Smit is in the doctorate program of pharmacy (PharmD) at The Ohio State University, graduating in 2021. He completed Ohio Innovation Fund’s Venture Boot Camp in winter 2019. Here’s what he thought of the experience: 

What encouraged you to complete the Venture Boot Camp with OIF? 

I am a firm believer that vertical innovation is cardinal to moving a generation forward! Knowledge drives innovation, innovation drives productivity, productivity drives growth, and growth drives change. Having worked in 7+ different fields of healthcare, I have lately been fascinated by innovation and access to healthcare, how startups are funded, and how innovations are priced. 

I am captivated by how innovations break the current tradition and change the way we think, work, and live. I wanted to understand the ins-and-outs of venture capital, which is the fuel to innovation and driving change. What motivated me was access to the entire world of VC in just one week.  

Coming from a non-venture background, what surprised you the most about venture capital? 

The difference in process was surprising. As a medical professional, we follow rules and guidelines in a structured pattern. For example, if a patient is not well, we follow stepwise clinical routes for diagnosis/treatment, which are backed by clinical literature data that showed benefit. 

Venture capital was a fresh breath of breaking into a mystery. There is certainly a process, but every VC works differently. They have a spoonful of strategic analysis and experience, but a handful of belief in the entrepreneurs and their vision. Because at the end of the day, both are on the same path of turning innovation into a valuable asset that drives change.

What was the most valuable exercise of the Venture Boot Camp? 

I would do an injustice if I could paint just one valuable exercise, as many parts of Venture Boot Camp were fountains of incredible learning. From diligence reporting to forecast modeling, value proposition and investment review, market competitor analysis, financial analysis and deal flow, and creating presenting a pitch, I think every exercise was a learning curve – and believe it, everything in one week!  

Something that truly made Venture Boot Camp valuable was that I worked on two potential investments and completed venture analysis for real, ongoing deals: a medtech and SaaS-based pharmacy company. It is such a rare opportunity to work on real deals and also see through the lens of how VCs feel and make decisions. 

Who would you recommend to complete the Venture Boot Camp? 

I would highly recommend VBC experience to ‘any’ student who is curious to learn more about VCs, innovation, or just trying to get the feel of how VCs function. The fact that a student can get a great picture of VC within a week living in the Midwest is a surreal, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Don’t underestimate or miss it. 

Any advice going in? 

Be wildly curious! 2020 is the start of a decade full of exciting possibilities and groundbreaking advancements. There are so many incredible opportunities in VC, and the best place to start is with OIF’s Venture Boot Camp. Not knowing anything about VC is completely okay because that will allow you to fill your learning cup even more. Oh, and ask great questions to Bill Bamuel and Faith Voinovich, some of the best mentors and resources you will find!

Do you see venture/entrepreneurship fitting into your future career? If so, how? Did Venture Boot Camp change your perspective on this? 

I definitely see myself in the field in the near future. Working with a HealthTech startup, completing OIF’s venture experience, and being born to a family of passionate entrepreneurs who inspire me regularly all play a part in that. I am way too curious, creative, and rebellious (in a good way) to fit into the “traditional pharmacist” role. I am constantly looking for projects and opportunities to bring innovative solutions to current challenges in healthcare.  

OIF’s Venture Boot Camp definitely gave me a reality check about working with VCs: it is not as daunting or hard as it sounds! Coming from a medical background, I walked in on the first day with that belief that I am too scared or not smart enough to be sitting in that room. 

Guess what? At the end of the week, I pitched a venture analysis for two potential investments, and now, I am quite sound with VC terminologies and can speak their language. Not only that, but I realized that with my medical background, I was able to bring a unique set of perspectives to the team, which very few people in the room thought about. Venture Boot Camp gave a good outlook about VCs and the confidence for considering it as a career opportunity in near future.