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Product | People | Potential – our chat with FluoretiQ

We caught up with Neciah Dorh, CEO and Founder of FluoretiQ. FluoretiQ is a rapid bacterial identification technology that can diagnose infection within minutes, leading to faster treatment & recovery.

The purpose of article series ‘Product | People | Potential’ is to feature and showcase the very best UK start-ups with great potential, truly inspiring businesses that are shaking up their sector. We capture and share the stories behind the name. We collate authentic peer to peer real-talk, while celebrating the growth and success thus far and gather a glimpse of what’s ahead.

Zoe @ADLIB: Hi Neciah, great to meet you! Please can you kick us off with an introduction to yourself and FluoretiQ?

Neciah: My name is Neciah Dorh, I am a Founder and CEO of FluoretiQ. FluoretiQ have developed and pioneered NANOPLEX™, which is a rapid diagnostic technology platform that can identify and diagnose bacterial infections in 15 minutes rather than 2 days. We have been developing NANOPLEX™ over the last 3 years and are now focusing on development of our first product for helping diagnose urinary tract infections and optimise antibiotic treatment from the first visit to the GP.

Zoe @ADLIB: Can you share the story behind the origin of FluoretiQ?

Neciah: FluoretiQ was founded by Josephine Dorh, Prof. Martin Cryan and I back in 2017. Josephine and I were both students of Prof. Cryan during our undergraduate studies at University of Bristol’s Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. I must say, however, that NANOPLEX would not be where it is today without input from Prof. Carmen Galan and Dr. James Spencer from University of Bristol, both of whom remain advisers to the business today. Our shared vision was to ensure everyone receives optimal antibiotic treatment on their first trip to the GP. For NANOPLEX, we sat around a table and leveraged our collective, interdisciplinary expertise to create a truly innovative and rapid approach to finding and identifying bacteria. Much of the early progress came from sweat equity which would soon open the door to a collaborative Innovate UK grant with University of Bristol. The rest as they say, is history.

Zoe @ADLIB: Can you share some challenges you have faced when looking for people to join?

Neciah: As we move onto Research and Development, we start to bring in new and exciting skills to the business.

As a small business, it can be hard to stand out to attract top talent, especially when working in such a highly specialised field, but when you do find people, it is important that they fit into the team. I recommend hiring HR personnel early on, so you can establish a recruitment process that works for you and to ensure that the right culture is developed. It is also important to invest time in understanding the ambitions of the people who work for you, so that you as an employer ensure the business goals and their career ambitions are co-aligned and everyone is mutually fulfilled along the journey.

Zoe @ADLIB: How have you been able to understand and implement the market fit for the service you are offering?

Neciah: Talking to experts in the field who will use your product is very important.

In the early days, we pitched our concept to an NHS Pathology Lab. At that meeting, we were given really critical feedback on which problems were worth tackling and some of the opportunities available.

Once we had completed our first proof of concept, the first full-time hire we made was a product manager, James, whose role is to engage with customers and key opinion leaders. It is important to us that we ensure that we got the product right early on. Early engagement also helps us build relationships while we were in the development stage and create awareness about FluoretiQ.

Zoe @ADLIB: What challenges have you had to overcome to create FluoretiQ?

Neciah: Understanding the landscape with respect to funding, development and adoption. Our field is quite nuanced and we’ve been fortunate to have really great business advisers who have successfully built businesses, taken products to market and designed clinical studies.

Zoe @ADLIB: Investment can often be a challenge for start-ups & scale-ups. Do you have any piece of wisdom you could share around best approach?

Neciah: Network goes without saying, if investors haven’t heard of you, then it is hard to get their attention. Take advantage of networks being set up in the UK and all over the world, through new digital offerings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is also important to research the investors that you plan to approach to ensure that your company and fundraise fit their investment criteria. This will avoid wasting your time and theirs! But ultimately, don’t give up as it may not be the right time now but never say never.

Thank you so much for your time.