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Celsee Diagnostics

46701 Commerce Center Dr
Plymouth, MI 48170

Priya Gogoi

What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center and Ann Arbor SPARK. MISBTDC has been very supportive and Sandra Cochran deserves special mention. As a young team with little to no business plan writing, she provided us with an in depth review of our Business plan and steered us to a winning direction. In addition, thanks to Ann Arbor SPARK, DeNovo Sciences has just rented a state of the art laboratory space at the Michigan Life Science & Innovation Center at Plymouth. Finally, the Great Lakes Entrepreneur's Quest win gave us a huge boost in our entrepreneurial venture, morally as well as financially.

Where did you find your first employee?
DeNovo Sciences' story starts when my internship at Esperion was ending. I really enjoyed the start-up experience and wanted to start my own company and make an impact on our community. Chris Siemer was working as a fellow intern at Esperion and I approached him towards the end of our internship and asked him to take the plunge and join the adventure. Actually, I didn't even give him a chance to say no. In my vision of DeNovo (Chris named our company), I had already seen me, him and Saedeh (our third partner) as the three co- founders who revolutionized the way young people started their enterprises. I am glad I took that step because Saedeh and Chris are not only my partners but also the body and soul of DeNovo Sciences. I look at them as my own siblings and together we formed Denovo Sciences.

Have you promoted an intern to employee status, and if so how many times have you done it?
This is an interesting question. Two of the co-founders of DeNovo Sciences started out as interns at Esperion Therapeutics. So our story should be "from interns to co-founders." This was made possible because of the wonderful start-up experience at Esperion Therapeutics. At a time when America was facing lack of jobs and people were not looking forward to hire young inexperienced fresh graduates, Roger Newton (CEO of Esperion Therapeutics) believed in us. He hired us without caring for our lack of experience or a big university name tag. This was a huge turning point for both Chris and me and propelled us to not only believe in our ability but also to achieve even higher dream of starting our own company. Once DeNovo Sciences gets funded we look forward to emulate Roger and hire young interns who could one day have their own interns-to-leaders story.

Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
So far, the co-founders have been bootstrapping and managing with little resources. Currently, we are actively seeking angel investor funding interested in life sciences, especially passionate about cancer. Our first opportunity came when we joined and then went on to win the GLEQ New Business Idea category. GLEQ win not only gave us a great publicity push but also $5,000 which has given us the opportunity to take up some lab space at the prestigious Michigan Life Science Innovation Center. We also won the boost pitch competition at the GLEQ event which has led to us being invited to present at the Blue Water Angels in the next few months. We are also actively seeking out SBIR funding and are collaborating with a prominent researcher at the Karmanos Cancer Center. Once we have our CEO in our team, we expect to be getting in front of the angel and early stage investors.

What are some of the advantages to doing business here?
The greatest advantage of working in America in general and Michigan in particular is the great work culture it provides where diversity thrives. When people from different ethnic and geographic backgrounds put their minds and souls into work, miracles happen. Michigan entrepreneurs have the hunger and the drive to fill the gap that the auto industry has left.

Name an idea, policy or mindset from elsewhere that you would like to see this region adopt?
I can suggest one thing that comes natural to me as an immigrant Indian; and that mindset is adjustment. People here should learn the art of adjustment. What I mean is a little tolerance goes a long way. If only people can get past the inertia of being in their own cocoon and instead start reaching out to each other regardless of their ethnic, religious or racial backgrounds, great things can be achieved. As I said when a diverse group lets go of their inhibitions and together set their mind and soul to a project, the impossible can be achieved.

What could local leaders do to help attract and retain more entrepreneurial young people to Metro Detroit?
Local leaders should have faith in the young people's ability to raise powerful and meaningful enterprises. After all, unbiased, fresh thinking brings out great, unexpected results. Local leaders should encourage the investor community to be more open to funding start-ups by young people. What Metro Detroit and Michigan in general need is a thriving entrepreneurial culture free of cynicism and full of encouragement and funding opportunities for the young innovators.

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