Nat Turner and Zach Weinberg have both watched family members suffer from cancer.So when they left Google in June, they started brainstorming ways to help find a cure.
Turner and Weinberg aren’t doctors, but they’re engineers with deep pockets. When they were 24, they sold their startup, Invite Media, to Google for $81 million.
After their June brainstorming session, the two began meeting with dozens of oncologists every week to learn from them and see where the treatment process could be improved. They founded Flatiron Health, rounded up a small team of six, and have a pilot going with some big hospital systems. Gil Shklarskiis is VP of Technology and they’re currently hiring engineers.
Turner says they’re still trying to figure out their exact product.
One area they’re working on is clinical trials. Clinical trials are new, innovative cancer treatments. But it’s difficult for physicians to determine which patients are eligible, and Turner wants to improve the process.
“It’s actually very complicated to find out if you’re eligible,” Turner says. “It’s like 120 variables and there’s no way to know quickly. We hope to speed that up for physicians because clinical trials are huge for cancer. In general, treatments fail and trials are the way to go.”
Turner realises his startup is ambitious. But he also knows he’s in a financially better position than most entrepreneurs to tackle such a big problem.
“Flatiron Health is either going to be a great success or a horrible failure,” says Turner. “Hopefully we’ll do well by doing good.”