As the president and CEO of Transonic, Cornelius S. Drost knows about the excitement and challenges of developing a startup company. In a recent interview with The Cornell Daily Sun, Drost discussed the roots of his startup business, while offering advice to those interested in entrepreneurship.
The Inspiration Behind Creating Transonic
The idea for Transonic first came about during Drost’s days as a research associate in the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine. After 10 years of work, he recognized the importance of establishing more accurate flow measurements for animal studies—a move that would provide sufficient data to answer scientific questions with fewer animal subjects.
Drost already had a foundation with the innovative blood flow measurement technology he had developed at Cornell. Building on this research, he sought to start a company that could bring this patented technology to a wider audience. It was this goal that led to the founding of Transonic Systems in 1983.
What started out as a small operation has evolved into a company with $20 million in revenue and subsidiaries in Japan, Taiwan and the Netherlands. In addition to becoming the gold standard for both chronic and acute animal studies, Transonic has launched other successful product lines to improve the measurement of dialysis access flow and patient cardiac output.
The Path to Success
As Drost notes in the interview, every Transonic product begins as innovations. By initially selling these products to innovators within life science disciplines, the company has been able to bring about disruptive change to the market. And as new competing technologies enter the market space, the company (or parts of it) have restructured into a sales organization to meet ongoing needs.
With a firm belief in organic corporate growth, Transonic has remained a privately held company over the years. Drost encourages other entrepreneurs to embrace a similar approach, as it allows for plans to be adjusted per ongoing successes and failures.
Another piece of advice that Drost gives to entrepreneurs: Always put passion before profit.
“Follow your technology innovation dream, don’t follow a get-rich-quick dream,” he said.