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The only way you can win and grow is to be relentless with the execution of your strategy
Today's entrepreneur is Laurent Schockmel, CEO of Antidote, a free clinical trial search engine, which serves both sides of the clinical trial marketplace: patients and the projects looking for participants.
When a patient searches on Antidote Match, the company uses that information to create a database of patients and health information, which serves as the foundation for the company to work on specific recruitment projects for its clients in the pharmaceutical, biotech and CRO spaces.
The company, which recently raised a $23 million round of funding, saw the number of projects on its platform increase by 158%, and its revenue increase by 66%, in 2020.
Schockmel is a 30-year veteran of the life sciences, technology, data and services industries. He has deep experience in clinical, commercial, data and technology and has held executive management positions at organizations such as Truveris, IMS Health, Cegedim and Gemini Consulting both in Europe and the US. He has a track record of achieving dramatic improvements in customer innovation, quality, efficiency and overall company performance.
In his role as CEO of Antidote, Schockmel is responsible for defining the strategy of the company and overseeing Antidote's global business model which maximizes value both for patients and customers, by bridging the gap between medical research and the people who need it most.
Schockmel holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the Veterinary School of Maisons-Alfort, France and a MBA ESSEC Business School in Paris. He started his career as a veterinary surgeon and spent his early years in the pharmaceutical industry working in clinical research, regulatory and product marketing.
Why did you choose to be an entrepreneur?
I like the vibe and energy of building a company. And I find that it’s easier to have an impact — you have the ability to make decisions independently, without getting tied up in bureaucratic red tape. We can innovate much more quickly because we can try more, fail faster, and course correct with more immediacy. I’ve spent a good part of my career in large established firms where this was not the case.
What are your favorite startups?
My favorite startups include the big disrupters like Salesforce whose technology transformed the CRM market, and companies like Veeva who leveraged the Salesforce platform to drive constant growth and deliver for their shareholders. In Antidote’s world of medical research, I’m keeping an eye on some existing innovative tech that helps patients connect to clinical trials differently. I’m particularly excited by companies bringing lab services into people’s homes, and those that are streamlining the screening process by making blood draws and biopsies less burdensome for patients, especially in oncology.
I signed on to lead the Antidote team because I saw a real passion and commitment to the company’s mission in everyone I interviewed with — this is a team that is entirely dedicated to helping patients connect with medical research. This was the first time in my career that I met a team so driven to achieve the mission of the company, and quite honestly, it was refreshing. In terms of the business, I realized that Antidote is sitting on a gold mine of real world data coming in through patients using our platform to search for clinical trials, and that data wasn’t being touched. Coming from my background at data companies, I saw value and big potential there.
What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?
The most frustrating part of building and growing companies is that big aspirations don’t always align with funding, which directly impacts the ability to execute the plan and accelerate growth. But eventually, if you’re doing it right, the money will come. The most rewarding part is developing a vision for your company and a path to get there, then being able to deliver on that plan. I was brought on as CEO of Antidote to put the company on a growth track. I had my doubts, but we pushed through a tough first year and then, a global pandemic in 2020 — but the breakthrough came. We’re making it and it’s very rewarding to see my team’s hard work having a major impact on the business.
What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs/innovators make?
I think the number one mistake that entrepreneurs and business leaders make is believing they can solve everything by themselves. It’s so important to choose the right team and then trust them to get their jobs done. You can’t build a business by yourself!
What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?
- Being very transparent with your board and investors about the state of the company is critical. Bringing them in as part of your vision, strategy, and plan allows them to feel a part of what you’re doing, so they’ll support you when you need them.
- As I mentioned, trusting your team is so important. Building a business is a team sport, so empowering your team to share ideas, try new strategies, and deliver on their goals is key.
- Execution is what’s most important. Of course, you need ideas — but lots of people have ideas. Focus and implementation will deliver. The only way you can win and grow is to be relentless with the execution of your strategy.
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