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Episode 8_Dr. Samuel Wertheimer
Time-length-icon 33m 16s
Publish-date-icon August 18, 2013
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Crowdsourcing Science: Dr. Samuel Wertheimer is Managing Director of Poliwogg, LLC, a newly formed company that seeks to finance future healthcare companies through crowdfunding. In brief, crowdfunding involves raising money for projects from private investors via online platforms such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo. However, in the words of Dr. Wertheimer, “What none of those companies can offer is an equity share in a company…“[Poliwogg] will enable individuals to purchase equity in innovation.

Dr. Wertheimer started his scientific career at the bench following the attainment of his master’s degree in epidemiology and his doctorate in biomedical sciences. However, concerns about supporting himself and his family on a postdoc salary made him realize that the academic life was not for him. As Dr. Wertheimer notes, “Academic science is a fantastic career if you’re in the top 5% of grant recipients. Otherwise, it’s a brutal life.”

Dissatisfaction with academia led him to a local law firm. There, he learned about patent law and how biotech intellectual property claims were prosecuted. During this time, Dr. Wertheimer also took an interest in the financial services industry, learning how biotech start-ups raised venture capital and get funded. He eventually joined OrbiMed Advisors and enabled this biotech investment group to raise and invest over $1.5 billion.

Currently at Poliwogg, Dr. Wertheimer will soon be helping biotech start-ups utilize a novel way of raising capital- by working with individual investors who will buy equity shares of those start-ups. In this interview, Dr. Wertheimer shares his 20 year journey away from the bench, to the courtroom, and then to the boardroom- and all without having a J.D. or MBA. He also notes how, despite his work seeming far removed from the world of beakers and culture flasks, “I use a great deal more science today than I ever did when I was a bench scientist.”

Dr. Wertheimer is also a keynote speaker at the upcoming 2013 Bioscience Vision Summit in Madison, Wisconsin.

Dr. Wertheimer has taken some unexpected paths to stand at the intersections of business and science, financial services and social media. This conversation was recorded by Dr. Halina Postdoc and edited by Dr. Brian Postdoc @ThePostdocWay in August 2013.

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