Become a PhDCEO & Enter The World Of Startup Success

Introducing PhDCEO By Cheeky Scientist

Apply the innovation and leadership skills you developed in grad school to become a PhDCEO and meet unaddressed market needs.

Being a PhD and an entrepreneur is rare. Investors know this, and we know this ourselves. We are PhDs who have chosen to innovate and lead businesses.

Whether you already have an idea for starting a business or a second stream of income, or you are trying to decide on the right idea, this program is for you.

If you work for a startup or want to work for a startup and are interested in understanding how startups grow, how to get equity, or how to pitch investors, this program is for you.

If you’re a freelance writer or editor or doing freelance or consulting work of any kind, PhDCEO will help you grow your client list and billings.

We are waiting for you. Investors are waiting for you. Become a PhDCEO member below.

PhDCEO Is Cheeky Scientist's Most Comprehensive Advanced Program Ever

Success Stories

“If you have a PhD and want to become an expert on startups and entrepreneurship, join PhDCEO...This program has 10 modules, over 120 videos, 30 workbooks and more elite content than any other program of its kind for PhDs.”

“The PhDCEO modules of project management, funding, investors, risk management, and team-building to be spot-on...PhDCEO would benefit anyone who has a great idea or wants to help develop a great idea by providing the necessary mentoring between different phases of building”

“Entrepreneurship what allows PhDs to continually grow and innovate, which is why I love PhDCEO...If you have a PhD and a business idea or want to know how to create a business idea, PhDCEO will guide you. Join us.”

Get Access To The PhDCEO Mentoring Dashboard & Private Group Now


  • Know they want to start a business or create a second stream of income but don’t know how you start.
  • Have a lot of ideas for products or services but aren’t sure how to choose the best idea or how to turn it into a business that makes money.
  • Have a clearly defined idea for a product or service but want to minimize the risk that comes with launching a business.
  • Feel like their current boss, company position, or organization is holding them back from growing or implementing their innovative ideas.
  • Want guidance on creating a startup that doesn’t require them to quit their day job.
  • Are eager to learn how to build a business without having to wait for funding.
  • Wants to learn how to pitch their business ideas to investors and how to secure funding.
  • Wants to be connected to investors and other founders.
  • Are ready to disrupt an industry or field.

Becoming An PhDCEO Isn’t For Everyone.

…But It May Be Right For You If You Answer Any Of These Questions With A YES…

  • You find yourself constantly disagreeing with your boss…and thinking about what would you do if you ran the company.
  • You realize that businesses in your industry aren’t creating solutions for the problems you see. And you’re not willing to wait for years to see change occur.
  • You were excited when you first started your current industry position but you quickly caught up to the learning curve and are bored and eager for change but you don’t want to wait years for a promotion.
  • You haven’t landed an industry position yet…but you’re beginning to think you weren’t meant to be an employee and instead like the idea of creating a company instead.
  • You have innovative ideas, but they don’t seem to mesh with the general culture in your current organization.
  • You’ve had a patent sitting in your filing cabinet since you were in grad school and you realize it’s time to introduce your ideas to the world.
  • You simply want to create a second stream of income in addition to your current industry job so you can finally get ahead and be in the top percent of earners in industry.

Get Access To The PhDCEO Mentoring Dashboard & Private Group Now.

Managing Risk While Starting A Business Is Something Isaiah Hankel, Ph.D. Knows About...

Hi, I’m Isaiah Hankel, a PhD like you who knew that I wanted to create a product or service that solved a problem.

After getting my PhD, I got my first job in industry working at a small tech startup. I learned a lot at this company and within 6 months was making $100,000 per year.

I still have the congratulatory letter I received after achieving the 6-figure mark.

Soon after, I was put in charge of a spinoff company named Fluorish.

As I grew this company, I continued climbing the corporate ladder in my industry career, first working for Bio-Rad and then for Miltenyi Biotech.

I went on to start several other companies including a greeting card company called “Bringcard”, a compact disc (CD) collection called “Interview With A Winner”, my first raining program called “The Escape Plan”, and then Expert Cytometry and finally, of course, Cheeky Scientist.

To date, my companies have grossed (AND netted) millions of dollars, led to two bestselling books, board seats for several companies and foundations, and breaking a world record for the most viewed Facebook image ever.

Those are the good parts of the story.

What you probably haven’t heard are the bad parts…

  • My first product took almost a year to develop and was bought by one person – ONE PERSON! That company lost me thousands of dollars.
  • My first company relied on a technology that was outdated by the time the company’s products went to market. The product was never released.
  • I took on investors and gave away massive amounts of equity in one company. I was eventually squeezed out of the company.
  • Another company imploded just as it was starting to be successful due to infighting with other founding members.
  • I spent my entire savings on a magazine advertisement for a new product I created and the magazine went out of business shortly after. Less than 10 people bought the product and it failed.

But I learned from every experience and after 10 years, I found the other 10%.

This is the 10% that made me a millionaire and is the 10% I decided to share in PhDCEO because I want to make as many PhDs business owners (and millionaires) as possible.

My success was due to TWO things:

  1. Becoming my own boss as an entrepreneur AND…
  2. Gaining valuable experience in industry as an employee.

This is why I want you to know that you don’t have to quit your industry job or stop your job search to be an entrepreneur or to be a member in PhDCEO.

The Hidden Financial Data That Showed Me Why All PhDs Should Start A Business…

When my industry career started to take off and I started making $100,000 per year, I asked myself something that I’d never have asked when I was in academia…

What would it take to be a financially free MILLIONAIRE one day?

The “millionaire” money amount was not important to me here.

I was simply interested in finding out which career paths made the most money and might lead to someone like me making a million dollars over time.

I think most people ask themselves this question at one point, but the difference between most people and us, is that we have PhDs.

As a PhD, I answered this question the way PhDs answer all questions…

By digging into the data.

What I found REALLY surprised me…

Most millionaires are entrepreneurs!

They’re not medical doctors, or lawyers, or corporate executives.

Instead, they’re founders… entrepreneurs… PhDCEOs!

74% of all millionaires are entrepreneurs & business owners (Forbes).
10% of millionaires are corporate executives like Jack Welch or Tim Cook.
10% of millionaires are doctors and high-powered lawyers.
5% of millionaires are salespeople and executive consultants.
1% of millionaires are brokers, actors, athletes, lottery winners, & misc.

Most Millionaires Are Founders. Money isn’t everything, but data matters.




Cambridge Enterprise is a well-known organization that functions as an incubator for academics, providing funds to help PhDs take their business ideas to the next level.

But, even though this organization provides a lot of funding for postdocs who want to become entrepreneurs, the majority of these PhDs fail.

The business ideas of these PhDs never see their full potential.


It isn’t that they have insufficient funding.

In fact, Cambridge Enterprise has said it sunk £6.6 million, in promising new PhD-driven companies last year alone.

That’s a lot of money!

It isn’t that these PhDs lack brilliant ideas. If these PhDs didn’t show potential, Cambridge Enterprise would never facilitate support in the first place.

So…what’s the real reason for failure?

These PhDs lack client-facing skills.

Instead of communicating with investors and stakeholders, and instead of participating in meetings, these PhDs stay in the lab. They have an academic mindset—not the mindset of an entrepreneur and founder.

The result is many business ideas never get off the ground.

And that’s the danger of being a PhD turned entrepreneur.

Your background in academia can work against you.

On one hand, your PhD has given you the ability to discover the undiscovered—to trailblaze a path of innovative findings.

On the other hand, there’s a chance your PhD trained you to judge the merits of a solution based on the success or failure of carefully planned experiments which may—or may not—have included human interaction.

But that’s not how it works in the world of entrepreneurship.

If you launch a startup, it’s not enough to…

Discover an innovative therapy that’s 70% effective in all your experiments.

Create a service that produces a 150% increase in organizational inefficiency.

Build a software that automates 50% of routine, time-consuming tasks in a particular industry.

Instead, you have to not only gather and analyze data, but you have to translate that data into something the solves a customer’s problem.

What does this mean?

It means you have to get to know your customers very well.

That’s right–you have to interact with customers ….people …human beings.

The same holds true for getting funding.

If you want your startup idea to be funded, you have to get good at not only pitching investors, but building professional relationships with them.

In academia, data alone determines your success.

But—as an entrepreneur—data you translate into a positive human experience determines your success.

In other words, your ability to attract and build relationships with customers and investors is what will make or break your startup.

And if you fail to prioritize your efforts around their preferences and needs…this can spell trouble for your company.

The Real Reason That Most PhDCEO Entrepreneurs Fail Is Lack Of…

Qualitative Human Data

Cambridge Enterprise found that most people, especially PhDs, fail to build successful businesses because they become too focused on business data, product data and even vanity analytics like

Facebook likes and Twitter follows instead of focusing on the one thing that will truly make your startup successful…

Your customers.

If you want to be successful in business, you need to start collecting qualitative human data.

This has nothing to do with tracking your customers or potential customers habits online – that’s quantitative human data.

What I’m talking about here is qualitative – it’s how your customers feel, what they are concerned about, what problems they have, and how you can help solve their problems and improve their overall life and/or lifestyle.

In business, this kind of qualitative data is called the voice of the customer, or VoC.

If you’ve never heard of this term before, here’s a snippet from iSixSigma’s clarification on the topic:

The “voice of the customer” is the term used to describe the stated and UNSTATED needs or requirements of the customer.

A customer’s “unstated” need is where most founders fail.

How well you understand the unstated voice of your customer will determine whether or not your business fails, and trust me…

You do NOT understand the voice of your customer or any customer well enough to be a successful founder yet.

But PhDCEO can change that.

Get Access To The PhDCEO Mentoring Dashboard & Private Group Now.

The Hard Truth About Startup Success…

If you launch a startup, it’s not enough to be “right”.

It’s not enough to have the data on your side either.

In fact, it doesn’t matter if you…

Discover an innovative therapy that’s 70% effective in all your experiments.

Create a service that produces a 150% increase in organizational inefficiency.

Build software that automates 50% of routine, time-consuming tasks in a particular industry

Instead, you have to not only gather and analyze data, but you have to translate that data into something the solves a customer’s problem. What does this mean? It means you have to get to know your customers very well.

That’s right–you have to interact with customers ….people …human beings. The same holds true for getting funding. If you want your startup idea to be funded, you have to get good at not only pitching investors but building professional relationships with them.

In academia, data alone determines your success. But—as an entrepreneur—data you translate into a positive human experience determines your success.

In other words, your ability to attract and build relationships with customers and investors is what will make or break your startup. And if you fail to prioritize your efforts around their preferences and needs…this can spell trouble for your company.

Success Stories

“PhDCEO exceeded my expectations because it has 10 modules of accurate content tailored to PhDs...The PhDCEO private group and ongoing webinars are what separates this program from other programs that never add new content.”

“I recommend PhDCEO to PhDs interested in starting a business or working for a startup...PhDCEO covers key topics of starting a business including how to get an idea to market, which is one of the most difficult parts of starting your"”

“Many PhDs have brilliant ideas but don't know how to execute them. PhDCEO is the answer...Take the leap and join PhDCEO if you have a PhD. With 10 modules and a network of entrepreneurs, it’s worth it.”

Get Access To The PhDCEO Mentoring Dashboard & Private Group Now.

You Don’t Need Investors To Start.

You Don’t Need To Quit Your Day Job Either.

All You Have To Do Is Find A Problem To Solve…

Most PhDs think they need millions of dollars in external funding to start a business.

You don’t.

Most PhDs think they need a fancy website or a factory or a team of 10 people to be a successful entrepreneur.

You don’t.

Just look at the following example…

According to Statista, 20% of respondents aged 18 to 29 years stated that they visited CraigsList in the last month (that’s millions and millions of people).

And when it comes to website traffic, SimilarWeb places in spot #15 for online presence…with over 400 million visits last month alone.

Craigslist isn’t the most cutting-edge platform in the world.

In fact, the website (the product) is quite simple—even rudimentary.

But that hasn’t stopped Craigslist from attracting millions of consumers and making millions of dollars.

Just what is the secret to Craigslist’s popularity?

The answer is simple.

Craigslist meets the unstated needs of its customers.

As Craigslist’s customers say over and over again…

“It just works.”

This is an important lesson for any PhD who aspires to be an entrepreneur:

The driving principle behind launching a successful business isn’t creating the latest and greatest product for an industry. It’s about creating a product that satisfies what consumers need.

It doesn’t matter if others think your product might fail…and it doesn’t matter if others think your product might succeed.

Your customer has the final word.

How closely you follow this principle will impact the trajectory of your startup.

It can mean the difference between getting your business off the ground or watching your idea crash and burn.

And that’s why it’s incredibly important to follow a business model that is laser focused on human data.

Three Big Benefits Of Spearheading Your Own Startup

1. Fewer people can stifle your ideas or progress.

Wave goodbye to leaders or coworkers who micromanage you, downplay your ideas, and stunt your creativity. For PhDs who are unhappy in their current work environment, entrepreneurship is your chance to escape a toxic work culture.

But perhaps you haven’t landed your ideal position yet.

You can end those interviews with managers who truly don’t understand your value. Instead of trying to adapt yourself to a potential organization, you can freely explore your innovative solutions.

The only person who can truly stifle your ideas is your potential customer…not a jealous boss….or a hiring manager with a limited mindset and limited education.

2. There’s no limit to your potential profit.

As discussed above, the majority of millionaires in the world are business owners.

While launching a startup is not a shortcut to success or a get-rich-quick scheme, it is your best chance of being in the top tier of earners worldwide.

Why go fishing where your least likely to catch a big fish?

Which is to say, why try to become financially free by working in industry as an employee only – only 10% of employees will ever reach this freedom.

Instead, go fishing where you’re most likely to catch a whopper.

Put your efforts toward achieving true financial success by doing what 74% of those who are financially free are doing – running their own business.

3. You don’t have to wait for anyone to get ahead.

As a PhDCEO, you can end the frustration of waiting for your organization to implement your ideas…or waiting for an industry to accomplish the change you know is possible…or waiting for the perfect job opportunity to present itself.

Go from watching industry disruptors from the sidelines to being an industry disruptor yourself.

Go from searching for the perfect position to creating your ideal job and even creating jobs for others.

Launching your own startup allows you to press the play button and finally do what you know you need to do …what the voice inside of you has been telling you do to do …GO. It’s time for you to GO and make this happen for yourself.

Here's What You Get Immediate Access To After Becoming A PhDCEO...

Module #1: Ideation

As a PhD, you understand the importance of ideas when it comes to science, technology, or the arts. It’s that innovative idea that cures diseases, overcomes technological challenges, and solves complex industry issues. In this module, we explain…

  • How to come up with a business idea if you don’t already have one. In this module, you’ll learn about Guillebeau’s convergence postulation for this initial starting point.
  • How to go about getting feedback for your vision. Because you’ll be taking an evidence-based approach, this will be key for further launching your business. In this module, you’ll discover the concept of validation and how to seek it for your startup.
  • What you need to know about equity. While you may want to take on a business partner, you’ll see how parting with your equity is not the ideal situation.

Module #2: Modeling

In this module, we will help you understand some key concepts for developing your startup, including…

  • The guiding philosophy for entrepreneurial endeavors. This module sheds light on the iterative model of creating a business…and how this philosophy ties into your background as a PhD and researcher.
  • How to better understand your ideal customer. Because your startup will be completely focused around the needs of your ideal customer, diving deep into this aspect will be key for your success.
  • Your company’s value proposition. If the phrase “value proposition” sounds more like something you learned in your undergraduate business class, you don’t want to miss this module. We’ll explain the three aspects of a value proposition–helping you get clarity on what makes your startup unique…which will empower you to articulate that uniqueness to potential customers.

Module #3: Productization

If you’re struggling to confidently get your business idea…past the idea stage…let Module 3 empower you to overcome stagnation and improve traction. This module will help you…

  • Gain confidence in your minimum viable product (MVP). In this module, you’ll see just how easy introducing your MVP to audience members can be.
  • Deepen your insight into the relationship between your business and early adopters. When it comes to getting your startup off the ground, securing your first customers will be crucial. This module will help you increase your understanding of this facet of launching a startup.
  • An important concept for developing business ties. Learn how to get support at the productization stage without depleting your savings. You’ll learn why cash neutral partnerships deserve your attention…and the ideal timing for the formation of these alliances.

Module #4: Selling

Maybe you have a natural gift for selling. Or perhaps you aren’t sure how to go about it. No matter your situation, this module can help. You will discover…

  • The reason why selling is so essential to your entrepreneurial journey. Making sales isn’t just a nice part of launching your startup. In this module, we’ll explain why it’s essential to becoming an authentic business owner.
  • Several essential components of a winning sales page. Did you know that an important way to sell your MVP isn’t making calls or attending events? You’ll learn the value of crafting a sales page that addresses sales objections and provides important customer education.
  • An overview of inbound and outbound marketing. Maybe you’ve heard these terms…but you aren’t really sure how they differ. With your membership, you’ll better understand these concepts, which will help you decide the right strategy for your business.

Module #5: Launching

If making a public launch of your MVP seems a little scary, don’t panic but dive deep into this module as we help you understand…

  • The mechanics of your product launch. Enjoy very specific guidance on how to introduce your MVP to the word. You’ll get informed on everything from the timing of A/B testing to the content of your emails to potential customers.
  • Generating leads for your MVP. Don’t use trial and error to find customers for your business. There’s a better way to find leads…as we’ll explain in this module.
  • An important strategic decision for your product funnel. When it comes to the product (or service) you feature in a funnel, the product you choose matters. Let us help you understand which product will support your strategic best interests

Module #6: Team Roles

As your business grows, you will need to grow your team. You may even want to start building your team before your business grows. Either way, this module has you covered…

  • 3 team roles you need to fill first. Your startup team needs to include 3 key roles. Finding the right person for each role is critical to you being able to formulate and execute projects quickly.
  • How to grow your team using contractors and freelancers. As you grow your team and start to first become profitable, you will still likely not be able to afford full-time staff. Here you will learn how to bridge the gap to hiring full-time staff by hiring part-time virtual workers.
  • How to effectively manage others. Startup founders face a paradox: they are great at getting things done but struggle to train others to get things done to their standards. This module will help you lead effectively without micromanaging.

Module #7: Project Management

If you’ve been waiting to learn more about SCRUM, you’re in the right place. In this module, we provide an in-depth treatment of this efficient approach for your startup, explaining…

  • Key terminology you should know. Not sure what distinguishes a product owner from a SCRUM master? In this module, we’ll help you expand your vocabulary and deepen your knowledge.
  • How a SCRUM team functions. Get a better understanding of SCRUM dynamics before you launch a startup or lead a team.
  • What you can expect during a typical sprint. Get a clear understanding of the process and tasks in a sprint…as well as the amount of time involved.

Module #8: Investors

While you don’t need funding to start your business, it’s important that you have the education and materials needed to strategically attract investors should a funding opportunity or need present itself…

  • A step-by-step guide for creating a Pitch Deck. A pitch deck is a longer version of your elevator pitch presented as a PowerPoint presentation. Getting your deck right is crucial to you being successful with investors.
  • Detailed mentoring on how to build an executive summary. An executive summary is like an abstract of your business plan. It is a distilled business plan, pitch deck and mission statement in a single-page document. You need an executive summary because investors may ask for it at any time.
  • Prepare a verbal pitch for in-person meetings with investors. The verbal pitch is your gateway to capital. The verbal pitch itself is a quick introduction to your business that takes less than 10-20 seconds to explain.

Module #9: Funding

While you don’t need funding to start your business, it’s important that you have the education needed to strategically position your company and make savvy long-term decisions…

  • Understand the ways you can receive funding. Break free from thinking that your only hope is attracting the interest of angel investors. This module reveals the variety of means available for funding your startup.
  • Overview and personalized walkthrough fundraising milestones. From idea conceptualization to market research to building an advisory board to proof of demand and potential for scale, this module will mentor you on the nomenclature of investing and the evaluation milestones investors use.
  • How to get funded by a Venture Capital (VC) firm. This is a must for PhDs. The key to getting backed by a VC firm is getting introduced by an entrepreneur whose startup brought good return on investment to the firm. This is easier than it sounds once you know how to do it.

Module #10: Risk Management

As you likely know, risk is part of being an entrepreneur. Because of this, it’s a topic that deserves your serious attention. If you’re interested in understanding risk factors and making wise decisions, you’ll be glad to know that we cover…

  • 3 risks that can kill your business. In this module, you’ll discover the major pitfalls that can sink your company. The more you know about potential threats to your business success, the more likely you will be to make better decisions.
  • Different forms of organizational waste. As an entrepreneur, becoming a good steward of your resources will become essential. This module provides a look at the mistakes that hinder you from this goal.
  • What the future might hold. What’s the difference between startup growing pains and a situation that has no solution? Learn about the challenges you might face…and how quitting your business is a legitimate option.

The Fate of Most Startups

According to the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration, 20% of businesses fail in the first year. Just imagine, you finally start the business you always wanted to start… And then, in a few months, you have to close the business forever.

It would look something like this…

1st Month: Open for business!

5th Month: Closed forever.

Why does this happen? If you begin a startup today, this research says there’s a 20% chance that your startup with be closed in 12 months or less. And there’s a 50% chance that your business will fail in a few short years.

The Risk Factor

Most startups fail because they created something that not enough people wanted. They created something that no one really wanted in the first place. So, how can you protect yourself against business failure?

Throughout all the trials I went through during my early years as an entrepreneur and startup founder, I learned one very important lesson. Starting a business is risky. If you don’t do it right, you can lose everything… You can go bankrupt, the bank can seize your assets and property, you can lose your office building to a natural disaster, your team members can quit on you…

The 2 Things NO ONE Can Take From You

Try as they might, no one can ever relieve an entrepreneur of these key assets:

  1. Your knowledge
  2. Your network

Once you realize this, you will spend your life investing in your knowledge and network. You will stop wishing and hoping to make one more dollar or euro or pound or yen an hour like everyone else.

Instead, you will be looking to make top connections and to build cash businesses that give back you over and over again no matter what else happens to you in your lifetime. In this sense, starting a business and learning about the world of startups is not a risk at all.

An Important Lesson For Would-Be Business Owners

My experience has taught me one important lesson about starting a business…

What can go wrong with your business, will go wrong.

There is an unlimited number of risks associated with starting a business. Neither you nor anyone else can possibly anticipate all of the obstacles you will confront as a founder.

The good news is that as a PhD, you have the skills you need to mitigate these risks by testing your assumptions properly, pivoting when needed, and making progress in the face of uncertainty.

Why Now Is the Time to Become a PhDCEO

1. There’s a problem that needs solving.

More than likely, you’re not the first person to realize your industry or market is experiencing a challenge. More than likely, others have experienced similar issues, too. If you have a business idea, there’s a chance someone else might beat you to it.

Stop waiting to take action. Entrepreneurs are action takers and now is the time for you to act.

2. There’s never going to be a perfect time.

If you’re in an industry role, there’s always going to be a new project at work that’s distracting you away from your dream of starting a business. If you haven’t landed an industry role yet, finding the time to launch your startup may become even more difficult after your transition.

Procrastination is an entrepreneurs worst enemy. Avoid it at all costs.

3. We’re giving you the right protocol

If you don’t know where to start, here’s what you need to realize: PhDCEO has all the tools for you need to find your business idea, choose your best idea, test your idea, productize you idea, monetize your idea, and scale your idea.

PhDCEO is the gold standard protocol for starting a business and excelling in the world of startups, from A-Z.

Meet The PhDCEO Board Who Will Be With You In The Program Every Step Of The Way...

Isaiah Hankel, phD

CEO of Cheeky Scientist

Coyte Cooper, PhD

CEO of Elite Level Sport Marketing

Christine Ichim, PhD

Founder and CEO at Florica Therapeutics

Luis Gomez, PhD

Cofounder of Nebula X

Arunodoy Sur, PhD

Tech Transfer Officer & VC Analyst

Aparna Srivastav, PhD

EFHK 3 Founder in Residence

Joydeep Pal, PhD

Founder and CEO of Foodinjoy

Bhavin Bhayani, PhD

Cofounder at Avatar Sustainable Tech

Harish Handral, PhD

Cofounder at Hangzhou Yuansheng Biotech

Hank Cheng, PhD

Scientist II at Therinbio

We help PhDs from every discipline get into many different types of careers, including PhDCEO.

We show you how to leverage the skills you already have to get hired into a myriad of industry jobs, including PhDCEO.

We show you how to get the job, not how to do the job because each company has their own proprietary systems and will teach you how to do the job through on-the-job training.

But, before you can get this training, you have to get hired first.

That’s where we come in.

We will guide you on how to use your PhD to get hired into PhDCEO. 

Get Access To The PhDCEO Mentoring Dashboard & Private Group Now