My guest today is Dr. Milena Adamian – a Cardiologist turned venture investor who hustled her way to the top. As the founding member of Azimuth Ventures and Life Sciences Angel Network, Milena knows a thing or two about what it takes to succeed as both a health investor and entrepreneur.
On this episode, Milena shares what it was like to make the transition from practicing physician to investor. We also we explore the key qualities of what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur, discuss the evolving landscape of healthcare investing, and delve into what it’s like being both a female and immigrant in a predominantly white, male driven industry.
All this and more on today’s episode.
Now, That’s Unusual.
About Dr. Milena Adamian
Milena Adamian, MD is Managing Partner at Azimuth Ventures as well as the Life Sciences Angel Network (LSAN). Both of these early stage funds focus on investments in technology-enabled health care solutions, medical devices and bioinformatics.
Dr. Adamian began her career as a cardiologist in Moscow. Her father’s heart attack led her to seek out the best team to perform his angioplasty, and she found those surgeons in Milan. Impressed by the advanced science and high level of care her father received, she offered to volunteer there for a period of three months – and stayed for three years!
An opportunity to further her education at Columbia University next brought her to the United States where she earned her master’s in clinical research and biostatistics and continued to practice medicine until 2003. She then transitioned to the corporate world, taking a position at Boston Scientific where she was part of a program to bring drug-eluting stents to patients on a large scale. It was there that she discovered a desire to facilitate startups as they turn an idea into an operating business.
This interest took her to Lehman Brothers where Adamian served as a Medical Technologies Analyst and then Easton Capital Investment Group where she was Managing Director. In 2010, she established LSAN and then Azimuth to provide quality opportunities for startups in the health care space. Described by a friend as a “badass with a heart,” Adamian seeks to bring revolutionary medical treatments to the world.
Key Interview Takeaways
If you see an opportunity worth pursuing, make it happen. Dr. Adamian lists rule-breaking among her favorite things to do, and her natural curiosity and hustle led her to Milan and then New York as she chased opportunities in the medical field, the corporate world and finally venture investment.
“The moment I get a little more comfortable … I have to make myself uncomfortable again.” Dr. Adamian’s journey is so varied because she pushes herself to keep learning and accepting the next challenge.
Women in every industry need to wow their colleagues to gain equal footing. As a woman in male-dominated industries, Dr. Adamian concedes that women are evaluated differently and must outperform their counterparts to gain recognition.
Technology-enabled health care solutions work best when tech entrepreneurs and paired with respected health care counterparts. Dr. Adamian strives to marry the enthusiasm and energy of the tech entrepreneur with the “scars and grey hair” of the health care professional to create solutions that are both innovative and practical.
Know your customer and learn to speak their language. Dr. Adamian advises tech entrepreneurs to learn as much as they can about the industry they are infiltrating and to listen to experts in the field. In her experience, entrepreneurs coming from the consumer-oriented world of technology can be naïve to the intricacies of the health care system.
“Be resilient, get advice from the people you look up to, and never settle.”