A startup accelerator such as the Startup Factory is good training for actually working for a startup, says Dave Neal, who left the Startup Factory in September.

He now is managing director and co-founder of his own startup, HARP – The Health Advocacy Registry Project.

Neal, was co-founder and co-managing director of the Startup Factory with Chris Heivly. They decided to shut down last Fall after struggling to raise a second fund. Startup Factory made 35 investments in four years.

“You have to make your own life,” Neal said of moving on to a startup of his own in December.

Did the Startup Factory experience help you with actually running a startup, we asked Neal in a brief interview following the Google Demo Day watch party at the American Underground at Main in Durham, Thursday.

“Oh, Lord yes,” said Neal. “We looked at thousands of companies in close proximity over a four-year time period. We were forced to learn about every subject under the sun.”

So, he added, “It helps every day. You don’t run into many problems you haven’t seen before.”

Neal co-founded HARP with Peggy Caroll and Brian Garofalo. “It is a digitization of their consulting work the last six years,” explains Neal.

HARP helps biotech and pharmaceutical companies trying to figure out how to meet corporate objectives with a product find the right partners to do it with, the best fit as partners,” said Neal. It has offices at the American Underground at Main in Durham.

The four-person company is funded by sales and already has three large pharmaceutical and several biotech firms as clients.

It probably won’t seek venture capital, said Neal. “It more of a boutique company and probably wouldn’t be the right fit for a venture deal. “We pan to continue funding it from sales,” he said.

HARP does not have a web site yet, but will have soon.

Neal and Heivly remain actively involved in The Startup Factory investment portfolio.