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10 Tips for Making Your Life Science Startup a Success

Did you know that hundreds of biotech companies are launched each year with almost same dream, i.e. to make it something big!

However, only few out of hundreds succeed, and most of them fail. This is because they fail to identify what step should be taken at what time. For a young biotech company they must explore the success path and having an expert advice is a great way to minimize the chances of failure.

Well, there may be hundreds of tips out there, but for the sake of our time-constrained readers we have decided to sum up expert advice for life science and biotech startups in 10 tips.


Here they are:

1- Startups are not companies but are merely temporary stops along the way to creating companies. To understand how to come up with a sustainable business out of your original idea is a research project on its own. Avoid running it as if it is already a big company. If you have ever worked for a large company previously, you need to unlearn everything you learned.

2- For as long as possible avoid external funds and avoid having a board if it is really not so necessary. Bootstrapping and choosing to go it alone affords you complete control over how things are done without the need of justifying your actions to anybody.

3- Once you eventually raise funds, find investors that can provide genuinely useful expertise and advice, even if it means getting a slightly inferior financial deal. The worse thing than being a bit short on cash is choosing the wrong-headed investor.

4- Nothing is ever fixed. If your prospective clients inform you that your product is not quite right for them, just change it. Adapt continuously since nothing is ever complete.

5- Founders need to do the selling for not less than the first 10 major clients. In those early days, what you are selling is not just a product but rather your ability, trust, and team. The key to gaining new clients is persistence. You must also never forget to cater to your customers once you have them. Avoid hiring salespersons until you have a track record and reputation they can reflect.


6- If you are not making money, avoid spending it. Profits are not only about revenue but also the minimization of cost.

7- On a fundamental level, life science companies are different from other kinds of businesses typically featured in glossy entrepreneurial magazines, particularly when dealing with patients, their confidential data, or any other regulatory hurdles. Navigating the complex landscape of healthcare regulation and the understanding of the various players involved requires a totally different approach than most of the other kinds of startups.

8- The founder might be the one with the vision but may not be the person that understands how to best reach the clients. Do not be afraid to seek or hire marketing advice from the people with specialist knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the marketplace and position the product, even though the founder still needs to be the one doing the selling. According to Quanta this is the sort of thing a career in life sciences looks like.

9- Teams must and will change as the needs develop. Life science startups commercializing academic IP should consider starting with mostly research driven or academic teams, then subsequently advance to teams of hardware and software developers, and finally move on once more to a more commercially-focused team. Since change is inevitable all you can do is embrace it.

10- Everyone will offer you their opinion and everybody’s opinion will be different. Never deviate from your vision and always be courageous enough to see it through regardless of what everybody else might say. Stay strong and never give up.

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