Today's Entrepreneur


Today's Entrepreneur: Dan Donovan

No. 1 Mistake: Not seeking external (user) feedback and storming forward to a solution

Innovation series by Mitos Suson
March 9, 2017
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Today's entrepreneur is Dan Donovan, Founder and CEO at rareLifesolutions. 

rareLifesolutions offers integrated consulting services and software and platform as a service (PaaS) solutions for advocacy groups, pharmaceutical and device companies, medical and research centers, and professional healthcare associations.

rareLife solutions created onevoice, the ground-breaking encouragement and knowledge platform that can be customized for rare disease communities.

 Here's a little about Dan.

I am a(n): Entrepreneur

Companies I've founded or co-founded:
Envision Pharma Group, rareLife Solutions

Company exits (of companies you founded):
Envision Phama

Achievements (products built, personal awards won):

PM360 Innovative Product of the Year 2015
Pharma Voice 100 Most Inspiring People 2007, 2008
CT Best Place to Work - #1 in 2008, #2 in 2007
Created Datavision

If you are an entrepreneur, why? I see an opportunity to do things better and create a company around the unmet need

My favorite startups:
Envision Pharma, Uber, Evernote

What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?

It is stressful! Long decision making processes at our clients, with seemingly endless meetings and changing faces, thereby extending the time to sale can be challenging. But, when you do break through, and get that external validation of the idea you developed; it is awesome!

What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs make? Not seeking external (user) feedback and storming forward to a solution.

What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?

You are going to make mistakes.
Hiring is an art.
If you don't have passion, you might as well not be doing it.

Full bio

rareLife solutions, inc is Dan’s second software focused venture. Having observed the often fractured, though always passionate stakeholders in rare diseases, Dan was inspired create onevoice, providing rare disease specific “guided communities’ thoughtfully designed to address several unmet needs while improving disease understanding and accelerating research.

Dan was introduced to the world of rare diseases initially as an investor then as a member of the Board of Directors and Chief Business Officer at Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals (CPP), a late-stage pharmaceutical development company with compounds targeted at several rare diseases. It was through his involvement with CPP that Dan discovered how incredibly fractured rare disease communities tend to be and felt there had to be better way to help these communities who needed help the most.

Prior to rareLife and CPP, Dan established Envision Pharma in 2001, serving as President through June 2011. Mr. Donovan was the visionary behind the creation and development of Datavision, the dominant market leader in medical publications technology, currently in use in 22 of the top 25 pharmaceutical companies in the world. Envision Pharma was acquired by the United BioSource Corporation (UBC) in April 2008. At UBC Mr. Donovan was Senior Vice President Strategy and Market Development and a member of the Leadership Team that developed the strategic direction for the company.

Dan grew up in what he describes as the “glory years” at Pfizer when the company launched one blockbuster drug after another. Dan served in a variety of positions of increasing responsibility, ranging from sales to market research and marketing in the US domestic and international market place, culminating in his position as Director and European Team Leader for the world's largest cardiovascular portfolio living in Belgium. During his time a Pfizer, he played a pivotal role in the commercialization of some of the pharmaceutical industry's most successful product launches. After nearly 13 years in the pharmaceutical industry, Mr. Donovan moved to medical communications where he served as Director, Client Services for a large international agency.

Dan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance at Lehigh University, where he was a 4 year Varsity soccer player serving as Captain his senior year, and an officer in his fraternity. Mr. Donovan lectures frequently, most recently at Babson College on his "Road to Entrepreneurism" and at specialty industry conferences and webinars.


Editor's Note:

rareLifesolutions may be one of the presenters on stage at Splash Health, Wealth & Wearables 2017, 3/23 in Fort Mason Center, San Francisco. Splash is Vator's startup conference, gathering top CEOs to share their lessons learned, and highlighting promising new ones. Join us! REGISTER HERE.  

Want to invest as little as $5000-$10,000 in some startups Vator identifies? Join the Vator Investment Club (VIC).  Join before March 1 and be eligible for a complimentary ticket and be eligible to win one round-trip flight on Surf Air! Join VIC. 

Related companies, investors and entrepreneurs

rareLife Solutions
Description: Onevoice is a ground-breaking encouragement and knowledge software platform designed to build supercharged rare disease communities.&nbs...
Bio: There has to be a better way. That thinking inspired Dan to create onevoice, a software solution providing "guided communities"...

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