Chief Executive Officer, Nebulab
Guillermo Vela is the CEO and co-founder of Nebulab, a San Antonio start-up creating a data management platform for scientists as a way to increase research efficiency, collaboration, and transparency. Nebulab was one of ten companies from about 1,200 worldwide applicants to participate in the Techstars Cloud ’15 accelerator program in San Antonio.
- M.S., Biotechnology, Johns Hopkins University, 2010
- B.A., Latin American Studies, Johns Hopkins University, 2008
I began my career as a brain cancer and stem cell researcher for the Department of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins. There, I studied the potential use of stem cells extracted from bone or fat tissue for combating malignant brain tumors. I also studied the molecular mechanisms of tumor cell migration, as well as a specific human cancer of the spinal cord known as a chordoma and its putative chordoma stem cells.
While I loved my research days, I soon understood that the advancement of science depends on more than just good science. Its very livelihood is conjoined to how we fund, conduct, and ultimately share our research, and all three are in need of improvement. In a genuine display of naivety, I set out to address these issues by turning to something I knew nothing about: entrepreneurship.
My goal was to leverage non-traditional funding sources (by academic standards), lean startup methodologies, and market incentives as a way to expedite the development of potential therapies. This was a failure by conventional standards, but a complete success on a personal level. During that time, I developed relationships, skills, and a necessary understanding of the private sector, all of which led me to where I am today. I never imagined myself in the world of technology startups, and it was science that led me to it.