Silicon Sandbox: Cedars-Sinai Accelerator, Mucker Capital talk innovation in health care amid pandemic

Episode 3 of Silicon Sandbox delves into tech and innovation within the medical world.

A special panel of experts aimed to look at insights into what makes a company successful and the process of cultivating certain ideas to get the attention of venture capitalists and accelerators alike in the pandemic era. 

Joining Silicon Sandbox host Steve Chung, Chief Digital Officer of FOX Television Stations and co-host Edward Hartman, SVP, corporate development at FOX Corporation, was Anne Wellington, managing director of the Cedars-Sinai Accelerator, and Erik Rannala, co-founder and partner at Mucker Capital. 

RELATED: Calling all tech heads: Silicon Sandbox podcast to explore startup innovation in Los Angeles

Tapping into Hartman's experience and perspective working with FOX regarding investment and acquisition of other companies, Chung asked both Wellington and Rannala what the best strategy is when it comes to meeting founders and early teams of emerging startups in an exciting new playing field like Silicon Beach. 

"Some of the viewers that watch us and our listeners have great ideas, that only if somebody could recognize the ingenuity of what I’m talking about changes the world, but I think a lot of people have those good ideas perhaps but can’t take the next step to actually making that a reality," said Chung. 

"You guys have a great front-row seat into that process and what it takes. What are some words of advice, sage wisdom that you guys have accumulated over the years watching teams grow from an idea to maybe a billion-dollar enterprise?" Chung asked. Wellington said her team at the Cedars-Sinai Accelerator starts at roughly 500 applications from eager companies, eventually narrowing candidates down to about 10. 

RELATED: Silicon Sandbox: Two Bit Circus founders on running amusement park in the pandemic era

"The first question I always like to ask when I’m interviewing is, 'What’s the problem you’re trying to solve and why are you the team to solve it?'"

She explained that while many companies have come out to create "cool" new ideas, they don’t necessarily solve a real problem, specifically for the industry she works in: health care. 

Rannala explained that while some of the most revered and innovative companies look like an overnight success, making those ideas a reality is the result of "putting one foot infront of the other over 8 or 10 years." 

"I think those first few steps are the most critical ones," he said. 

Rannala added that in any process, initiating those first several steps is the key to getting to the desired end result. Starting from fleshing out the initial thought, validating the idea and executing a plan, making sure to not let anything get in the way. 

"If you're building a software product or a software enabled model of some sort start building it and if you don't have software development skills, find someone who does," he said. 

Regarding new ideas, the focus of the conversation turned to how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the growth of new products and what innovation has come out of the crisis caused by the novel coronavirus.

Episodes of Silicon Sandbox can be found anywhere you listen to podcasts as well as the podcasts page on the FOX 11 Los Angeles website, which is home to even more exciting new content.