On October 25, 2023, Residents gathered together to hear from alum of The Garage, Alex Bahram. Alex is the co-founder and CEO of Pathize Health, a health data analytics platform that helps manage complex chronic conditions like long COVID, ME/CFS, & POTS. During his time at Northwestern, he participated in The Garage’s Jumpstart and Residency programs before raising $500,000 with Drive Capital to work on his venture full-time.
Alex broke down his experience as a full-time founder into the following categories: The Good, The Scary, and The Different. For Alex, the good part about being a full-time founder was that he could dedicate all of his time to his company, in that, he was paid to do something he loves. On the other hand, he mentioned that it can at times be challenging as the fate of the company is entirely dependent on him and his team. He also highlighted the ambiguity of working as a founder, as there’s oftentimes no ‘right answer’ when it comes to building your own company.
He also shared more about his experience building a startup, stating that it has been a mixture of high highs and low lows. Although this is the case, he said that the community of students and alums of The Garage have been an invaluable support system. He also referenced The Garage as the place where he met many of his connections, including the co-founder of his company.
Importantly, Alex stressed the value in leveraging Northwestern’s vast alumni network in order to learn from industry experts. He shared his personal experience reaching out to the Northwestern community on LinkedIn as a student, which ended up being tremendously successful for him. “Never underestimate what you can learn from others as a student founder. You’d be surprised how willing people are to share with someone who is looking to learn about the industry,” shared Alex.
Alex wrapped up his talk by detailing what he wished he knew when he was a Resident at The Garage. In general, he shared that being a founder is hard, but the job is more worthwhile and rewarding when working on a problem that has substantial meaning to you. Product-wise, he wished he knew that the first version of a product is not meant to be polished and perfect- and that it is important to do more with less.
Lastly, he reminded the audience that every great startup was not built by people who were smarter than everyone else, but by those who stayed in the fight the longest. Residents left inspired by Alex’s experiences and advice and motivated to incorporate them into their lives and startups.