Launching a biotech startup has its own unique set of challenges. Founders must not only possess the skills to break new scientific ground, they must also create a unique value proposition with a clear business model. They must develop networking skills as well as the ability to communicate their ideas clearly and concisely to potential investors.
San Diego is a thriving biotech hub with four major research institutions and over 400 biotech companies. It is also a city full of resources for biotech professionals and startups alike. We’ve compiled a list of six resources every startup should be aware of; they range from industry organizations to networking groups to a self-described “hackerspace for biology.”
Here they are, in no particular order:
BIOCOM is a member organization made up of Southern California companies in all sectors of the life sciences, including biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, connected health and bio-renewable energy. While providing services to member companies such as a group purchasing program and public policy initiatives, BIOCOM also sponsors a wide range of educational, informative, and networking events for members and non-members alike.
An excellent example is their upcoming course in January, 2014, titled Effectively Communicating Your Innovation, focusing on the communication skills biotech entrepreneurs must cultivate to attract investors and partners and “sell their ideas.”
CONNECT is a non-profit dedicated to the creation of innovative technology and life sciences products in San Diego County. Initially a part of the University of California, San Diego, CONNECT is now an independent entity supported by grants and funding from local technology and life science companies. The organization’s goal is to “link investors and entrepreneurs with the resources they need for success,” and has had a hand in the formation of over 3,000 companies to date.
Springboard is CONNECT’s flagship program. Entrepreneurs are invited to apply, and businesses that are deemed ready will be paired with mentors with extensive experience in the startup’s sector. Springboard participants are provided with months of coaching on financials and pro-formas, marketing techniques, business plan preparation and investor pitches.
CONNECT also sponsors a wide range of events, training sessions and networking opportunities. For more information on Springboard, click here.
Launched in 2012 by Janssen Research Labs in La Jolla, Janssen Labs is a life sciences incubator that provides lab space and access to equipment and core research facilities. The services are provided free of charge and companies participate on a no-strings-attached basis.
Biotech and Beyond
Biotech and Beyond is an incubator and biotech startup accelerator located in Carlsbad, CA. The organization offers educational courses and seminars, as well as wet labs where scientists can perform research and network with their peers. The group describes its facility as a “hackerspace for biology” and is open to all budding entrepreneurs as well as educators, engineers and science hobbyists.
Networking is one of the most important elements of any successful business funding and launch. Our next two resources are dedicated to providing forums for biotech professionals to meet and communicate.
San Diego Biotechnology Network
Founded by San Diego communications professionals Mary Canady and Todd Backus in 2008, the San Diego Biotechnology Network is “open to to those working at a biotechnology, diagnostics, green technology, medical devices, or pharmaceutical company in the Greater San Diego area.”
The group hosts networking events that encourage interpersonal communication, and is oriented toward scientists that are developing projects in the private sector, rather than universities and research institutions. In addition to face-to-face networking events, SDBN has an active presence on LinkedIn; their website also has an excellent section with links to other local biotech resources.
Life Science Network
With six local groups spread out from the San Francisco Bay Area to the United Kingdom, the Life Science Network hosts networking events and provides an online platform for “executives, scientists, entrepreneurs, investors and media across biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical technology, diagnostics and research communities.”
The network was founded by life sciences marketing firm Chempetitive Group, and hosts regular UNWIND happy hours that provide a forum for open networking without any promotional agenda. BioSurplus has participated in two of these events and both were great experiences that attracted a wide variety of biotech professionals.
Looking for information on buying equipment for your lab? Read more here >>