To help those curious about Midway Ventures get a better idea of what we do on a day-to-day basis, we caught up with Archita and Elissa. Archita Mishra is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Chicago, Class of 2021, studying Economics and Political Science. Elissa Kwon is also an undergraduate student at the University of Chicago, Class of 2020, studying Economics.
This quarter, Archita and Elissa worked together with a biotechnology startup. The company is focusing on revolutionizing clinical trials by developing technology for periodic biome testing in order to reduce transaction costs and improve data quality.
Q: How did you meet the client?
Archita: We met at one of the NVC pre-events, which were mostly tech-focused. Most of the companies pitching were in the biotech field, either in drug development or in clinical trial spaces, which was great because after working with a healthcare startup last fall, I found myself interested in healthcare economics.
Q: What got you interested in working with this company?
Archita: I saw his pitch, and thought their requirements were extremely well-suited to Midway’s focus, I knew that we had several people who were interested in pursuing work in the healthcare space, making it a good fit for us.
Q: How will Midway Ventures offer value to the client?
Archita & Elissa: Midway helped in drawing up comparables for different stages of the company's development: where it currently was (Pre-Seed), where its executive board saw it heading in four years (Series B), and where we saw it heading long-term in over a decade (not just as a data delivering company, but as a data center itself).
We had several potential projects set up with them, including VC-Startup matching and valuation modeling, but we thought that this would be the most impactful in the long-run, especially since the founders were continuing to revamp their expectations for the company and its development.
Q: How often did you meet to discuss your progress?
Archita & Elissa: We had set up bi-weekly calls at the start of the project, but towards the end we ended up checking in once every two weeks over the phone, and sending each other constant updates as our deliverables became more concrete.
Q: What were some of the challenges you faced in the process?
Archita & Elissa: One of the challenges for a company that is still in its developmental phase is drawing separations between what it currently is, and where it could end up in several years as it matures. With a biotech startup that has several directions to potentially expand, it was a challenge trying to account for the many possible changes and developments that consistently get thrown at startups in their early stages. It’s like an educated guessing game, for the most part. Another challenge was coordinating deliverables. Since startups need a lot of help in several different areas, each of which could be extremely interesting projects for us to work on, it is difficult narrowing down the tasks to projects that are doable in the given time-frame while still delivering quality work.
Q: What did you learn from this experience?
Elissa: I learned about microbiome testing and was able to learn more about the market for it and the different startups coming up in this space. It was also my first experience doing due diligence, so I was able to become more well-versed in what actually goes into it.
Archita: Through working with the client, I got first-hand accounts of what it was like to have your own startup, and got a glimpse into what it truly means to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is often projected as a glamorous job, but I got to look past the instantaneous success story image into the real sweat and blood that every founder ends up dedicating to their company.