Last fall, I hosted a panel on startups as part of the US HUPO Early Career Researchers (ECR) organization. This year, the ECR invited me to sit on this panel as a participant!
Here’s the Q&A from that event:
Q1: Starting your journey as an entrepreneur, did you feel the need to undetake any business related courses coming from a Scientific/medical background?
A1: I personally didn’t feel the need to take formal business classes. My co-founder (Alex Federation) and I are both technical founders, but benefitted from many excellent business mentors that we met through
Q2: Do all incubators/accelerators provide the same type of support- or does it vary from institution to institution? What’s the universal support that a start up can count on in any incubator?
A2: I think most incubators/accelerators follow a similar pattern: workshops/courses, 1-1’s or small group “office hours” with mentors, and some kind of “Demo Day” capstone at the end of the program. For a lot of the bio-focused incubators/accelerators, the workshops/courses tend to be about business development. The 1-1’s or small group is an opportunity for you (and your co-founders) to meet with the program mentors — and network with them! Finally, the “Demo Day” is usually a short pitch to an audience of multiple venture capital investors where you get maybe 1-5 minutes to hook investors into scheduling a deeper conversation with you, and hopefully invest!
Here’s a list of bio-focused incubators and accelerators (just off the top of my head, check out others!)
– Your institution/university!
– NSF/NIH iCORPS: https://beta.nsf.gov/funding/initiatives/i-corps
– Indie Bio: https://indiebio.co/program/
– Y Combinator: https://www.ycombinator.com/biotech/
– Creative Destruction Lab: https://creativedestructionlab.com/
– BioFoundry: https://www.venturelink.org/biofoundry
Q3: To translate your idea into a business product and start up a company, do you first need to patent the idea and register your intellectual property?
A3: While intellectual property (IP) isn’t strictly required to start a company, it’ll probably be tough to secure funding if you don’t have your core idea/technology/method protected. Most investors won’t be interested if someone else could come in and do exactly what you’re proposing! If you’re looking to start more of a contract research organization (CRO)-style company providing services, you may not need to have any IP at all, but you’ll need to convince your customers why your CRO is better/cheaper than other CROs out there.
The recording should be up soon, I’ll update the page with that link when it becomes available!