Joe MarkunasPartner Partner
Bridging the Gap between Investors and Science-based Clients
Joe works with life science, bio-tech and healthcare clients, their founders and inventors to distill and tell their story through business eyes, bridging the gap between science and finance. He translates the innovative technology into functioning business models so that investors can grasp how the offering can be commercialized and operationalized for an ample return on their investment. His 30 years of hands-on business and financial experience coupled with his strong communication skills ensures that life-enhancing, disruptive technologies are brought to market that otherwise might end up on the shelf.
Joe has always displayed an entrepreneurial spirit. Raised on Chicago’s South Side by a loving mother and a fireman father who was also an entrepreneur on the side he is the product of Catholic education where Joe learned early a strong work ethic and the value of a dollar and the pride one feels from giving back to the community.
He started hustling at an early age, caddying for some of Chicago’s more prominent businessmen in the summers of his youth. He learned how business works by listening and asking questions while carrying the clubs for professional athletes, doctors, insurance and steel manufacturing executives and even an attorney specializing in airline crash litigation. His exposure to a wide range of industries gave him insights into a world of vast opportunities and business functions. But he was especially drawn to accounting.
Joe developed a love for numbers in high school and was captivated by the process of organizing data and information to provide meaningful reports for decision making and action. While caddying for the Director of the Chicago office of the FBI it all came together when he explained to Joe how accounting was used in his line of work. Joe knew then he had found his calling.
His plan upon graduating from The University of Portland in Oregon was to pass the CPA exam and join a public accounting firm. Joe did just that, first in Chicago’s Loop. Later, after relocating to the Pacific Northwest, Joe joined and later became a partner with a Portland firm. Wanting to work with clients as more than just a numbers guy he formed his own firm a few years later in order to serve his clients more intimately in managing their personal and business interests.
One of Joe’s early clients was an emergency room doctor. After proving himself as his personal CPA, Joe was asked to take on the accounting for the entire medical group of 40+ emergency room doctors. They came to view him as a trusted advisor, asking him to consult beyond his tax and accounting expertise in matters such as negotiating contracts and examining compensation plans for the doctors. This exposure to healthcare and life sciences provided Joe with insights into the challenges inherent in and unique to the medical and life sciences fields and provided a springboard for his work with healthcare, biotech and pharmaceutical clients.
A transformational moment occurred when Joe was introduced to an entrepreneur with a ground-breaking dental procedure and business model that would disrupt and greatly improve dental health care. The founder needed a strong business partner in order to develop and commercialize a medical device, obtain FDA approval and build global distribution. He had a vision to proactively treat dental disease medically and not surgically, especially in third world countries with populations that can’t afford ”sick-care” solutions. Joe became that strong business partner who could bring this vision to fruition operationally and financially.
Excited by the mission and the challenges involved, Joe partnered with the founder to build the business infrastructure and dug into the exhausting work of IP protection, FDA premarket 501K submissions, took on international business development, marketing and distribution, pricing, branding and trademarking. He focused on the business side so that his partner could focus on the science and the solutions. The insights he gained from working in all aspects of the business are brilliantly leveraged in his consulting work supporting life sciences, bio-tech and healthcare clients as well as consulting clients across a broad spectrum of industries.
His clients are frequently involved with innovative, often disruptive, technologies that typically have three core elements in common:
- The technologies increase access to care
- They improve healthcare outcomes
- They greatly reduce healthcare costs
Joe is also drawn to companies that embody bold and philanthropic ideals and are often funded by “impact investors” – a special breed of investor seeking to make a positive social impact with their investments while also seeking sustainable ROI. These clients appreciate Joe’s ability to not only manage the financial aspects of the operation, but also to grasp the scientific side such that he can communicate and translate it to investors. He genuinely is interested in the technical and product side and that natural curiosity allows him to study and absorb the science behind the technology.
When working with lenders, investors or directors, Joe has the ability to communicate these complex science matters in an understandable format. His job when sitting at the investor table is to tell the story and bridge the gap between the highly technical science and how it translates into financial opportunity and returns.
We are in the home stretch of our Due Diligence now. It has been such a pleasure working with you, it was the best decision we made bringing you on to support us. The organizational skills you brought to the table created a smooth and efficient due diligence process. Your knowledge, guidance, experience and recommendations were indispensable in this undertaking.
– Sandra Gallagher, Vice President, RKI Instruments, Inc.
We all are very thankful to you for your Due Diligence expertise. You turned what initially appeared to be a formidable task into a methodical and manageable process. We couldn't have done this without your help. We will certainly call on you again.
– Bob Pellissier, President, RKI Instruments, Inc.
- Surviving M&A Due Diligence March 8, 2017
- The Life Science Blog Series No. 1: Using Venture Debt Effectively October 18, 2016