Dan Chagnovich, MBA ’09, has worn a number of different hats over the course of his 17-year career.
His pathway progressed from academic scientist to molecular-technology researcher at a big pharmaceutical company to research and business-development manager at a therapeutics startup. From there, he became a management consultant at a major strategic consulting firm and, most recently, principal of his new company, 3elms Life Science Consulting, which he launched last year in Ann Arbor.
“The main focus of 3elms is to provide market insights and strategic guidance to clients developing and commercializing life-science technologies,” Chagnovich explains. “My clients include everything from startups to midsize growth companies with up to $200 million a year in revenue. I focus exclusively on life sciences, including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostics, software and research tools.”
This May, Chagnovich is adding yet another hat to his growing collection by signing on as a first-time sponsor of the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium. He sees several benefits to participating in and supporting the symposium, which is now in its 37th year.
“In terms of business development, this is an opportunity for me to meet potential clients, both on the startup side and on the investor side,” says Chagnovich, who relies primarily on networking to generate new business leads, gain introductions to prospective clients and identify potential consulting projects.
A second benefit of the symposium, he notes, is the unique window it provides into the entrepreneurial and investment landscape in Michigan and the Midwest.
“The symposium features company presentations and attracts a high concentration of people on the industry side and the investing side,” Chagnovich remarks. “Talking to them enables me to understand what’s happening in their respective sectors.” Since two of his current overseas clients are looking for technology opportunities in the U.S., “understanding what is here allows me to facilitate an introduction.” Gaining a sense of the investment-fund cycle at local venture capital firms also helps him connect life-science startups with venture capital financing.
“The third benefit of the MGCS is that it builds critical mass,” Chagnovich says. “A lot of people from out-of-state come to Michigan just for this symposium, and they see the excitement and vibrancy of the ecosystem here. That’s really important for driving interest and investment into the area.”
As a business development consultant, Chagnovich typically starts his client engagements with an assessment of the market. “The life-science market is moving incredibly fast,” he says. “It’s evolving very quickly, with new players and new ways of engaging with patients and stakeholders. Small companies, in particular, struggle to understand these rapidly changing dynamics. But that is a critical piece to establishing a sustainable growth strategy.”
Chagnovich’s background as a scientist enables him to combine technical understanding with business insights to identify how a client’s technology fits into the market. “I layer their technology onto the market and find where it addresses market needs and where it provides value to the customer,” he explains.