To call startup founder David Berry a serial entrepreneur would be somewhat of an understatement. Through his work with Flagship Pioneering, Berry has co-founded more than 25 companies, and his venture Valo Health achieved unicorn status after just 18 months of operations.
Flagship Pioneering creates, builds, and finances early-stage startups addressing unmet needs in healthcare and sustainability. One of the most notable companies to come out of Flagship is Moderna, the pharmaceutical company that became a household name during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In October, Berry will be among the keynote speakers at Founders Network’s annual fall conference. fnSummit 2022 will bring together founders, investors, and partners in the startup ecosystem for three days of networking and learning in Napa Valley. In his session, Berry provided his nearly two decades of experience in the entrepreneur ecosystem and the lessons he learned along the way.
If you can’t make it to fnSummit 2022, you can still tune in to Berry’s keynote virtually on October 13, 2022.
Here’s a sneak peak of his presentation.
Revolutionizing an Industry
Valo Health was founded in 2019. The company uses human-centric data and artificial intelligence to transform the drug development lifecycle, reducing the cost, time, and failure rate of drug development.
“In 2018, I saw a really powerful opportunity to take the historically siloed industry of pharmaceutical development with its legacy architecture and create a new way to discover and develop drugs leveraging an integrated data and development model—a framework that tech has done in industry after industry yielding dramatic benefits that here translate to benefits for patients,” Berry says.
Doing the Unprecedented
In the years since its launch, Valo Health has seen a meteoric rise. The startup raised $400 million in its first 18 months and was poised to go public last year via a SPAC-PIPE transaction with venture capital firm Khosla Ventures. Ultimately Berry made the difficult decision to walk from the SPAC and keep Valo Health private.
“We saw the market changing. We saw what it was going to do to us,” Berry says. “Being a CEO is a lonely job requiring you to make the tough decisions. And for this one, there was no precedent.”
Making Your Own Path
While no one could provide Berry with precedent advice on how to handle the decision to go public or remain private, the entrepreneur says he has received wise counsel throughout his years in the industry. Perhaps the most poignant advice he ever received: “You have to take what you want because no one’s going to give you anything.” While it might sound aggressive, Berry says it’s especially applicable to startup founders where the company’s destiny is yours to create.
“If you’re a young person in the field you have to earn your career. Entrepreneurs have to make their own path,” Berry says. “When you want to do something without precedent, you have to have that will and that conviction. It’s about taking what you want and making it so. But I firmly believe that is what we all signed up for and we have the opportunity to live the vision we are trying to create.“
In his keynote David Berry covered:
- Real life stories about being an entrepreneur
- How to make unprecedented decisions with confidence
- Why you should embrace accountability
- How to keep the noise out
fnSummit 2022 encapsulates the Founders Network experience, giving startup founders the opportunity to learn from other tech founders in the startup ecosystem, build deep relationships with investors, and uncover solutions to the challenges they’re facing. The annual event provides the perfect setting for off the record discussion, reflection, and networking.