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By Will Haire                                                                                                              Follow us on Twitter @SWStamford

SEQHub - Startup Weekend New haven 2014

The winning pitch from New Haven’s Startup Weekend:

SeqHub is a marketplace that connects data scientists in the genomics space with research labs that need their data analyzed. The need arises from increased accessibility of technologies to labs to generate a vast amount of insight-rich genomics data which these labs do not have the expertise to analyze. On the other side of the market, we can connect very capable, but inadequately compensated post docs and graduate students with the computational expertise to meet these needs.

 – Taiwo Togun

You may be asking yourself, who is Taiwo and what an Awesome idea. Taiwo is a Computational Biologist and Research Data Scientist. He received his Ph.D from Yale, and teaches computer science at Peirrepont School in Westport. Taiwo is not an entrepreneur, but this did not stop him from attending Startup Weekend.

This is the beauty of Startup Weekend. We are able to connect Taiwo with the right network that takes a pain point unique to his experiences and spin that into a viable business. Taiwo still has a long road ahead, but he now has his idea validated and also has access to resources and a network he did not have before. This alone is an excellent reason to come out to Startup Weekend Stamford and give us your pitch!

Here is more of my interview with Taiwo:

Q: How did you hear about Startup Weekend?

A: I went through the A100 Apprenticeship program and Derek Koch the founder of Indie Soft encouraged me to go out and pitch my idea. And I did!

Q: Can you tell me about your experience at Startup Weekend New Haven?

A: The feeling and gratification were overwhelming. The constructive feedbacks and encouragement from such a company of innovative minds and experienced business professionals have provided tremendous momentum and refinement. The validation of my idea by seasoned and successful entrepreneurs felt so exciting. Beyond exciting! I would say the weekend indeed created in me, a new sense of responsibility and feeling that this idea, this product is not just my vision, but one that is shared, and now has a group of capable people helping to bring it to life. It’s very exciting!

Q: Can I hear your Elevator Pitch from the event?

A: SeqHub is a marketplace that connects data scientists in the genomics space with research labs that need their data analyzed. The need arises from increased accessibility of technologies to labs to generate a vast amount of insight-rich genomics data which these labs do not have the expertise to analyze. On the other side of the market, we can connect very capable, but inadequately compensated post docs and graduate students with the computational expertise to meet these needs.

We aim to facilitate genomics research and foster the realizations of more scientific breakthroughs by leveling the field so that small labs with genomics projects, despite limited resources, can find quality data scientists to analyze their data on a project-by-project basis, and data scientists can easily find well-defined jobs of interest with guaranteed remunerations.

Q: Did you Come in with this idea or did your experience at Startup Weekend help shape your current version of your idea?

A: I came to Startup Weekend with this idea. While the core of my idea did not change, it benefited immensely from feedbacks received during the weekend. Having a team of experienced developers and business professionals was very instrumental in informing and presenting an initial prototype and business plan for my idea. I would definitely say that the feedback from the weekend has shaped the current version of my idea into the valuable tangible product that it is today.

Q: What types of opportunities have resulted from your success at Startup Weekend New Haven?

A: The connections and networks are the most amazing part of Startup Weekend. The prizes are great too; for instance, we have a work space at the GROVE in New Haven; this is a huge resource as it is more than an office space, but rather a hub for several New Haven startups. Thus, it provides an avenue to connect with several mentors, learn from them and continue to sharpen my entrepreneurial acumen. The network is indeed the icing on the cake! The connections with the right people are definitely my most valuable takeaway from Startup Weekend. In fact, through the start-up weekend, I have connected with two research labs that would like to use SeqHub as soon as our MVP goes live.

Q: Do you have any advice for any young entrepreneurs?

A: Don’t be afraid, just do it! Any idea is worth throwing out there, especially if you believe in it! The validation, constructive critics, or feedbacks will only provide refinement and momentum! I’m certainly glad I did it!

Q: Last Questions, What are your future plans for 2015, anything you are willing to share with our audience of attendees?

A: Our goal in the next six months is to have a web-hosted Beta version as a pilot project to better engage customers. As my co-founder and I are both data scientists ready to provide solutions to genomics projects, we will market our analytics services to labs in order to have on-going projects on SeqHub in the next six months. Feedback from our first customers will further inform both product and business development.

Take a chance and Come out to Startup Weekend Stamford

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Will Haire