LGBT MBA Profile: ROMBA Startup Pitch Winner Frank Glaser (Columbia Business School ’15)
Business School: MBA, Columbia Business School (’15)
Med School: MD, Tulane School of Medicine (’16)
Undergraduate Institution: Dartmouth College (2008)
Tell us a bit about your background, prior work experience and career interests.
My original background post-undergrad was in strategy consulting for the lifescience industry. I learned a tremendous amount about healthcare and enjoyed the subject matter, but yearned to get closer to healthcare delivery and the actual products. Having always dreamed of becoming a physician, I decided to pursue an MD/MBA at Tulane School of Medicine and Columbia Business School. First-hand clinic experience re-ignited my entrepreneurial drive, which I could now apply to healthcare – opportunities abound. With input from clinicians and support from advisors, I identified a way to really benefit clinical medicine with my current start-up Angulus. Throughout my career, I strive to continue to impact healthcare on a systems level by innovating as an entrepreneur and/or investor.
What made you decide to get your MBA?
I felt the MBA would enhance my network and credentials, provide time for entrepreneurial pursuits, and give me access to the startup ecosystems that would support these goals.
Were you out as you went through the business school application process?
Yes. It’s important to be yourself, always. In my experience, top business schools are very open to diversity of all kinds.
Tell us a bit about your involvement with the LGBTQ and Ally communities on your campus. Are you particularly active?
I am socially active in Cluster Q, Columbia’s LGBT group. Some of my best relationships in business school developed through this group!
You won the 2015 Reaching Out Startup Pitch Competition at ROMBA 2014 with your company Angulus. Can you tell us a bit about what Angulus is?
Angulus develops smart solutions for critical healthcare needs. The company’s initial focus is on ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), a fatal condition that develops in patients who are intubated. Our flagship product helps providers maintain ventilated patients at a 30 to 45 degree position – an angle that’s recommended by the Centers for Disease Control to reduce the risk of VAP. Affixed to the patient’s sternum, the disposable inclinometer has a built-in alert system that signals a cue at bedside and at the central nursing station when patients are outside of the desired recumbency for a certain period of time. The Angulus technology conveniently integrates into vital signs monitoring equipment and electronic health records.
Where are you right now in terms of funding and in terms of development? Is there any help you need from the LGBT MBA or entrepreneurial community?
We have conducted extensive market validation, including focus groups with end-users in the hospital. Armed with that feedback, we developed a beta product, partnered with key hospitals, and positioned ourselves for launch of a pilot study in Spring 2015. We plan to begin raising a full seed round in January, so we would welcome the opportunity to speak with potential investors or folks with connections to that community. We always hope individuals with hospital/delivery connections will reach out as well. Please reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What made you decide to enter the Startup Pitch Competition? Did you make any connections or get any feedback that’s been helpful as you move forward?
The ROMBA pitch competition posed an opportunity to get feedback from a predominantly non-healthcare audience. Each and every pitch sharpens the sales skills. The chance to win a cash prize for Angulus also didn’t hurt! In the process of the competition, I also made some valuable connections with investors and fellow entrepreneurs.
Some people say that being entrepreneurial and an MBA aren’t things that go together. We’re guessing you disagree – what advice do you have for prospective MBAs who want to do startup work?
Yes, quite the contrary! Business school is like an insurance policy – it gives you the time and space to really hit the ground on a startup opportunity while credentialing you for virtually any career! For folks who have limited previous startup experience, business school a perfect opportunity to get your feet wet and decide if this is ultimately the right path for you. It also gives access to an ecosystem – Angulus has made most of its connections through Columbia and its alumni network!
Columbia Business School is a participant in the Reaching Out LGBT MBA Fellowship which provides scholarship and leadership opportunities for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender & active ally student pursuing their full-time MBAs. Learn more.