Saturday, February 28, 2009

CDCV, Deck Chairs of the Titanic? We shall see.......

It looks as if the VC team has completely taken over Navigenics. Dana Mead of KPCB and Sue Siegel of MDV will be taking over. Mari will stay on as a Board Member.

This whole thing has me wondering........if I pitch an idea to VC, will they turn me down, only to "create" the exact same company? "Oh, we don't sign NDAs"

A lot of Entrepreneurs out there are asking the same questions.....I think they are right to ask these......Despite what they say.....

It seems Navigenics is one of those VC started companies.........and it looks as if they can't pull out.

Why? Well, this seems to be their baby.....Much like Google's baby is 23andME.

Any other sane investor would have pulled out of these companies when the regulations hit. But, now it seems as if these companies are firing their webmasters, outsourcing the work and looking to save face.

What really would hit them hard is if a new round of regulations were to get in their way.....

Many of my detractors say "If these companies die, so does personalized medicine"

I often laugh when I hear this. Is personal genomics the same as personalized medicine?

The short answer is no. The long answer is No Freakin Way!

Most of these markers don't help us at all. The only thing useful here is the social milieu which they are trying to create.

23andME seems to be doing the best job of that. However, with chat rooms filled with medical misinformation, I wonder how useful these sites will become....

The Sherpa Says: Navigenics hasn't fully turned clinical yet........They will once this move is completed and we will have another 2 clinical diagnostic companies that have an undetermined clinical utility. It takes 5 years to prove utility and I think KPCB and MDV are in for the long haul.......Maybe it is the beginning of the end and these guys are just re-arranging deck chairs. Time will tell, Vamos a Ver....


Andrew said...

23andMe's chat is what it is: a simple feature for user comments. You're right that they lack an expert medical community to respond to medical questions, but I don't think that level of discussion is expected from users who expect to be speaking with other layperson users.

That said, it would be a nice service for them to pay a physician and maybe some part-time, foreign medical graduates to moderate the message board and to be available to schedule remote medical consultations for a small fee. Like "zero-tolerance" NYC, message boards are very sensitive to a few poor comments. Regardless of how you feel about 23andMe and regardless if their service is illegal, it would better if 23andMe's internal community was high quality and useful than if it devolved into a troll and fluff board.

Andrew said...

Also, regarding venture-funded companies:

First, investors don't sign NDA's because:

- NDA's are basically worthless except as proof to protect a patent idea. An NDA doesn't magically create a bond of trust any more than any other scrap of paper between strangers.

- Asking to exchange NDA's is considered to be a signal of amateur dealing in many entrepreneur-investor circles. Generally, if you want to keep something a secret, then DON'T TELL IT TO PEOPLE YOU DON'T TRUST. NDA's are for naive losers. (again, except as a patent-protection evidence trail)

Regarding VCs "stealing" your idea:

Yes, it does sometimes happen that a VC will fund a competing company in your space after reviewing your pitch. However, generally a VC will already know what kind of companies they want to fund before reviewing pitches. It's more likely that they already were vaguely aware that they wanted a company with an idea like yours... just not you. Then, that other, similar company is "augmented" with your ideas. This still sucks, but it's unlikely that the VCs "stole" your idea based solely on the substance of your pitch.

Anonymous said...

I liked the other pic better.

DNAlaw said...

VCs will enter into NDAs at times, so your statement is incorrect. Almost all of them won't during the initial meetings but if they are interested in proceeding forward and if you have something they really need to find out and which they understand the reasoning for you protecting, they will agree, on some occasions, to sign a NDA. This is more an exception than the rule, but it does occur. As for other investors besides VCs, it occurs a lot often.

Yes, a NDA may not be incredibly powerful or some magical protective blanket, but it is better than nothing and courts have upheld injunctive relief and other legal remedies based upon it. It's a pretty well determined scientific fact that when a person puts their signature on something, they are more prone to abide by it, so saying NDA's are for naive losers is actually quite naive yourself. If it increases the chance of someone keeping that information confidential even 10% more than they would have, what harm is there in that... especially since NDAs don't cost anything (generic ones are usually handed out for free by most established law firms or you can find them anywhere on the web). So, no cost and potential benefit... that sounds like something worth perusing.

Asking for a NDA is not amateurish but undervaluing your idea may be. True, investors may not take the idea and create their own company with it, but they may pass along novel ideas to either colleagues or other companies related to accessing novel business approaches you present to them, such as ways to access certain channels or innovate product development. True, these may be determined on their own over time, but there is no harm trying to protect something you've created first.