Catching Up with Our 2017 Winners – Reveal Pharmaceuticals

Meet Reveal Pharmaceuticals, a 2017 alum and $50K winner that is developing safe gadolinium-free MRI contrast agents for patients who need crucial medical imaging.

Each year over 4 million very sick patients worldwide must be denied crucial diagnostic imaging, and over 30 million patients are put at risk due to toxic gadolinium. Reveal solves this >$1B problem with a direct and safer substitute.

We had a chance to catch up with Vera Hoffman, Founder and CEO, about her experience going through the MC accelerator:


Take us back to MassChallenge Awards... what was going through your mind when you heard your startup name called to the stage?
When Reveal was called for the one-minute pitch, I was focused on remembering what I had to say and was nervous about fluffing my lines or running over time. When Reveal was called back for the $50k award, I’d barely finished the circuit through the backstage area, so was initially a little bewildered at being pushed back toward the stage. That quickly transformed to happiness and the thrill of the moment!

As a winner, how do you plan to use the cash prize to further accelerate growth?
Reveal is in preclinical development: we are focused on advancing toward an Initial New Drug application (IND). The MassChallenge prize will help accelerate key preclinical safety and toxicology studies.

What would you say has been the key driver of your success throughout the program?
We have been very clear about what we need to achieve and focused on execution while keeping our eyes and ears open for opportunity and advice. There has been so much that we can learn from others, and the value of the network and the network’s second-degree network can’t be overstated.

What has been the hardest lesson to learn?
Managing all the different aspects of a startup business, from execution to daily operations to hiring, PR, legal, and fundraising. It’s a great experience, but there are times when I feel as though I am juggling while learning how to roller skate!

What advice do you have for startups thinking about applying to MC?
Figure out the weak points in your story and make sure that you know the answers to the questions—or that you have questions that MassChallenge can help you address. Market, technology, and founding team are important; everything else can be addressed.