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Join us in May for Economic Development Week, a national event to highlight the importance of economic development and its role in building strong, vibrant communities. During Economic Development Week, cities and organizations across the US showcase their success in attracting and retaining businesses, creating jobs, and promoting economic growth.
Meet RedDrop Dx, an innovative biotech startup that’s revolutionizing blood collection and testing. Their virtually pain-free, low-cost device is perfect for home health, point-of-care, and clinical trials testing. We’re proud to feature them during Economic Development Week and can’t wait to see what they do next!
We recently interviewed the co-founder, Kris Buchanan, of RedDrop Dx to learn more about what inspired him to start this innovative biotech startup. From his experience as an engineer to his entrepreneurial family background, learn about his journey and what’s next for RedDrop Dx. Here is the interview:
1. What made you decide to be an entrepreneur vs work for someone else?
My Father and Grandfather were both entrepreneurs and so growing up I watched both of them create different types of companies, wear many hats, worry about sales and funding, celebrate their successes, learn from their mistakes, etc.. My Dad bought a farm without knowing farming, was a land developer, home contractor, attended law school, was a bar and restaurant owner. My grandfather started a heating and air conditioning service company without knowing anything about it. Both of them just followed their dreams and created products to fit market needs. I worked for 10 different startups as an employee before I took the plunge and started out on my own. As an engineer I was always taking charge of engineering projects and naturally gravitated to building teams of people who were inspired to make great products. I loved developing fluidic systems, life science and medical products and so I started out on my own as a technology consultant developing fluidic systems and naturally projects got bigger and more multi disciplined over time. Eventually I started hiring people so we could develop entire multi-disciplined, complex products for Life Science and Medical Device customers.
2. What inspired you to start RedDrop Dx?
Several times I was approached by companies over the years and they said “if you were ever available we would love for you to do work for us”. Those kinds of discussions over time gave me the confidence to start Phase Three Product Development. Of course I could not have done this on my own. My wife was born in Colorado and raised right here in Fort Collins. Her parents owned their own business and so she understands and supports RedDrop Dx because her parents were entrepreneurs.
We created RedDrop Dx in 2019 along with my co-founder, Dr. Dirk van den Boom. Dirk had the same frustration as CEO of his own company, Juno Dx, in San Diego. Juno Dx has the exact same need for a pain-free blood collection device and so it was a natural pairing to combine Dirk’s market and clinical awareness with our engineering and team building capability. We started with my son, Wil spending his nights and weekends experimenting with different approaches to pain-free blood collection. As our knowledge grew, we started adding more engineers to the development and our expertise grew exponentially. Today RedDrop Dx is a separate company dedicated to bringing the best pain-free blood collection devices to the world.
3. What would you say is the biggest impact RedDrop Dx has on the general public?
One day soon, you will be able to go to your local drugstore and buy RedDrop Dx blood collector kits over the counter. These kits will interface with any Home Health test system. You will be able to keep a few of these kits in your home and use them to test for any blood-based test. You will also receive a RedDrop Dx kit in the mail when you have your blood tested as part of your annual physical. You will simply collect your blood and then place your blood tube into the shipping envelope and mail it to the blood testing center.
4. Can you share some of the next steps for RedDrop Dx and where you hope to see it in the future?
Our number one goal is to launch RedDrop Dx as a product as soon as possible- planned for late 2023. That means we need to complete our Clinical Testing and submit our 510k to the FDA for their approval. Once we are approved by the FDA we will begin quickly scaling up the company shipping RedDrop Dx devices to our customers. We have many more products planned and we will be looking to speed up our ability to design and develop more new products.
5. What piece of advice would you give to aspiring startups in Fort Collins?
Branch out your network. When I started Phase Three, my other company, I teamed up with a local CSU professor, Chuck Henry who is a world-renowned expert in microfluidics. We leveraged each other’s abilities over the years on projects, trade shows, etc.. Over the years we have added local CSU professors as consultants on different projects as our needs have changed.
There is an incredible support system in Fort Collins- wise advisors in nearly every aspect of business who have “been there and done that”. Most of them are more than happy to chat with you over a cup of coffee.
Get to know Innosphere and CSU Strata. Innosphere has a vast capability to help startup companies and CSU Strata has a portfolio of technologies developed at CSU that are available for licensing.
6. What keeps you in Fort Collins?
Quality of life and outdoor recreation are top draws for us but we have deep roots in Fort Collins and CSU. My son, Wil ran track and cross country for CSU. All three of our kids went to school here and live today in Fort Collins. We love it in Fort Collins, we have deep roots, and we are not leaving. CSU also provides a continuous stream of top quality talent to Phase Three and RedDrop Dx and those companies offer great well paying jobs.
7. What is your favorite Fort Collins business?
My heroes in the current Fort Collins business scene are the folks that started New Belgium and Odell’s breweries. Both of these companies give a lot of people great jobs and quality of life, create great world-wide brands, make a lot of effort to make Fort Collins a better place to live, and have made their companies built to last.