Women Who Exit Interview
Felena Hanson “virtually” sat down with Kim Lim, to discuss the sale of her business, Ultimate Labs, in San Diego, California.
Kim Lim is a first generation Chinese-American who comes from a long line of entrepreneurs. Her mother’s parents started several small businesses in the US and her father’s parents started several businesses in Asia. After receiving a B.S. in Bioengineering at University of Pennsylvania, School of Engineering and Applied Science, her love of learning and business acumen drove her to obtain a MBA from Columbia University in Operations Management. She did this while travelling around the US solving process engineering problems for pharmaceutical, therapeutic, medical device, diagnostic and biologic companies.
After settling in San Diego and starting a family, Kim became frustrated with the quality of lab services that supported her engineering work. As the story goes, when asked, “Because you complain so much about it, why don’t you do something?”, the answer was to start a quality control contract laboratory, Ultimate Labs, in Sorrento Valley in 2008. At the time, Kim was a single mom of two young boys, ages 6 and 3.
She self-financed the company from money saved throughout high school and college and making investments. When used the money to invest in herself and the new business, it was during the time of the economic downturn. This became an advantage as financial institutions were not lending and more biotech companies were downsizing and outsourcing their quality control testing. After a decade of small business trials and tribulations, creating a network of domestic and international customers, two expansions and through several evaluations and business propositions, Ultimate Labs was acquired.
Kim has continued to mentor young people in the biotech field as well as up and coming professionals.