wants to work with a jerk, but arrogant in that they think they can succeed where others have failed. You gotta walk the line.
He also talked about the importance of developing a team whose members trust each other. In April of last year, Samumed made the cover of Forbes. Dr. Kiber didn’t own a suit and shot the cover without one, thinking it’d be OK. His executive team members had other plans. They whisked him off to buy a suit. Insisting that your boss buy a suit and not taking no for an answer? Now that’s trust.
Networking events can often be helpful, but when you’re also able to get a motivating message from them, they’re even more effective. These are the kind of events put on by SDEE. If you haven’t been to one, check one out. Visit http://www.sdentrepreneurs.org/calendar to see what’s next.