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Start-up generation

Samantha López, Oliver Balcells and Joan Grasas

Co-founders of RheoDx

Samantha López has a degree in Biology and a master in Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, with experience in molecular biology and data analysis. Oliver Balcells has a degree in Business Administration and an MBA, experience in finance and venture capital. Joan Grasas has degrees in Telecommunications engineering and Market research and a master in Engineering Management and international Business Administration, and experience in Business Management and Innovation. These three profiles came together to co-found RheoDX, where they are currently the CSO, CEO and CPO, respectively.

Samantha López, Oliver Balcells and Joan Grasas: “Mistakes are a necessary learning process on the road to success”


RheoDX is developing a medical device to detect anomalies in blood cells. It does this with just one drop of blood and no reagents, with results in 5 minutes. This makes the hematology sector more efficient, cutting costs and risks for patients. Samantha López, co-founder and CSO; Oliver Balcells, co-founder and CEO; and Joan Grasas, co-founder and CPO of the company, explain their experience of the entrepreneurial process and the company’s challenges.


Why did you want to be an entrepreneur?

Samantha López: To do my part to transform science and research into product and social and economic impact.

Oliver Balcells: I had already worked at a venture capital firm and a couple of start-ups. But I wanted to start something from the beginning, bringing to the table cutting-edge technology, the best talent and market knowledge.

Joan Grasas: I don’t think anyone ‘wants’ to be an entrepreneur, it’s just that their personal experiences, motivations and curious nature push them in this direction naturally. Specifically, I wanted to work in the world of healthcare because I am a chronic patient and I have first-hand experience of the impact innovation has on improving quality of life.


What is the most important strategic decision you’ve made so far?

O.B: Every day we make many decisions, but the most strategic one was to decide which application is the best fit for our technology, taking into account several variables like market size, regulatory pathway, map of competitors, clinical data obtained, patient needs and patient pain.

J.G: Given my career, deciding not to go back to the corporate world and channeling all of my efforts into setting up my own company in the healthcare arena. In terms of my time at RheoDx, giving our device connectivity, as it allows us to protect the intellectual property of our diagnostic technology and make it very scalable in terms of application, opening the door to patients self-monitoring at home, a market that will show strong growth over the coming years.


What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

O.B: The Diverge-Converge Thinking concept was inspiring for me and I have tried to apply it ever since: when facing a problematic situation, you first need to diverge, open every possible situation or solution, and then converge, put a number of different pieces or perspectives of a topic together in some organized, logical manner to find a single answer. We learned it during The Collider program.

J.G: At all the talks for entrepreneurs, they always repeat the mantra about the most common mistakes we all make. And one speaker told us not to worry, that we shouldn’t try to avoid them but take them as a necessary learning process on the road to success.


And now what? What milestones do you want to achieve in the short term?

S.L. / O.B.: To show that the application we propose for the product is feasible on a technical level. So, we’ll be doing preclinical validation with the new devices to move into the next round of funding in late 2019, taking us to market by late 2020.

J.G: For 2019, I’ve set three goals: to industrialize the fungible at the target price, to develop a connected device that is robust and easy to use, and to sign our first sales deals for our technology to be used in research.