LAUNCH® 2020 Cohort Spotlight: Celeste Maksim

Get to know LAUNCH® participant, Celeste Maksim!

What exactly is your business?

Software to automate content mapping and updates. The platform facilitates the flow of information in the manufacturing process chain. It streamlines data from supply chain through manufacturing to regulatory review at government agencies and then to improving post-market reporting. The platform offers distinct advantages for currently available products- it provides administrative efficiency, reduces errors, is scalable, and is transferable to any regulated industry.

How did you come up with your business idea?

This idea organically developed from encountering pain points in multiple industries. I started my career in teaching and science research and then moved to regulatory affairs. In regulated industries, I learned that so much content is repetitive; machine learning could be applied to drive efficiency, reduce errors, and allow experts to put more focus on content and much less on pulling in correct information or formatting.

How did you find out about Aviatra?

I met Nancy through LinkedIn by searching local people that could help me develop a business plan. We’ve been friends since!

What is your inspiration?

I am inspired by a lot of things, and have been blessed with many supportive mentors and friends. I try to read/listen to a book a week which keeps me motivated and helps me continue thinking of new ideas. More specifically, I am inspired by creating products that will have lasting impact and improve people’s lives!

What has been your biggest accomplishment with your business so far?

Honestly, sticking with it! It would be easy to develop this idea but be satisfied with the status quo. The pursuit of creating a useful product is exciting!

What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting your business?

Refining the idea, it took 2 years to formulate how the software should and could work and we are still learning. Every conversation with a potential user has given me insight. Learning that the product has to serve the customer needs (and identifying who that is) has been essential. For example, I started developing a database that worked very differently than the current software, but through talking to potential customers, database designers, and through working with software developers, the idea was refined to the current platform. And it continues to be refined as we recognize need to adjust to account for unique aspects of each industry sector! Developing that mind-set was not natural for me at the beginning. Learning to think with the “Build-Measure-Learn” feedback loop has been transformative and is an area where I continue to grow!

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

Versions of the software used in across many industry sectors, valued at multi-billion.

Any advice for future Aviatras?

Join when the time is right. I considered joining in 2019 but the time was not right. Then I got caught up on feeling like I was too late or should be “further along” in my business. Now, being a member of the class in 2020, I can see that waiting a year provided many advantages such as having a valuable perspective from refining the idea for another year and being in a better financial situation to fund the software development.