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USA Trade Mission – Grow London, London & Partners

Participating in the Mayor of London’s Grow London initiative and representing London’s digital health sector in the state of California marked a significant milestone for us. Here are some of the 5 day program’s key highlights shared by Jitesh Halai, who proudly represented the best of OneSC.

First, a massive shout to James CummingsRikesh PatelMatthew Kolkin and the team at London and Partners for putting this amazing program together.

Day 1

Day 1 began with a delightful welcome dinner, where I had the pleasure of meeting my fellow founders in the cohort – a remarkable group of individuals with exceptional businesses.

The cohort received a warm introduction to California’s life science ecosystem (Dave Whelan of BioscienceLA) and a comprehensive understanding of the investment scene (Jay Goss of Wavemaker360). This laid a solid foundation for our journey ahead. Special thank you to our program partners, Oury Clark, Amelia Hook and Philippa Sturt, who also hosts the “Business without Bullshit!” podcast.

Kickoff dinner with the Cohort

Day 2

Day 2 commenced with an insightful visit to Cedars-Sinai, where we delved into their accelerator program, designed to support start-ups across their extensive West Coast hospital network.

The Cedars-Sinai health ventures program is one I have my eye on, thanks for the lowdown Omar Perez, Rithik Jain, Ricky Rath. Today marked the beginning of our numerous 60-second elevator pitches we would undertake throughout the week, all under the watchful eye of Rik Patel; little did we know that later on, these pitches would be condensed to a mere 10 seconds!

The day was nicely wrapped up with a visit to one of the finest viewpoints of the LA landscape – the Cedars-Sinai hospital helipad!

The first 60s pitch at Cedars Sinai

Next on the itinerary was a visit to Varda Space Industries, a company harnessing Space X technology to establish a manufacturing and testing platform in space. I was completely awestruck by their ambitious goals. A heartfelt thanks to Mark Herbert for taking the time to host us during this eye-opening experience.

Celebrity Selfie! with Mark Herbert, Varda Space Industries

We concluded the day with Taco Tuesday at Bioscience LA, where I had the pleasure of meeting the cheerful Bryanna Kolpak, who is bridging the gap between UK and US businesses. Additionally, meeting Andrew Chan of Builders VC was undoubtedly one of the highlights, as he shared unfiltered insights into the “Life of a VC – unadulterated!”.

Day 3

Day 3 kicked off with an early start at the Octane OC #MedicalInnovationForum, a two day event that brought together a diverse array of local and regional ecosystem players, spanning hospital groups, universities, global MedTech giants and investors.

Our gracious host for the day was the Director of Octane, Linda DiMario, who went above and beyond to ensure our delegation’s wellbeing. We were provided with our private room and had the opportunity for one-on-one meetings with senior representatives from local and regional ecosystem players, hospital groups, universities, global MedTech giants, & investors. The event was a whirlwind of intriguing conversations and the constant pitching kept us fuelled with adrenaline throughout the day.

At the Octane Medical Innovation Forum

Day 4

Day 4 began with a deep dive into the intricacies of doing business in the US, courtesy of #GrowLondonGlobal partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. The session covered legal matters, funding and collaboration, revealing the complex nature of the landscape. Having a reliable partner is essential for navigating this terrain.

Next on our agenda was J-LABS San Diego, where we had the privilege of hearing from both the J-Labs team and resident Pranav Sharma of Xosomix. They provided insights into the J-Lab facility and its collaborative atmosphere, showcasing how organizations like J-Lab and Cedars Sinai create ecosystem environments to support and nurture startups, which was truly impressive.

Our journey continued at Illumina, where we learned about their remarkable progress in genome sequencing, their global accelerator program and their commitment to fostering collaboration. We also had the opportunity to visit their solution center, which featured a creative pipe-cleaner presentation on genomics and a demonstration of their new $1 million genome sequencing machine.

We unwinded at the Viewpoint Brewery in Del Mar, hosted by the inspiring Wyatt Hinshaw. He shared his entrepreneurial journey and provided fascinating insights into the development of the brewery business he was a part of.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Emily Cowley from the Department for Business and Trade, who shared how her department can facilitate conversations between businesses in the UK and the US, a valuable connection worth pursuing.

At the Ilumina Facility

Day 5

Day 5 marked the grand finale of our journey! We dedicated the day to attending the last round of #StartupweekSanDiego, indulging in a final round of networking and engaging panel discussions.

A special mention goes out to Martin Bridges, a fellow Brit who has relocated to San Diego. He generously provided us with candid feedback into the VC perspective and we have an upcoming follow-up conversation into learning more from him.

I was fascinated by two university students with ambitious plans to launch their fintech business – keep an eye out for Luciano Martingano and his partner, Jameson Goldstein, as they will soon make waves in the industry.

The group headed into San Diego’s renowned #Gaslampquarter for one final celebration together, cherishing the newly formed friendships before bidding adieu and parting ways.

On the way back!

I would like to thank the London and Partners team, as well as the Grow London team, along with all our gracious hosts and partners who showcased the incredible opportunities and natural synergies between London and Southern California.

A special thanks goes out to my cohort startup colleagues – we shared conversations, experiences, showed mutual support, delivered pitches and laughed together.

Thank you to Farah KabirSamit BiswasArjun JayaswalEmanuela Kufel, Peter Hansell, Phil Steele, Emilė Radytė, James Cummings, Rikesh PatelMatthew Kolkin, Michael Wilkinson, George McBride, Sridevi Kalidindi CBE, and Saheed Olamide Agbomeji.

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