Navigating a Tech Launch
Dave Talenfeld, Eller MBA '10 (center) with business
mentors Robert Hisrich (left) and Steve Larsen.
Eller MBA '10
CEO, Botanisol, LLC
By Liz Warren-Pederson
“Growing up, I was fascinated by technology, entrepreneurship, and globalization,” said Dave Talenfeld. When it came time to look at college, he focused on political science, economics, and Spanish at the UA. From there, he decided to pursue his JD at the James E. Rogers College of Law – while simultaneously earning his MBA at Eller and his Master’s of Global Management at the Thunderbird School of International Management in Glendale.
At the UA, he worked in the Office of Technology Transfer (OTT). “I got turned on to biotech while reading an article from The Economist in the OTT,” he said. “The article was about the industry’s potential – it’s huge. Genomics, bioinformatics, synthetic biology, and other emerging technologies will transform every aspect of our lives. It’s not just about better, more affordable medicine; it’s about self-assembling, self-replicating, self-repairing machines. We’re learning to hack nature’s operating system to solve some of the biggest problems of our time.”
As part of his MBA experience, Talenfeld interned with Sunquest Information Systems, the Tucson-based diagnostic equipment company founded by Bob Morrison, a mentor-in-residence with the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship. At Sunquest, he took on a variety of roles, all of which fueled his interest in biotech.
Now he is CEO of a new company, Botanisol, LLC, which seeks to commercialize a UA pharmaceutical patent. “I’m working with two brilliant UA scientists to bring a revolutionary anti-inflammatory dietary supplement to market,” he explained. “Botanisol is a new dietary ingredient for arthritis sufferers and others coping with chronic inflammatory diseases. Existing medications can be dangerous. They’ve caused more hospitalizations in the United States since 1990 than there have been casualties of all American wars, ever. Our formula is a 100% organic, pure plant extract that exhibits anti-inflammatory properties similar to the most popular drugs, but comes from a health food source with a historical record of use dating back thousands of years.”
The naturally derived supplement comes from the essential oils of the turmeric plant, using am environmentally-friendly process that involves no toxic solvents.
Talenfeld and his partners are connecting with investors – including at the recent IdeaFunding conference, where they raised $50,000 from a private individual during the Sanofi-Aventis-sponsored pitch contest.
He hopes that others will take the leap and build new industries in Arizona. “I’m interested in helping to make Arizona destination for top minds,” he said. “I care about the people here and want our state to have a bright future.”
Talenfeld calls himself the luckiest kid ever born in Mesa, Arizona. “My success is due less to my own innate abilities than to the help of great people around me,” he said, citing the support of 16 mentors, including Ken Smith of the Eller College.
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