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UNMC PhD student chosen as Pipeline Spotlight Entrepreneur

William Payne, a doctoral student of pharmaceutical sciences at University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), is bridging the gap between entrepreneurs and PhDs with his veterinary tech startup Simple Vet Solutions. Next month, he’ll be pitching his software company at The Pipeline Innovators in Kansas City.

“I’ll wake up in the morning and write some code, then I’ll go and do some lab work, then I’ll come home and keep going,” said Payne. “It’s that infinite hustle of being an entrepreneur. You just make it work.”

Simple Vet Solutions (SVS) is a business-to-business, software-as-a-service company that provides a platform to ensure regulatory compliance in veterinary health records.

Payne explained that in January 2017, the FDA tightened regulations on how veterinary records, specifically veterinary health records, are tracked.

Payne partnered with his veterinarian father, Bert, to create Simple Vet Solutions. The elder Payne is an industry veterinarian who does consulting for large poultry producers on the east coast.

“He came to me and said that the FDA is implementing these rules and there are companies out there to help manage this electronically, but they charge too much,” said Payne. “Can you make me something?”

SVS is a software service that eliminates the extra time and energy required to meet FDA regulations for animal medications. According to Payne, the company offers secure and compliant management of veterinary prescriptions and feed directives for any size of livestock operation, veterinary practice, or feed distributor.

Once other veterinarians found out what Payne and his father were developing, they wanted in.

“Will has already accomplished something that many entrepreneurs struggle with,” said UNeMed President and CEO Michael Dixon, who also serves as a mentor for Pipeline. “He went out and identified a real problem, then he created a real solution. And, he already has people that are paying real money for that solution. Sounds simple enough, but those are three critical elements that don’t always come together for entrepreneurs.”

Payne said that SVS has been revenue-positive from the beginning and they currently provide service to commercial farms spread over the eastern United States.

That early success led the University of Nebraska to select Payne as the student company finalist to pitch at The Innovators in Kansas City coming on January 25.

“I’m really happy that I was chosen to represent Nebraska,” said Payne. “Since I’m from UNMC and I’m doing something in tech that’s completely unrelated to my Ph.D. thesis, it’s very cool.”

Payne will join three other Pipeline Spotlight Entrepreneurs on stage and pitch his business plan to an audience of national experts, entrepreneurs, investors, media and advocates. Other Spotlight Entrepreneurs will represent the University of Kansas, the University of Missouri and Washington University in St. Louis.

“We are thankful to have tremendously supportive University partners in our region who help bring an entrepreneurial mindset to both their students and faculty,” said Joni Cobb, Pipeline President & CEO. “It is an honor to spotlight both their students and the university initiatives spawning such talent right in our backyards.”

Payne said he plans to apply for the full Pipeline fellowship program in 2019.

“As soon as I finish my Ph.D., I’m going entrepreneur full-time,” said Payne. “It’s one of those things that once you get a taste and you start to experience the atmosphere of working for yourself and creating, you really can’t go back.”

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Christine McGuigan is the Managing Editor of Silicon Prairie News

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