This is the fourth in a series of seven common entrepreneurial mistakes, and how to fix them. Although the context will be biotech entrepreneurs, these principles apply to all entrepreneurs. A fourth common mistake of entrepreneurs is that they have untapped and unrecognized human resources that are not fully leveraged to help them accomplish their goals. [...]
This is the third in a series of seven common entrepreneurial mistakes, and how to fix them. Although the context will be biotech entrepreneurs, these principles apply to all entrepreneurs. A third common mistake of entrepreneurs is that as they grow their business, they haphazardly, although unintentionally, put together a disorderly array of foundational documents [...]
This is a series of seven common entrepreneurial mistakes, and how to fix them. The context will be biotech entrepreneurs, however these principles can apply to entrepreneurs in any industry. Most successful products today are enabled by some novel technology that provides the features and benefits of that product. Entrepreneurs utilize this underlying technology and direct [...]
This is the first in a series of seven common entrepreneurial mistakes, and how to fix them. Although the context will be biotech entrepreneurs, these principles apply to all entrepreneurs. One of the most critical mistakes entrepreneurs make, is not clearly defining their goals at the outset, in terms of their business model and product development goals. Investors [...]
Most entrepreneurs start out with great optimism because they perceive in their minds a visionary product or service that could revolutionize some facet of work, life, industry or medicine. First time entrepreneurs embark on this journey with lots of energy and motivation that propels them to step out into this high-risk endeavor. However, most entrepreneurs are not aware of the "Unknown-Unknowns." These are [...]
Successful entrepreneurs view the world differently than everyone else. When other individuals spot a problem—an entrepreneur sees an opportunity. The average person may just complain about an obstacle, whereas successful entrepreneurs see solutions. They are by nature, problem-solvers. Try this exercise. What do you see? Everyone can see a woman in this picture. If asked about [...]
How could a chicken breast sandwich become a product that catapulted a company into 47 years of consecutive annual increases in sales generating $5.5 billion in revenue? It is a great product...but after all, it's still just a chicken sandwich! The secret is in the rest of the story and the philosophy of its founder, Truett Cathy. The [...]
Developing a biotechnology product has been likened to building an airplane while it taxis down the runway. You feverishly work to complete product development while the runway (your existing cash, your ability to raise capital and your time) is ever shortening. Biotechnology product development, at some point, is constrained by time and limited capital. In [...]
Assessing a Medical Product Technology: How to Know if an Idea is Worth Building a Company Around? The vast majority of all commercially successful medical device, therapeutic, diagnostic and biologic products arise from discoveries that can be traced back to the research of a scientist, professor, physician or engineer at an academic or research institution. [...]
or...“How to persuade individuals who have money—to share some with you” Continuous Flow of Capital is Vital Few issues are more important to start-up and development-stage biotechnology companies than maintaining a continuous flow of capital—if you hope to advance the development of your product and market in an uninterrupted manner. The amount of capital you [...]
When venture capitalist Robert Swanson, and biochemist Dr. Herb Boyer each put in $500 to start Genentech in 1976, it could hardly be said that they knew what they were getting into, or how they were going to make their company successful. Few biotechnology companies existed before, and there were no successful “biotechnology business models” to follow. [...]
You may be a Professor or Practicing Physician at a University or Research Institution and ask the question “How can I start a biotech company if I don’t really want to run it?” Don’t worry! You don’t have to be CEO in order to start your own biotech company. In fact, it may not be [...]
What is the first thing a biotech entrepreneur should do when thinking about formally starting their company??? One of the first things is to talk with an experienced attorney who has worked with start-up biotechnology companies. Too many entrepreneurs say they can't afford an attorney, but in reality you cannot afford NOT have one for your business. This article [...]
Determining Valuation for Early and Latter Development-Stage Biotechnology Companies – All biotech entrepreneurs at some point must address the question “how much is your company worth?” The answer determines the slice of equity for yourself, employees, and current and future shareholders. As a result, most BioEntrepreneurs tend to overvalue their company at the start-up and [...]
The lifeblood of a young biotech company is cash. Without capital, the greatest of ideas get nowhere. The biotech entrepreneur must successfully identify and access consistent sources of capital over the life of their organization in order to transform their ideas in to products. During early development stages the entrepreneur should make use of Angel [...]
Sometimes people make simple things complex. However, most of the time we make complex things impossible. George Whitesides has a knack for making complex things seem easy. He is a professor of chemistry at Harvard and a serial entrepreneur. Whitesides co-founded 12 companies which at one point had a combined market capitalization of over $20 [...]
A recent report from Ernst and Young acclaimed that the biotechnology industry finally reached profitability for the first time in history with a net income of $3.9 billion in 2009 (Beyond Borders: Global Biotechnology Report 2010). This is a significant milestone and welcome news! However, to put this in perspective, Wal-Mart, General Electric and AT&T [...]
Most would-be entrepreneurs believe that they will one day start a company, however they usually don’t know how. Starting a company cannot be haphazard. Beginning a company requires significant planning and many events must simultaneously converge in order to be successful. Some people describe the successful convergence of timing and opportunity as “serendipity”, others call [...]
WHAT IS IT... that propels some entrepreneurs to succeed and other to fail? Defining Success and Failure In order to talk about the traits of successful entrepreneurs, we must first start with a better understanding of “success” and “failure”. Success is often erroneously defined as—everything you do produces a favorable outcome. If “success” is equated with never having an idea that did not work, never having a business shut-down, or never encountering insurmountable product development problems, then there are very few successful entrepreneurs in this world, and it is near certain that you too will not be “successful”.
Most technically-oriented individuals believe that once their beloved product, (which is of great technical value) reaches commercialization, multitudes will clamor to buy their product or service. This nearsighted condition is termed “entrepreneurial myopia”. It is an ocular disease notorious for destroying promising enterprises. Entrepreneurial myopia is highly contagious, and the individuals most susceptible to this debilitating condition are typically those employed within the same organization.
What is a Value Proposition? It is NOT how the science or technology works. Moreover, it is NOT the neat things the science or technology can do. It is how your product fulfills the acute needs of the customer; it is the way your product solves a problem for its customers—the more acute the customer’s need, the greater the market will be for your product.
When starting a company, it is absolutely essential to find a good attorney experienced in biotechnology start-ups! Yes, there are boilerplate forms you can use for most every type of document, which can be found on the internet — sometimes free. However, remember you are paying for expertise and sound advice, therefore, find someone you can work with that has plenty of experience in the biotechnology industry.
Discouraging news was announced about the unlawful practices of Pfizer in marketing its drugs to physician's using free golf, massages, and resort junkets, along with promoting off-label uses for several of their drugs (read complete story). The Justice Department said that Pfizer's sales people created sham requests from physicians asking about unapproved drug uses and then the company mailed the information to doctors. This $2.3 billion settlement is the largest ever paid by a drug company.
Starting a biotechnology company can be invigorating, exciting and frightening all at the same time. Where will I find the money? How can I compete for world-class employees? What about lab space? I have never written a business plan before! These are a few of the myriad of issues a biotech entrepreneur must wrestle with in order to see the success envisioned by developing a life-saving product or service. If you are a first-time entrepreneur in the biotech industry, do not be disheartened.