Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to David Franklin. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
David, appreciate you joining us today. Risk taking is something we’re really interested in and we’d love to hear the story of a risk you’ve taken.
Entrepreneurship is a risk and there are various levels in one’s journey based on the type of business you have. I left corporate after participating in two IPO’s and initially leaned into my professional skill sets, application and business process design. My first three startups were service based which really was an extension of my own experience and expertise. Here I was able to mentor, train or contract others to essentially follow my outline for success and expand on joint knowledge sharing. My current startup, knowRX Health, is a platform subscription and product so the characteristics are very different.
In all cases, there comes a point in time between hustling, being creative to generate revenue and stepping off the cliff and learning to fly or being all in. Failure is not the risk, that’s actually very helpful as you begin to focus more on problems to solve, clients needs and identify your true product/service offering. The real risk is letting go, but of what?
The biggest risk in entrepreneurship is letting go of your beliefs and really discovering who you are. Are you willing to disrupt what others, including yourself have prompted you to be and connect to the core nature of your being? Are you willing to go inward to discover what true passion leads to your purpose in life?
Why is entrepreneurship risky? It’s about self discovery as a leader and leaning into dark places with only a glimpse of light and the only sounds you hear while walking through the space are in your own thoughts of fear, failure and fatigue. Many turn back and some make it through. Entrepreneurship is where Founders are found and formed.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers?
I’m a Navy Veteran and it was during my 8-years of service that laid the foundation for my professional career and instilled values that I run deep in all aspects of my life. They are service, commitment, resourcefulness, and grit. I’m also an ordained minister and helped several churches in my tenure. I think one of the most important values came from my parents, to be open minded towards people.
In my current company, we are an early stage digital health tech startup that is changing the narrative in drug innovation through a diversity lens that engages and educates trusted providers (physicians) and empowers patients through health literacy, medication adherence, communications and involvement. In losing my father in 2018, due to a medication side-effect, I wanted to solve a problem where patients could have better conversations with their care team about their medications. knowRX Health (knowledge about prescriptions) was formed in 2019. In evaluating the drug innovation industry, I also learned that nearly 80% of clinical trials provide insufficient clinical trials data to prove safety, effectiveness in non-white patients. Where does clinical trial data come from? Mainly from its participants. What’s the impact of this data when researchers produce medications? Potential adverse effects, poor health quality or even loss of life.
In 2021, the United States prescribed 4.5 billion medications and 2 out of 3 physician visits resulted in medication being ordered. This is a huge problem and it starts at a simple place of data collection. However, the difficulty of the problem or participation is overshadowed by decades of mistrust in the patient population, specifically the minority populations through actions from the Healthcare industry.
America is more diverse than ever and as health policies are changing, knowRX Health is helping empower patients to be more informed to have better conversations and better health outcomes. Our goal is to engage and educate both the providers and their patients and give them new opportunities in drug innovations while being more aware of their current medications.
It’s important to me that we are a patient platform, a voice in the community and for the community. As healthcare goes through a digital transformation and with the continual shifting of generations the understanding of a physician:patient relationship is eroding and the value of the provider role is marginalized by connivence options today. The importance of a trust provider should not be transactionalize so we foster better engagement during visits and between visits.
We are also studying through machine learning the probability of medication side effects and hope to identify new patterns that identify new care plans and new drug innovations based on age, gender and race/ethnicity. I believe today, medications are available to all but not made for all and we are driving this change in precision medication for all of us.
Any fun sales or marketing stories?
This is very recent and you can see the effects of it here at https://depictact.com –
I temporarily relocated to Boston to attend a business accelerator, Techstars and during this time, my co-founder and I was on a call with a government agency and they mentioned “The DEPICT ACT” and a new bill that was moving through legislation that would be of interest to our business.
That evening, I read the entire bi-partisan bill, HR 7667 and saw that it had passed the House and was sent to the Senate. The DEPICT ACT is set to drive diversity standards in the conduct of clinical research and those conducting trials would have their plan reviewed by the FDA annually.
I saw the importance of these changes and industry and agency’s had already started looking into ways to adjust to the potential changes. I myself, started doing additional research online and noticed that nobody owned the domain names around “depict act”. Now, it’s 1:30 in the morning and I quickly moved from my phone to my laptop and purchased several name usage of “depict act” and before the weekend had launched a new website, as mentioned above to give insights into the bill, its purpose and create a lead generation platform for our solution.
This is having a great impact on our visibility in the space and helping us lead the charge in becoming a leader in the space of diversity engagement for clinical trials.
We’d love to hear a story of resilience from your journey.
We were selected to attend a business accelerator, Techstars Boston which required the founders to relocate for 13 weeks. My co-founder wasn’t in a position to attend as I went as a solo founder. During this time, I had to shift environments and live in a house with three roommates in a rented room. My roommates were not a part of the program as you have to find your own living space for the duration. You also have to manage your business while working through an accelerated program to drive your business forward.
My days started early, 5:30 am and generally ended around 10 pm. Not having a car, I had to walk, ride a bike, take a train or an expensive Lyft each day. As a founder, you take the least expensive method. In the three months, I never cooked a meal or watched tv. My diet shifted drastically but I leaned in to making healthier choices. Without a tv, I enjoyed reading a new book, “Think Like a Monk” by Jay Sheety – I was really feeling like a monk too with the lack of resources. I challenged myself to live with curiosity and discover a new place on the weekends and meet some amazing people and saw early American history with each step. I would walk 10-14 miles a day each weekend and close to 7 miles each day during the week.
Being new to the house and everyone working different shifts where you never really saw anyone, I was presented with a challenge in the house. It was freezing, so one night, I went to the store and bought a heating blanket which I slept on almost nightly. I would eventually find the thermostat and it was set to 62 degrees.
During this same period, I found myself in the ER twice, once on a trip back to Austin and the other while in Boston. The pressure to perform, the new environment, change in diet and work/life balance was taking its toll. However, even in the ER, I found a way to pitch my business. I always made forward progress each day, I found a note of optimism and positivity to embrace.
Challenges are temporary and how you go through them often determines the duration. I’ve learned to embrace change and to lean into difficult situations as I know this is where I become more aligned with my purpose. In the end, and after 16 years of high cholesterol, spending the summer in an accelerator in Boston, I can happily say, I no longer have high cholesterol…and I have a home-run ball from Fenway Park, too!