The Serendipity of a Startup–Dan Hanchey and Neural Analytics

The goal of my blog is to inspire and connect by telling the tales of our amazing people in FEMBA. Dan Hanchey, ’13, Co-Founder and VP of Product Development of Neural Analytics, has a remarkable story and I hope I can do it justice.

20140528 Neural Analytics  Dan Hanchey 13

Dan Hanchey, FEMBA 2013, Co-Founder and VP of Product Development at Neural Analytics

Dan began FEMBA with an established career in software development and a family with two kids. Dan was a career enhancer, or, as he puts it, “I had NO plan of starting a company when I entered FEMBA.”

Today Dan is a co-founder of Neural Analytics. He and his partners have raised $2,000,000, boast a strong patent portfolio (2 pending and 8 provisional), have earned prize money in four UCLA competitions, and have a working prototype. Their product? A non-invasive brain-trauma diagnostic tool.

How did they do it? Theirs is a great example of the power of the Anderson network and experience.

20140528 Neural Analytics  Al Osborne

Professor Al Osborne

In August of Dan’s 3rd year of FEMBA, Dan voluntarily decided to go “FUMBA” or Fully Unemployed MBA. “Things were falling apart. Family. GAP. I up and quit my job, just to survive,” Dan told me.

“My wife cried for an hour. My in-laws started bringing us food,” Dan continued. “I did this before Neural Analytics. I just had too much going on. My wife and kids and in-laws are fine now, by the way. The serendipity of it was that quitting my job opened up the space that would lead to Neural Analytics getting started.

At around the same time, Dan was taking Professor Al Osborne’s Technology Commercialization class where he met Leo Petrossian, full-time MBA 2014. During Professor Osborne’s class, Dan and Leo were contacted by the UCLA Business of Science Center, which helps academic inventors navigate paths to commercialization.

20140528 Neural Analytics  Leo Petrossian 14

Leo Petrossian ’14, Co-Founder and CEO of Neural Analytics

“We’ve got a UCLA Biomedical Engineering PhD with some great new science. We need some MBAs to come in and get this science ready for market.” That was the gist of the request from BSC to Dan and Leo. They both said “Yes.” This was just months after Dan went FUMBA, and still during GAP.

“The BSC connected us with Robert Hamilton, UCLA PhD in Biomedical Engineering ’13. It’s with Robert that we have created our company. Robert had already won $30K in the BSC Venture Competition and he was seeking the business advice we could bring as MBAs to blaze a path forward.

20140528 Neural Analytics  Robert Hamilton PhD

Robert Hamilton, UCLA PhD ’13, Biomedical Engineering, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Neural Analytics

“We entered three more entrepreneurial competitions, making contacts and winning seed money in each. (First Place and $30K in the Institute for Technology Advancement Venture Competition. Second Place and $7.5K in the Knapp Business Plan Competition. First Place and $3K in the EA Fast Pitch Competition.)

“We were also building our alliances. My GAP advisor is now advising us. One of Leo’s Professors is now advising us. We met an EMBA at the EA competition who became our first investor. We pitched to the Anderson Board of Visitors a year ago and in our current investment round we have a number of Anderson affiliated participants.

The whole thing just has UCLA stamped all over it.”

20140528 Neural Analytics  Judy speaking at the Alumni Conference

Dean Judy Olian is impressed with the networking tale of Neural Analytics too. Here she is in Korn Hall, telling the Neural Analytics story to the Alumni Conference. My apologies for the cell phone photo. That’s Judy speaking, with Dan and Leo in the photo behind her.

Dylan: Wow. This is so great Dan. So what now, instant success awaits?”

Dan: “Ha! We wish. We’re fully in motion now. Our investment round continues and we’re hitting our milestones. We have this picture below, of the entrepreneurial pathway.”

20140528 Neural Analytics  what-successful-people-knowDan: “And we continue building our company. Here are two photos of our team-building day. We felt paintball would be great way to start building chemistry. The photos are before-and-after.

20140528 Neural Analytics  paintballBefore

Neural Analytics, paintball day, before. Back row, third, fourth and fifth from left are Robert, Leo and Dan.

20140528 Neural Analytics  paintballAfter

Neural Analytics, paintball day, after

20140530 Dan Hanchey 13 and Dylan

Dan Hanchey and Dylan Stafford after our interview two weeks ago, in front of that statue we all see everyday in the A Building…


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