Allen Kamer is a highly successful entrepreneur and experienced corporate executive in the healthcare and medical informatics space with more than 25 years of experience. He recently joined OurCrowd as a Managing Partner to launch its first Digital Health sector Fund, which is called Qure Ventures which is focused exclusively on investments in digital health.
Previously, Allen was a co-founder of Humedica, a transformative population health and analytics company that was sold to UnitedHealth in 2013. Following the acquisition, Allen served as the Chief Commercial Officer of Optum Analytics which is a division in Optum, UnitedHealth Group’s health services company. Allen also was a director at leading healthcare investment bank, Leerink Swann (now Leerink Partners), and held management positions at Biogen. He began his career reporting on FDA and policy issues for The Pink Sheet
Allen received his B.A in Politics and Legal Studies from Brandeis University.
What You’ll Hear On This Episode of When Science Speaks
- [01:02] Mark introduces his guest, Allen Kamer
- [02:50] What attracted Allen to join the healthcare field and why he stayed in the industry for over 25 years
- [04:19] Allen talks about his unique entrepreneurship journey
- [08:36] The business model of entrepreneurship that involves building a start-up within an established firm
- [10:56] Do you need to have an MBA or Ph.D. to become an entrepreneur?
- [12:31] How to best overcome challenges in your business journey
- [14:58] Allens talks about the strengths and weaknesses of STEM graduate students and high-level Ph.D. candidates and postdocs in the healthcare industry and in entrepreneurship
- [18:09] Opportunities for PhDs and postdocs in data science
- [20:35] Allen shares career lessons he wished he learned earlier
Connect with Allen Kamer
The importance of the healthcare sector
Healthcare is a professional field that impacts everyone. At some point, every person would require some level of healthcare service and/or products which means that individuals who take part in this industry not only become valuable contributors in ensuring the health of a community, they also contribute to the economic ramifications of a stable health sector. For Allen Kamer, it’s a field that’s exciting, challenging, and offers personal interaction with people which is why he was drawn into being a part of the health care industry for over 25 years to date. That said, he joined the industry not as a care provider but as a person who works behind the scene working on policy and regulations that would benefit the entire industry and everyone it touches.
Allen’s entrepreneurship trajectory in the healthcare field offers a unique case study of the very essence of entrepreneurship: problem-solving, disruption and innovation. However, entrepreneurship comes in different flavors. Allen talks about the different facets of entrepreneurship and why he went with the unique approach of becoming an entrepreneur from within a corporation.
Overcoming challenges in entrepreneurship
As a STEM professional, chances are that you’re highly skilled and are pursuing a graduate degree, Ph.D. or are currently working on or considering going into a postdoc. However, there are certain industry challenges that you will come challenge not just your existing skills but will also require you to learn new ones in order to cope. Allen believes that STEM graduates have the unique advantage of having gone through rigorous training that gave them A+ problem solving and research skills which is crucial in any given industry. But one thing is different though: there isn’t much time to experiment and this, according to Allen is what poses the greatest challenge for most people who are newbies in the world of business.
Being able to adjust to a new environment and taking your learnings from one field to the next is always crucial and gives a person a headstart. But in business, the main challenge is ensuring customer satisfaction and gaining their trust enough for them to refer you to someone else. And one of the ways to do this is by learning all the processes and gathering enough data from client interactions and using these to your advantage as a business owner which is where research and data analysis skills garnered from years of practice can become useful.
Opportunities for PhDs and Postdocs in Data Science
Wherever you are in your career, there are lessons you wish you learned early on as they have the potential to determine your current and future opportunities. For Allen, he did not understand the power of networking early in his career and it was only when he started to expand his field and got the chance to interact with more people that he realized the value of creating a strong and reliable network.
STEM PhDs and Postdocs looking to go into the data science space would be pleasantly surprised to know that if they put their heart into it, they can truly make a mark in this industry. There is the constant need for the improvement of algorithms and the ability to connect disparate types of data and information together to understand medicine, science, and healthcare delivery, etc. So there are tons of opportunities for STEM professionals to become data scientists, enabling them to help in shaping a new healthcare industry environment.
Learn more about Allen Kamer and his experience and expertise on this week’s episode of When Science Speaks.
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