Minnesota Startup Flywheel Exchange Throws Big Data At Big Billions

Northeast Minneapolis startup Flywheel Exchange is empowering researchers to concentrate more on the science and less on the IT.

Recently roped into the Invenshure portfolio, Flywheel ties the acumen of serial entrepreneurs Troy Kopischke and Danny Cunagin with technology sourced from Stanford University.

The data and algorithym management SaaS platform allows public and private scientific researchers to “crunch data like never before,” making it dynamic, reproducible and collaborative.  What’s at stake is a massive acceleration of global R&D as we know it, a space that commands hundreds of billions of dollars annualy.

“A scientist may want to collect lab data, metadata, imaging, pathology and genomics data all under one study,” Kopischke explains.

“Today, that information is often siloed in disparate systems, locations and formats. This makes it hard for them to grasp and build on or borrow from. We’re creating a neutral space for datasets from multiple modalities, representing an entirely new approach — both in terms philosophy and technology.”

But Kopischke and company are tapping an even deeper trend.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH),  industry journals, and the scientific community at large are starting to challenge themselves to increase disclosure.  By encouraging transparency around public R&D, it appears accountability and outcomes are destined to improve over time.  Greater scrutiny and higher expectations can lead to true scientific breakthroughs, Kopiscke maintains.

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The vision of ultimately becoming a markeplace for such serious research is perhaps the most ambitious element of Flywheel’s plan.  He pictures a place where data and algorithms can be stored, secured, bought, sold and traded — all in near realtime, like a Github but for scientists.

“While citing has been the currency of public research, we believe that sharing will become the new citing,” says Flywheel COO Imad Nijim who recently joined with 20+ years of international health tech experience in hand.  His number one mandate will be to ensure successful scale of the company when the time is right.

Beyond Kopischke and Nijim, the venture claims 10 employees at NE Minneapolis headquarters who are supporting a number of unnamed product pilots, according to Kopischke.

“There’s a lot of field for us to plow here,” Nijim says, noting that the budget for NIH sponsored research in the US was ~$30b alone this year.

“Scientific reproducibility is a hot topic and having a commercial vehicle is the most sustainable way forward.”

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