LaunchHouse Member Spotlight – Batula Zaidi

BY • POSTED May 22, 2019
Home / Member Spotlight / LaunchHouse Member Spotlight – Batula Zaidi
Tell me a bit about yourself, your company, and what you do.

I am a PhD scientist trained in how to use big data to improve human health. Science took a massive hit in federal funding around 2005, and that downturn is forecasted to continue through 2028. The good news is, and what scientists typically don’t know, is that 2019 is actually flush with funding opportunities – they just have to diversify and adapt.  I started Science First Partnerships because we need a scalable solution from the private sector to use data-driven approaches to matching scientists to funders so research institutions have a solid plan for stable, longterm growth.

What drew you to LaunchHouse? What’s been your favorite part so far?

Todd Goldstein’s leadership in building a well-resourced, positive and safe community has been the major draw for Science First Partnerships.  It’s the really the perfect launch point from which a startup like Science First Partnerships can take calculated risks.  We were awarded access to LaunchHouse by the Better Business Bureau as finalists for the 2018 Spark Award for innovative startups, and are committed to building a longterm relationship with LaunchHouse and the BBB.  It’s been exciting to see LaunchHouse’s recent growth and expansion so more businesses in Cleveland can have access to this resource.

If you run a company, what has that been like? What advice do you have for others trying to start and run their own company?

Every leader needs to develop an individual philosophy for how they want to run their company.  Personally, I am obsessively selective in recruiting talented, passionate people, and creating space and resources for them to do work they care about, work they can take ownership of.  We have data analysts, bioinformaticians, finance and strategy specialists, operations, and scientists working together seamlessly.  At Science First Partnerships, every single team member has significant influence and insight into how we engineer novel multimillion dollar partnerships to bridge top research institutions with commercial partners.  So there is a great deal of trust and teamwork that is at the foundation of this, and why we’ve seen success relatively quickly.

What has it been like to work outside of the typical corporate 9-5 job? What advice do you have for others considering coworking?

I’ve worked only one “9-5 job”, but it was in a startup where I was given a tremendous amount of freedom and responsibility.  I personally could never chose a typical corporate 9-5 job because I’m addicted to the kind of innovation and risk-taking that is required for us to take calculated risks to keep pace with our clients’ needs.  A typical 9-5 job doesn’t afford the flexibility we need. I’ve been strongly rewarded for innovation and risk taking in academia, and now as a startup owner and CEO.  I would advise coworkers to embrace the uncertainly and use discomfort as motivation to do better work – there’s no other way out.

What is the best career or entrepreneur advice you ever received?

Get used to being uncomfortable.

What has been your biggest learning experience?

I’ll call it the principle of the power of two. There is a fundamental leap in results from working alone versus with a single other peer that you share your success and struggles with.  Humans aren’t meant to solve problems optimally alone.  When I started working closely with a partner in finance and strategy, we developed a synergy that advanced company growth quickly.

How do you define success?

My team is first.  If they aren’t thriving, then the mission has no chance because this work is so difficult and requires rare levels of creativity and inner drive to achieve their potential at Science First Partnerships.  Our team includes our clients.  For example, with current clients, we work closely with them on a day-to-day basis in a synergistic collaboration with a shared mission to improve human health through partnerships that get academia and industry on the same team.  When our clients are hitting 100% of their funding potential, there’s no downtime in their scientific progress, and their science moving to market-ready solutions – that’s success to us.

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