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In The Media

Asthma’s a $21B Industry, But You’re Not Getting VC Money

by Larry Chiang on July 27, 2016

By Larry Chiang
Change the world. 
Make meaning, not money. 
There are the well-intentioned advisors who themselves are in safe ivory towers dispensing the bogus advice of “forego making money, do something significant.”. 
Do not get me wrong, I am an advocate of 
– Change the world. 
– Make meaning, not money. 

But, I am also a realist*. 

Let us look at a case study and typical story that will win business plan competitions for your slide deck. Solving asthma. Asthma is something that’s common and problematic. Solutions range from dietary restrictions {eating only water based food} to psychological [dealing with an overbearing mother of the asthmatic is a son]. In the middle of the spectrum is a quarter baked engineering solution. 

Larry Chiang (@LarryChiang)
Respia Asthma Management System – Early stage, pre-money…

insert speculative pre-prototype picture here/
Yup, this less than half-baked concept has an app

What fundraising stage?!
Answer: Pre Kickstarter. 

The theory is great and it pulls on heartstrings. And it’s a James Dyson Award winner– I do not know what that is, but it looks like a competition where Econ majors load up Slideshare slides and then talk about 

– Change the world. 
– Make meaning, not money

Here is an asthma product that has shipped with very questionable profitability:

Larry Chiang (@LarryChiang)
Monaghan Medical AeroEclipse® II Breath Actuated Nebulizer With Tubing 1 Each, 64594050

Me and my VC friends do not want to spend $50k in LP money when we see this millionaire athlete with unsolved asthma problems. 

Larry Chiang (@LarryChiang)
Mucous in his tubes…

*Realist. Solves five different layers of money issues. 

– You need to get VCs to see you can sell and distribute. Not just draw up spec engineering diagrams on CAD. If you don’t know Computer Aided Design, leave this blog post now. 
– cash flow. Money must come in via a small, small trickle. 
– the $10k business plan competition you won was charity. You cannot leverage charity to get more charity (as a rule of thumb)
– You have money issues yourself. 
– Doing VC meetings seems like you’re getting a lottery ticket to win a million. But, “You’re not a lottery ticket.” [as per Peter Thiel]
Solving these money issues. 
– these tips will sound like a joke. But remember “PokemonGo” was an April fools, google maps spin-off.**
– Selling an eBook for $75.oo: “How to hide your asthma problem on a first date with her.” Think selling an ebook is too lowly!? That’s how 37signals started***
– Cross the Asthma Innovation Chasm From the Right

– Set the Entrepreneurship bell curve

How did I 
– Change the world. 
– Make meaning and money. 

I got #HR627 passed. I started Duck9. I started UCMS. College students were getting screwed, so I did something about it. 

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