In science, ideas are the easy part. Not until researchers evaluate an idea’s value, rigorously put it to the test and get significant results can the idea actually have impact.
The same applies in the business world, where good ideas can transform into beneficial products and services that succeed in the marketplace. The nexus between science and business is rich with potential for new creations and inventions, but only if scientists take a chance and push those ideas forward — and have financial backing to do so.
That is why City of Hope’s Center for Applied Technology Development supports innovative researchers by providing enterprise funds, help with business planning, introductions to venture capitalists, assistance with creating management teams, and similar resources. And on March 22, the center will go one step further, hosting a conference called “Venture Capital: What you need to know for a start-up.”
The conference will be a primer for investigators wondering what it takes to take an idea to the market, how venture capitalists can help by providing the needed start-up funds and whether their ideas are ready for prime time. Lack of money and management expertise, as well as insufficient data, can slow ideas from reaching market, but organizers hope that lessons from the conference and discussion will help investigators overcome those roadblocks.
“Principal investigators will learn what venture capitalists are looking for,” explained Larry A. Couture, Ph.D., senior vice president of the Center for Applied Technology Development, or CATD. “Investigators will learn where a new technology needs to be before it’s ready or sufficient for a start-up company, or when licensing the technology to an existing company might be a better path to success.”
In addition, attendees will learn what venture capitalists expect from an investigator, and what an investigator should know before trying to start a company. Finally, investigators will learn how starting a company can influence their academic careers.
Couture noted that entrepreneurs in the biomedical world do not need to fulfill the popular stereotype of being gung-ho, aggressive risk-takers. “There is no definition of a ‘typical’ entrepreneur,” Couture said. “It’s someone who thinks they have a good idea, and they want to see it benefit patients and succeed in the marketplace.”
Along the same lines, taking an idea to market does not mean an investigator is “selling out” or “going to the dark side,” he said. Some investigators can arrange to turn their technology over to venture capitalists to develop on their own.
“Others simply want the investigator to be around for meetings with investors and to sit on the advisory board to keep the company aware of the progress with the technology,” he added.
Any City of Hope investigator curious about the start-up process is invited to attend the mini-conference and a discussion featuring a panel of venture capitalists, moderated by Couture. It will be held from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., March 22, in the Platt 3 Conference Room. Registration is required and is limited to the first 75 people to sign up. To register, or for more details, contact Chanel Parrish at ext. 65600.