Appreciate today’s fundamentals but design and build from the future
Today’s entrepreneur is David Bates, CEO and co-founder of digital health company Linus Health, a digital health company revolutionizing industry understanding of mental and brain health with mobile-based, multimodal assessments, personalized recommendations for multi-pronged intervention and monitoring.
Digital cognitive tests and those conducted on pen and paper leave critical data out of the picture, the Linus platform combines industry-leading technology, artificial intelligence, and social engagement tools to collect and analyze cognitive and motor function data to provide a patient’s “cognitive footprint” from which personalized care plans can be developed and implemented.
The company recently raised a $55 million Series B round of funding.
David Bates, PhD, is a scientist, engineer, inventor, entrepreneur, and investor. He is the CEO and co-founder of Linus Health, a Boston-based digital brain health company that combines industry-leading technology, AI and social engagement tools to improve brain and mental health outcomes.
He is a founding partner of Tamarisc Ventures and he co-founded Bode, a tech-enabled hospitality company for group travel. He is on the board of several technology companies, as well as the philanthropic TMCity Foundation. Bates has previously held positions at Morningside Ventures, F-Wave, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, University of Louisville, and Georgia Tech.
Bates has a Master’s Degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) focused in Chemical and Materials Engineering from the University of Auckland.
I am a:
Scientist, CEO, investor, and entrepreneur who’s passionate about brain health care.
Companies I’ve founded or co-founded:
In addition to Linus Health, I’m a founding partner of Tamarisc Ventures and a co-founder of Bode, a tech-enabled hospitality company for group travel. I’m on the board of several technology companies, as well as the philanthropic TMCity Foundation, and I’ve previously held positions at F-Wave, Morningside Ventures, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, University of Louisville, and Georgia Tech.
If you’re an entrepreneur or corporate innovator, why?
I’m an entrepreneur by necessity. I see problems that need to be solved and can’t let it go. I’d prefer to invest in others more capable than me with a vision to solve them but that isn’t always an option. When such cases arise, I try to build teams of people more capable than me to execute on the solution, of which Linus is a prime example.
My favorite startups:
At Linus Health I’ve worked with a lot of exciting startups in the health space such as innovative new therapies like Neuroelectrics and Cognito Therapeutics, who Linus has recently engaged with in a partnership, and other amazing assessment technologies like Aural Analytics and Winterlight, as well as AI-assisted health coaching like Huckleberry Labs.
Why did you start your company or why do you want to innovate inside your company?
With Alzheimer’s diagnoses climbing, COVID-19 showing effects on cognitive health, and mental health challenges in all forms increasing, there’s a market need for brain healthcare. Linus Health was founded by a multidisciplinary team; I am a scientist by training, and am joined by an attorney-turned-investor, a technologist, and a renowned neuroscientist, neurologist. I met our Chief Medical Officer Alvaro Pascuale-Leone back in 2018 at an event, and we hit it off talking about the possibilities for a new technology that would give the healthcare system a better tool for the brain. I was looking for such a company to invest in and couldn’t find a company with the right approach, so we began to work together on the problem. We first focused around Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, which has been found to be the biggest fear for people over 60 years old.
There is an urgent need for accessible cognitive screening tools to support diagnoses, research, and treatments. Linus Health feels a responsibility to make rapid early detection more effective and accessible for the world with our mobile-based platform which combines industry-leading technology, artificial intelligence, and social engagement tools. Our platform has already been validated for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s detection, and we hope to continue to expand beyond our 30 cognitive assessments to address a broader range of cognitive disorders.
The end goal for Linus is to revolutionize brain health around the world by making screenings less costly, invasive, and time-consuming so every individual can access care.
What’s most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?
The most frustrating thing is when people refuse to consider a better way, especially due to ego or unfounded fear. The most rewarding thing is to see people’s lives improved by some innovation. Creating value for people by making an aspect of life less difficult is the goal for which I am constantly striving.
What’s the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs/innovators make?
Selling dimes for nickels.
What are the top three lessons you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
- Have the spirit of a learner.
- Consider the perspectives of others: where are they coming from, why are they doing it this way, what is their experience, what are their assumptions? (Don’t assume people are stupid while remembering that we all do illogical things sometimes)
- Appreciate today’s fundamentals but design and build from the future.