In a recent episode of the Dealmakers’ Podcast, John Milad shared insights from his remarkable journey – a trajectory that took him from a quaint small town to the bustling financial districts of major cities like Chicago, New York, and London.
Milad’s career in investment banking and venture capital has been characterized by an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and a dedication to revolutionizing the healthcare industry.
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From University to Wall Street
Milad’s foundation in diverse academic fields at the University of Chicago equipped him with a unique set of tools. Although his degree was in political science, he also he delved into university-level physics, biology, calculus, economics and statistics, which provided a robust foundation for working across a range specialist subjects.
This comprehensive education laid the groundwork for his foray into Wall Street during the dynamic ’90s. At Lehman Brothers, he honed his skills in valuation, capital markets, and transaction analysis – a knowledge base that proved invaluable throughout his career.
The Curse of Knowledge and the Art of Deal-Making
As a young banker, Milad discovered the importance of bridging the gap between industry expertise and financial acumen. Recognizing the “curse of knowledge,” he learned to collaborate with subject matter experts, realizing that his perspective was a valuable differentiator.
Furthermore, he gained a crucial insight: deals must be mutually beneficial. Matching sources of capital with users, ensuring both parties gain, became a guiding principle.
Milad’s transition into the healthcare sector marked a pivotal shift. His fascination with the profound impact of the convergence of science, technology, and healthcare on individual well-being led him to focus exclusively on this critical industry.
With a mission to make a difference in people’s lives, he delved into healthcare, eventually finding himself at the forefront of innovation.
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Nitec Pharma: An Early Operational Experience
Nitec Pharma, a German specialty pharma company, provided Milad with his first taste of operational leadership. He spearheaded a pivotal Series B funding round and facilitated product licensing.
While preparations for an IPO were underway, the 2008 financial crisis disrupted the markets, altering the course of the company’s trajectory. Milad underscores the importance of adaptability in navigating the ever-changing landscape of deal-making.
Milad’s transition from venture investor to CEO was an unexpected yet transformative shift. Entrusted with the leadership of Quanta Dialysis Technologies, he embraced the challenges wholeheartedly.
His deep dive into the technology, its potential impact, and the complexities of the dialysis industry exemplified his commitment to becoming a subject matter expert.
Revolutionizing Dialysis: The Quanta Solution
At Quanta Dialysis, Milad and his team developed a portable hemodialysis machine that addressed the barriers to bringing dialysis to patients everywhere, especially the home.
Most importantly, they were able to lower the Monday morning death rate, where there was a 23% elevation and mortality in dialysis patients on Mondays. That was because of all the extra fluid that accumulated over the weekends when centers were closed.
The device has a user-friendly design, coupled with robust support systems, that empowers patients to take control of their treatment.
Its portability also revolutionized hospital-based dialysis, offering a more accessible and effective alternative. Customers appreciated that instead of a scary piece of hospital equipment, it looked like a nice piece of consumer electronics.
Navigating the Unknowns
Milad emphasizes the importance of humility and adaptability when embarking on entrepreneurial endeavors. Acknowledging the existence of unknown variables, he highlights the need to integrate new knowledge swiftly and efficiently.
The journey, he attests, unfolds in ways that are often unpredictable yet immensely rewarding.
Under Milad’s leadership, Quanta Dialysis secured nearly $400M in funding, including a groundbreaking $245 million Series D round in 2021. This achievement solidified Quanta’s position as a standout player in the dialysis equipment sector, surpassing even the IPOs of its peers.
Storytelling is everything, which is something that John Milad was able to master. Being able to capture the essence of what you are doing in 15 to 20 slides is the key. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here), where the most critical slides are highlighted.
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Conclusion: Pioneering Change, One Innovation at a Time
John Milad’s journey from a small town to the helm of groundbreaking healthcare innovation serves as an inspiring testament to the power of curiosity, adaptability, and a relentless pursuit of excellence.
His story resonates as a beacon for those aspiring to make a lasting impact in the world of healthcare and beyond.
Listen in to the full podcast episode to find out more, including:
- Broad education at the University of Chicago that equipped him with a versatile skill set, enabling him to participate in various disciplines and fields of interest meaningfully
- Bridging the gap between industry expertise and financial acumen being crucial for successful deal-making; collaboration with subject matter experts is invaluable
- Deals must be structured to ensure both sources and users of capital derive tangible benefits, creating a win-win scenario for all parties involved
- The fascination with the convergence of science, technology, and healthcare’s direct impact on well-being that led him to focus exclusively on revolutionizing the industry.
- Navigating the unpredictable landscape of entrepreneurship that required humility, adaptability, and the ability to integrate new knowledge swiftly
- Quanta Dialysis’s portable hemodialysis machine revolutionized patient care, enabling greater control and convenience in treatment.
- Whether as an investor or an operator, being a world subject matter expert in a defined field is essential for driving meaningful change and success.