How did you come up with the name, “Banyan” for your company?
One of the key features of our product is called branching. Branching allows a researcher to create their own copy of research, to test a hypothesis or run independent experiments without altering the data of the main branch.
My two cofounders & I met in Sai
nt Petersburg, Florida while attending University of South Florida. In downtown St. Pete there a number of very old & beautiful Banyan trees. The name is a nod to our humble beginnings as well as our branching feature.
What was the motivation behind founding Banyan?
We built Banyan because we believe even minor improvements to the research process will yield major improvements in science. Before Banyan I spent sometime in Venture Capital & working with other startups. While I enjoyed and grew from those experiences, I wasn’t satisfied with my work. Its pretty rare to work on something that could potentially change the world but that’fls what excited me about Banyan.
What elements surprised you about the process?
The international growth. In the first two weeks of launching Banyan we had researchers & academics from 10 countries around the world sign up. It was really exciting and helped remind the team that is this a global problem we are solving.
What have been the challenges along the way and how have you solved them?
Understanding all of the different moving parts of academia & science. I spend a good chunk of time staying up to date with what’s happening in industry. The way I solved staying ahead of the game is by building a strong board of advisors. Experienced advisors can save an early stage company a ton of time & help them avoid early mistakes.
What’s next for Banyan?
We are focused on improving publishing tools & making the peer review process simpler. Peer review is arguably the most important aspect of science, and our goal is to make Banyan the best medium for that discussion. We want researchers to be able to iterate faster.
How will your company’s technology landscape change in the next five years?
That’s tough to predict, but I think we will focus heavily on big data, artificial intelligence, and gigabit bandwidth. Technology is making the world a smaller place, and we want Banyan to be a tool to drive discovery & meaningful relationships. By understanding how and what our users are working on, we hope to be able to make meaningful connections between Banyan users working on the same things.
What three factors contribute to the success of a startup?
The first is team. Banyan would be a shell of what it is today if it wasn’t for the hard work of our team. Company culture & a unified team make all the difference.
Execution is the second most important variable. For the most part, ideas are worthless. Often times the difference between a successful company and an unsuccessful one is your teams ability to execute.
What start-ups or technology inspire you?
I’m not sure they would qualify as “startups” but I love all of Elon Musks companies. I’m a fan of Elon because he is passionate about solving extremely complex & difficult problems, and isn’t afraid to try things where other people have failed (Solar energy, privatization of space, electric cars, etc.)
Finally, what is your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Be naive. Take big chances. You have to be a little crazy to think you change the world, but that’s what allows you to take bold risks & think differently.
The second piece of advice I have is to solve real problems. There are so many inefficiencies out there - just pick one & solve it. Instead of trying to build the next Twitter or Facebook, as your Doctor/ Lawyer/ Anyone what the biggest pain point of their work day is, then use technology to solve it.