BackTable / Innovation / Podcast / Episode #24
Trials and Tribulations: Part II of the Neuwave Story
with Dr. Dan van der Weide and Dr. Fred Lee
We talk with electrical engineering professor Dr. Dan van der Weide and interventional radiologist Dr. Fred Lee about the lessons they learned in the early stages of founding their microwave ablation device company, including challenges with early teams and equity.
BackTable, LLC (Producer). (2022, April 28). Ep. 24 – Trials and Tribulations: Part II of the Neuwave Story [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from https://www.backtable.com
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Dr. Dan van der Weide
Dr. Dan van der Weide is an electrical engineer, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, an entrepreneur, and an innovator.
Dr. Fred Lee
Fred T. Lee Jr, MD is a professor of Radiology, Biomedical Engineering, and Urology, The Robert A. Turrell Professor of Imaging Science, and the Chief of Abdominal Intervention at the University of Wisconsin.
Dr. Bryan Hartley
Dr. Bryan Hartley is a practicing radiologist, host of the BackTable Innovation series, and co-founder of Pulmera in Palo Alto, CA.
In this episode, our host Dr. Bryan Hartley interviews electrical engineering professor Dr. Dan van der Weide and interventional radiologist Dr. Fred Lee about the lessons they learned in the early stages of founding their microwave ablation device company, including challenges with early teams and equity. This is the second installment of a three-part series about the origin, rise, and acquisition of NeuWave.
The founders start by discussing the nature of their successful partnership and how each of them brought complementary perspectives to the company. On one hand, Dr. Lee has clinical experience that informs him about current medical devices and their limitations. Conversely, Dr. van der Weide has a broad-based understanding of energy and how it can be applied to medicine. Even after the acquisition of NeuWave, the two founders have continued to innovate and start subsequent new companies together.
While the founders shared a common vision, they had early NeuWave experiences which taught them about team conflict. They share a salient lesson learned from hiring team members based on prior social connections instead of objective skill sets. Dr. Van der Weide warns against taking mental shortcuts and making assumptions about a person’s abilities, without first examining their experience in the startup world. He also gives advice on equity apportionment, saying that vesting schedules should be based on clear milestones, instead of a pre-set percentage.
Finally, we discuss NeuWave’s early venture capital funding and the importance of choosing an investor that understands the vision and is willing to dedicate their honest effort to helping when obstacles arise.
Stay tuned for the third installment!
NeuWave Microablation System:
Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF):
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