Last week Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) held a live recording in Rochester for their “Conversations on the Creative Economy” series. The recording, hosted by Chris Farrell, placed a spotlight on medical innovation in Rochester with an in-depth discussion about creativity, innovation, and risk taking. Local entrepreneurs Eric Lucas, Founder and CEO of The Oxygen Plan, Joselyn Raymundo, Founder of Rochester Home Infusion, and Scott Snyder, Founder and CEO of Geneticure, joined Farrell for this conversation.
This portion of the “Conversations on the Creative Economy” series is tentatively set to broadcast on MPR May 29th at noon and 9PM.
Rochester Home Infusion- Joselyn Raymundo
Raymundo launched Rochester Home Infusion (RHI) in 2013 in Rochester to serve what she saw as a huge unmet need in the region. RHI provides intravenous medication to patients to extend the level of care patients experience in the hospital setting to the home, allowing patients to return to their normal lives as quickly as possible.
While not from Rochester, Raymundo’s market research suggested a home infusion provider would have an “attack market” with no other similar independent businesses in southeastern Minnesota. Although she never saw herself as an entrepreneur, Raymundo knew from over ten years of experience in building similar services within large organizations that she needed to strike out on her own to get closer to her patients and to feel the real power of her impact.
With the support of her husband and the vision to create value in healthcare, Raymundo mortgaged her home to self-fund RHI.
She said the entrepreneurial journey has been tough and she knew there was a chance for failure, but she always believed in her mission.
“Why would you not take a chance if you know you can create value?” she asked.
Raymundo and her first employee waited six months for the phone to ring with their first patient referral. But her persistence paid off. Twelve months after launching, the business was already profitable.
“Overall, the business entrepreneurs in Rochester have been incredibly supportive,” Raymundo explained. “They welcomed me with open arms. I wouldn’t be where I am without their help.”
For other innovators, Raymundo said you can’t have a backup plan if you’re serious about entrepreneurship and believe in what you’re doing.
The Oxygen Plan - Eric Lucas
Founded in 2011, The Oxygen Plan is providing solutions for the mental health space. This business created a measurement called the stress number to reduce stress and positively impact culture.
Lucas says he was always inspired by innovation.
“But the Holy Grail for me was always just creating something of value, impacting the world positively, and then just running the show,” he said.
After working for over twenty years in marketing at General Mills, Lucas struck out on his own to launch The Oxygen Plan. To date, he has self-funded the business.
While Lucas was primarily operating within the food industry prior to The Oxygen Plan, he saw healthcare moving toward disease prevention, especially in mental health. He said it took years to get a meeting with the right person within Mayo Clinic, but persistence paid off.
Lucas said his time at General Mills taught him how to take an idea to execution the right way. He also learned how to innovate and survive in the long run in the consumer market.
To other innovators, Lucas said to “fail cheaply” and to remember that progress isn’t linear. He encouraged rapid prototyping early on in the startup process to gage consumer interest in your product or service.
Geneticure- Scott Snyder
Snyder spent several years in executive positions with Target Corporation before co-founding Geneticure in 2014 with his brother Eric. Geneticure operates in the precision medicine space and examines specific sites within DNA to help physicians select the most effective prescriptions for their patients. The company is currently focused on hypertension patients but has two additional tests in the pipeline. Geneticure’s tests spent the last four years in clinical trial work. The startup hopes to commercialize their first product soon.
Snyder, a Rochester native, always knew he would be an entrepreneur and spent years inside and outside of Target in many innovative roles.
“I always produced the best result when I was under the most pressure,” he explained.
Although Snyder never thought he would run a medical startup, the opportunity just aligned between his business expertise and his brother Eric’s extensive biomedical training.
Snyder was the first source of capital for Geneticure, deliberately choosing not to seek external funding until the business hit certain milestones.
Snyder learned many lessons during his time at Target, which he said moved quickly for a large corporation.
“In the roles I was in innovation was rewarded but you weren’t unbridled,” he said.
A strong supportive network was essential to Snyder’s entrepreneurial journey.
“I don’t think I would have executed in the early years of the business if I didn’t have an incredibly supportive spouse and partner,” he said.
Snyder advised entrepreneurs to have a backup plan and know how extensive that plan needs to be before going “all in” on your startup.