An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Venky Soundararajan (co-founder and CSO) of nference, which was honored in our:
- 2022 Best Tech Startups in Cambridge
- 2021 Best Tech Startups in Cambridge
- 2020 Best Tech Startups in Cambridge
Tell us the origin story of nference – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
The idea for nference was formed in 2013 when my co-founder Murali Aravamudan and I conceptualized how the rapid advancement in neural networks technology, applied to synthesize, triangulate, and visualize the massive amounts of unstructured data across the healthcare ecosystem, could be revolutionary if integrated into one universal software platform. We gathered a team of the industry’s best scientists, engineers, and physicians to advance their vision, and the result is nference’s distinctive biomedical knowledge synthesis platform.
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
Finding the right enterprise partners vested with patient care, biomedical research, and clinical development was the most arduous part of our initial journey. From our vision of translating discoveries into cures and diagnostics, we were privileged to overcome our initial challenge along with our strategic partners at the Mayo Clinic. The Mayo Clinic has been consistently ranked as the #1 hospital and healthcare institution in the U.S. and globally across nearly every specialty of medicine. Through a close and deep multi-year strategic partnership with the Mayo Clinic, nference managed to overcome the unimaginable gap between scientific discovery and technological innovation to see the platform be leveraged to discover life-saving medicine and provide better care for patients.
What does the future hold for nference?
While founded prior to the pandemic, nference has been instrumental in helping to shift ideology, shape policy, and provide health recommendations for COVID-19 and the general public. nference was built with a patient-first driven mission, one that still rings true in the work being done today. nference and its companies, Anumana and Pramana, are working to develop applications and make breakthrough discoveries that help inform policy and science-backed suggestions. These insights include developing timely responses and science-backed recommendations for pandemic preparedness, revolutionizing cardiovascular monitoring, treatment/prevention, and bringing pathology into the digital era at an unprecedented scale. In an exponentially changing world, nference is providing real-time answers to real-world problems that can’t wait to be solved.
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Cambridge?
Cambridge and Boston provide one of the most helpful ecosystems for tech and life science entrepreneurs to convert their startup dreams into meaningful innovations. These ideas contribute to saving patients’ lives and improving the quality of life for humanity at a scale and pace that is unimaginable in many other parts of the world.
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Finding the right partners to build out your entrepreneurial vision and constantly invest in your own team’s success is of key importance. Ultimately, it is only the success of a startup’s partners and employees that will, in turn, allow the startup itself to succeed.