Science startup Innovation Choice

Robert Arauz didn’t intend to become an entrepreneur. He’s actually a scientist by profession and training. Starting a company is just the best way he’s found to solve some of the scientific and medical communities’ biggest problems.

His company, Innovation Choice, seeks to remove some of the blockades between information and the people who need it to solve big, global issues.

“We are solving a communications problem in the way scientists and researchers are able to share and obtain relevant medical information,” Arauz told VentureBeat in an email chat. Innovation Choice aims to be a professional network where scientists, educators, researchers, and students can quickly get accurate information from subject experts, all with a focus on respecting intellectual property and individual privacy.

“Today, these people have very limited options in terms of resources at their disposal that they can access in order to tackle the most important questions of our time.

“They aren’t looking for restaurant recommendations; they are seeking how to cure Alzheimer’s.”

Arauz knows the needs of these professionals well. As a research scientist himself, he said getting access to critical and specific information was usually “very expensive, ineffective, and very time consuming.” Innovation Choice, he said, is set up to be the exact opposite.

“We connect scientists from around the world so that they can collaborate and target technical questions in their field. … Using the medical journals to find information is only accessible to a select few and not very good at giving you exact answers; it just provides specific details about particular data. I want the discovery of the next penicillin to take months, not 10 years.”

Members of the site must be verified professionals in the field, which distinguishes the site from many of its competitors.

“I was a bit surprised by the emphasis on credentials,” said Andrew Rosenthal of Massive Health. “A lot of good stuff is bubbling up from people that don’t have formal credentials, and this company has made a very conscious decision to screen for them.”

Currently, Innovation Choice is in early, formative stages. Arauz expects to launch a beta version of the service in January 2013 and is currently trying to raise money for the startup.

Beyond basic startup goals such as product development, feature roll-out, and new user acquisition, Arauz says he’s also trying to “expand to work within the network of most universities (in their life sciences departments)” in his company’s next steps. He’s already partnered with UC Berkeley Extension and University of the Pacific.

“We are creating a product that can ultimately accelerate medical research,” Arauz concluded. “Our vision can yield discoveries that can positively affect millions of lives and make our world a better place to live.”

Innovation Choice is one of 75 companies and 6 student “alpha” startups chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Fall 2012 event taking place this week in Silicon Valley. After we make our selections, the chosen companies pay a fee to present. Our coverage of them remains objective.

Top image courtesy of Sergej Khakimullin, Shutterstock

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