We are checking in with one of our inaugural cohort members this week. Ed Champion is one of the founders of Altede, a biotechnology startup based in Blacksburg. Ed began his journey with the RAMP-in-Residence program by going all-in. He gave up his lease and moved his equipment and resources from his lab in Blacksburg to the Gill Memorial Building. His commitment to the program was consistent and it showed. He commuted daily from Blacksburg to the Roanoke office, via public transit, in order to make his time in the program profitable.

Some of the most beneficial aspects of the program for Ed’s business were the brick and mortar method used to help build his business, as well as access to direct mentorship and networking opportunities. He says that he appreciated the collaborative environment that the program provided for him as well as his other cohort members. The program provided rent-free team rooms, as well as a collaborative place to share ideas, which were both beneficial for his endeavors.

Ed states that his biggest challenges since graduating from the program have been becoming less involved over time and being removed from the residential environment. Though he is still plugged in when the current cohort has events, it is not the same as working in tandem with peers.

For now, Ed and the Altede team are working on research to move the company forward with their gluten allergy testing products in order to prepare them for production, before expanding the products into other allergen areas.

Ed serves as an example to those considering applying to RAMP-in-Residence; you may need to jump in with both feet forward. This program will require much from you, but you will receive much in return. It is also important to remember that active involvement with RAMP after the program can be an additional benefit to your time in the program.

About the Company

Altede, short for Allergen Test Development, is a biotechnology startup company led by Ed Champion. He is currently in the process of developing a kit to test for gluten in food, with plans to expand to tests for other allergens in the future.