A seasoned CEO, accomplished scientist, serial entrepreneur, and successful investor, he has helped in building several startup Life Science companies, hiring great talent leading to successful exits.

Combining over 35 years of corporate, financing, research, development and management experience, read more on his journey mentoring the next generation of entrepreneurs as an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) emeritus at UC San Diego.

As an accomplished scientist, serial entrepreneur and a successful investor, where is San Diego headed in the growth of its ecosystem?

We need to have more incubators and accelerators and find ways to nurture the ecosystem to help more San Diego startups thrive and grow. Universities should play an important role in helping their home grown inventions with initial seed funding and investing significantly in mentoring the startups by developing relationships with Angel groups, Venture capital funds and non-profits.

"We need to mentor the next generation of entrepreneurs - connecting them with advisors and consultants so they can establish themselves.”

In my opinion, San Diego’s startup ecosystem needs nurturing, mentoring and more seed funding. I see a lack of support in terms of funding in the early stages of building companies. We need to mentor the next generation of entrepreneurs - connecting them with advisors and consultants so they can establish themselves. We need to increase job opportunities to attract more talented scientists and technologists to San Diego and help the entrepreneurial culture and economy of San Diego.

TCA is a catalyst in helping to build the startup economy. How have you helped other startup founders realize their dreams?

 

TCA is one of the largest and most active Angel investor groups in the country. TCA-San Diego is a very strong chapter with over 300 members and close to $10-12  million annual investment in startups. We have a lot of deal flow coming from San Diego and other parts of the US.  There are a lot of things that a new entrepreneur has to learn, particularly when it comes to getting initial funding.

I help them find ways to remove early risk, whether receiving non-dilutive funding from SBIR/STTR or other funding opportunities. New companies need to get to their first milestone and proof of concept.  I help them in developing their early and long term strategy. I also help them get introduced to seed funding opportunities with Angel groups and early stage VC funds at the appropriate time.

Successful companies have the best teams in place. I help the startups in recruiting the right team members as they raise funding and grow. If technology fails, the best teams can resolve it and find solutions. During my short term as an EIR, I am helping three promising UC San Diego based companies as an advisor and mentor. I am bullish about San Diego’s Entrepreneurial community.

As an inventor of over 35 patents, what keeps you motivated?

As a scientist, you always think - what can be done next? There is always a technology or problem that comes in front of you. I love learning how to expand the technology into new products and help companies find opportunities to increase their value and product pipeline.

“The excitement and satisfaction in building successful startups is my motivation.”

As a scientist, my experience in different areas of Life Sciences learnt on the job helps me understand how to work with scientists and transform their inventions into successful startups. The excitement and satisfaction in building successful startups is my motivation.

 

What has your experience been like building a company alongside UC San Diego Dr. Subhojit Roy? What makes this company unique? 

Dr. Roy is the world's leading authority in gene therapy in Alzheimer's research, a tough disease to treat and a bigger threat to our economy and healthcare system. It was one of those projects at UC San Diego I was thrilled to help.

Currently I am working with Prof. Roy in getting non-dilutive funding to conduct animal proof of concept studies prior to raising seed funding from Angel groups. If all goes well, we might start clinical studies in three years.

 

What interested you in sharing your passion as an Entrepreneur in Residence at UC San Diego?

UC San Diego is one of the leading research universities with talented professors and students and attracts more than a billion dollar funding from governmental funding agencies. TCA-San Diego is an active Angel group in the country with $10-12 million investment in startup companies every year.

“My objective of joining as EIR was to facilitate and bridge the interaction between these two local organizations and enhance startup culture in San Diego.”

My objective of joining as EIR was to facilitate and bridge the interaction between these two local organizations and enhance startup culture in San Diego.

 

Describe one of the most valuable lessons gained from a mentor in your journey and how has it continued to guide you today?

Treat others how you wanted to be treated - that’s what I learned early on from my father who was an entrepreneur himself. The startup journey is not easy - nobody can do it alone. That is why you need talented team members with collaborative culture and passion to work together as a team for the success of the company.

 

Learn why Tech Coast Angels is the best place for the best companies to raise their angel funding: https://tcasandiego.com/ .

To email Prasad, reach out at psunkara01@gmail.com