Spark Capital leads $3.3m round into Boston-based, on-demand life sciences marketplace Clora

On-demand labor marketplaces have been around for decades on the internet. Paying someone to identify a cat using Amazon Mechanical Turk or hiring someone to program a quick website on Upwork is easy — post a job, select someone, pay a few bucks and you’re done.

While hiring individuals is reasonably straightforward, building teams to accomplish specialized projects is a far more challenging problem, and few industries have as challenging a need as the pharmaceutical and medical devices industry.

Launching a new therapeutic might require hiring hundreds if not thousands of consultants, covering everything from bayesian statistical design for clinical trials to market mapping and physician education. A single day’s delay could cost millions of dollars, so hiring the right people at the right time is crucial for a launch to go off without a hitch.

Today, that process is almost entirely manual, but Clora, a startup based in Boston, hopes to completely transform that process. The company is announcing a $3.3m seed round led by Spark Capital, with participation from Social Capital, Ludlow Ventures, Notation Capital, iSeed Ventures, v1 VC, and KohFounders.

The two founders of the startup, Rahul Chaturvedi and Leaya Martelli, came up with the concept while working day jobs in the pharmaceutical industry. Chaturvedi is a veteran of the industry, having headed up clinical affairs at Avedro, GI Dynamics, and Kaleido Biosciences over the past seven years. He worked with Martelli, a biotech recruiter, throughout those years, and constantly came back to the problem of how to hire the exact talent needed for their projects.

Leaving a promising (and safe) career in the pharma industry wasn’t easy for Chaturvedi. “The choice that I had to make was do I want to spend the next five to ten years of my life on new therapies that may or may not get to market, or spend my time and energy to build a technology platform that has the potential to fundamentally change how an industry operates?” He chose the later, and left his job in September of 2016 to build Clora full-time.

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