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Running Through Walls

Running Through Walls is a Venrock podcast featuring candid conversations between investors and entrepreneurs. Each episode, we offer a behind-the-scenes look at the breakthroughs, challenges and nuttiness associated with building and growing companies. Venture capital firm Venrock has been investing in entrepreneurs across technology and healthcare since 1969.
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Now displaying: 2020
Dec 16, 2020

Venrock partner Nimish Shah speaks with Jason Fenton, managing director and head of healthcare capital markets at Cowen, to discuss the explosion of activity in the biotech IPO market this year. Fenton dives into the pros and cons of a virtual IPO process and shares best practices for companies looking to go public. Shah and Fenton outline some of the important factors to consider when choosing bankers and touch on common mistakes CEOs make while going through an IPO. Fenton also walks through the components of a recent successful IPO deal and provides his expectations for the biotech market in 2021. 

Dec 2, 2020

Ryan Nece is a former NFL player, Super Bowl winner, and now a venture capitalist at Next Play Capital. He joins Venrock partner Brian Ascher to chat about the transition from the field to the boardroom, including why so many professional athletes take an interest in venture capital and what elite athletes and successful entrepreneurs have in common. Nece shares the highs and lows of having a famous parent, football Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, and his gratitude for the opportunities made possible by his upbringing. No stranger to adversity, he also discusses a challenging time battling injuries that almost ruined his career before it started. 

Nov 11, 2020

Venrock partner Bob Kocher speaks with Hill Ferguson, CEO of Doctor On Demand, about how the company managed a huge spike in demand for virtual care as COVID-19 spread throughout the country beginning in March 2020. He shares how Doctor On Demand implemented a real-time assessment for higher-risk patients to handle growing wait times, and how they partnered with Medicare to cover virtual care visits for seniors for the first time. Kocher and Ferguson discuss how social injustice, economic hardship, and losing loved ones to COVID-19 are contributing to the increased demand in behavioral health services offered by Doctor on Demand. Ferguson also highlights the importance of balance and self-care, shares his expectations for flu season, and unpacks Doctor On Demand’s plan to make primary care more accessible through virtual visits. 

Oct 28, 2020

Jennifer Bisceglie, CEO and founder of Interos, joins Venrock partner Nick Beim to discuss how Interos mitigates the challenges of third party risk management, particularly during the pandemic, by providing customers full visibility of their extended supply chain. Bisceglie describes how Interos continuously builds “family trees” of companies and scans for risk factors so customers can gain visibility into their supply chains and understand the vulnerabilities that can interrupt operations. She shares her proudest moments at Interos so far, the biggest challenge that female entrepreneurs face, and provides advice to women who are looking to start a business.

Oct 14, 2020

Venrock partner Camille Samuels speaks with Corvidia co-founders Ram Aiyar and Michael Davidson about Corvidia’s recent acquisition by Novo Nordisk, just four years after its founding. They discuss how inflammation contributes to cardiovascular disease – the number one killer in the United States – and how their drug Ziltivekimab “Zilti” is proving to be a successful therapy. Aiyar and Davidson share their experiences and advice for other companies exploring a sale, including always being ready for Plan B (or C), maintaining positive relationships, and not rushing any deals. They also discuss why the cardiovascular space is becoming increasingly appealing to entrepreneurs and investors when it was previously avoided. 

Sep 30, 2020

Latane Conant, CMO of 6sense, joins Venrock partner Brian Ascher to chat about marketing strategy for B2B companies and the role of marketing in corporate culture. They discuss the “First Sip Club” which Conant started during the pandemic to stay connected to fellow SaaS marketers, and she shares how it has evolved to stay relevant in a rapidly changing environment. Conant also discusses her new book No Forms, No Spam, No Cold Calls: The Next Generation of Account-Based Sales and Marketing, which covers her distinct B2B marketing and sales philosophy, and gives advice for junior marketers looking to excel in their careers.

Sep 16, 2020

Healthcare industry veteran George Barrett joins Venrock partner Bob Kocher to discuss how the U.S. handled the unprecedented demand for PPE (personal protective equipment) for healthcare providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Barrett explains the significance of examining all components at the supply chain level to create a system that is more flexible and resilient. They also delve into Barrett’s non-traditional business background and how his musical talents have shaped his career. 

Sep 2, 2020

Venrock partner David Pakman speaks with Roham Gharegozlou, CEO and founder of Dapper Labs about launching CryptoKitties, one of the world's first and most successful blockchain games, and shares his predictions for how crypto gaming will evolve in the next decade. They also discuss the launch of NBA Top Shot, a new kind of digital collectible that capitalizes on consumer affinity for collecting and sports, and Flow, which is a blockchain that takes care of the underlying technology so developers can focus on building their applications. 

Aug 19, 2020

Following up on their discussion of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics, Venrock partner Bryan Roberts speaks with Mathai Mammen, Global Head of R&D at the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, about Mammen’s career path and what differences he’s found working on drug development in both small companies and large companies. Managing 14,000 people has its challenges, but the scale is incredible: J&J’s products touch more than 1 billion people worldwide. They also discuss trends in gene editing and CRISPR thanks to machine learning and AI.

Aug 6, 2020

Venrock partner Bryan Roberts chats with Mathai Mammen about COVID-19 vaccine development and therapeutics in this special episode of Running Through Walls. Mammen serves as the Global Head of R&D at the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, where he is heading up the firm’s COVID-19 vaccine development. They discuss J&J’s unique approach to the vaccine and which therapeutics are promising in the fight against the virus. Mammen shares how the U.S. can be better prepared for the next pandemic, and highlights how his company approaches vaccine production and distribution on a global scale.

Jun 17, 2020

Allison Pickens, former COO at Gainsight and co-author of “The Customer Success Economy: Why Every Aspect of Your Business Model Needs A Paradigm Shift” joins Venrock Partner Brian Ascher to discuss the new and increasingly important function of customer success for SaaS companies. They discuss how customer success differs from customer support, how working with customers has evolved, what startups should consider when making their first customer success hires, and common mistakes companies make when rolling out new programs. Recorded pre-pandemic, Pickens also shares how startups can make sure all functions are working together to support customer success with several examples that are relevant in today’s remote working environment.

Feb 12, 2020

Venrock Partner Bob Kocher speaks with Ezekiel Emanuel, Vice Provost for Global Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania and chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, about Emanuel’s upbringing and family, how to deliver better patient care and implications of data/AI for medical ethics. They speak about their time working together in the Obama White House on the Affordable Care Act. With the 10-year anniversary of the legislation coming up in March, Emanuel talks about what’s improved in the U.S. healthcare system and what challenges remain. Emanuel also shares his love for chocolate and what inspired him to become a chocolatier.

Jan 15, 2020

10x Genomics CEO and co-founder Serge Saxonov joins Venrock’s Bryan Roberts to discuss the founding of the company and its recent IPO. Saxonov shares his story of emigrating from Tajikistan to New York City as a teenager, learning English and becoming an entrepreneur. He talks candidly about how he’s grown as a leader over his six years as CEO of the company and how the company’s technology has evolved to meet customers’ needs.

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