9 Lessons I Learned Starting Science Exchange

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9 Lessons I Learned Starting Science Exchange

  1. 1. FROM ACADEMIC TO ENTREPRENEUR: 9 LESSONS I LEARNED STARTING SCIENCE EXCHANGE
  2. 2. ELIZABETH IORNS?
  3. 3. SCIENCE EXCHANGE? A marketplace for scientific collaboration, where researchers can order experiments from the world's best labs
  4. 4. SCIENCE EXCHANGE NETWORK
  5. 5. SCIENCE EXCHANGE NETWORK Labs from 400+ research institutions: 75 of top 100 U.S. research universities
  6. 6. SCIENCE EXCHANGE NETWORK Example: Illumina HiSeq X Ten Jan 15th: “Illumina’s HiSeq X Ten Sequencing System will prove affordable for only a few. The system...costs a whopping $10 million.” Feb 8th: HiSeq X Ten at Garvan Institute (Sydney, Australia) listed on Science Exchange and available to any researcher in the world
  7. 7. GOLDEN AGE AWS and cloud services fundamentally changed the economics of tech startups in the mid 2000s Incubators and science-as-a-service platforms are having the same impact on the economics of biotech startups 3 years ago Now Multi-year leases + Equipment purchases + + Large teams = “Fat Biotech” = “Lean Biotech”
  8. 8. 9 THINGS I’VE LEARNED 1. SOLVE YOUR OWN PROBLEM 2. SOLVE A REAL PROBLEM 3. BUILD THE RIGHT TEAM 4. FOCUS ON COMPANY CULTURE 5. GET STUFF DONE! 6. USE YOUR TIME WISELY 7. GET THE RIGHT ADVISORS / INVESTORS 8. DON’T GIVE UP! 9. SCIENTISTS MAKE GREAT ENTREPRENEURS
  9. 9. 9 THINGS I’VE LEARNED
  10. 10. 1. SOLVE YOUR OWN PROBLEM The best problems to solve are the ones that affect you personally.
  11. 11. 1. SOLVE YOUR OWN PROBLEM SCIENCE EXCHANGE EXAMPLE: • Frustrated with an inability to find and incentivize technical experts • Thought there should be a way for researchers to order experiments from the world’s best labs • Learned about online marketplaces… and wanted one to exist for scientific experiments 🔑 Work on something you’re passionate about … and that you understand!
  12. 12. 2. SOLVE A REAL PROBLEM What set us apart from 95 percent of other startups is that we served a real need.
  13. 13. 2. SOLVE A REAL PROBLEM SCIENCE EXCHANGE EXAMPLE: • Increasing need for collaborative research driven by access to technical expertise… • Era of team science • Exponential growth in number of multi-author, multiinstitutional publications Source: http://ar.thomsonreuters.com/story3.html
  14. 14. 2. SOLVE A REAL PROBLEM SCIENCE EXCHANGE EXAMPLE: • Traditional way of forming collaborations is inefficient, unscalable and has poor incentives… • 52.3% think collaborations are one-sided • 47.2% haven’t started a project because couldn’t find collaborator 🔑 Do your market research. Look at trends, size of market, existing solutions
  15. 15. 3. BUILD THE RIGHT TEAM
  16. 16. 3. BUILD THE RIGHT TEAM SCIENCE EXCHANGE EXAMPLE: • Science Exchange was founded by a diverse team… a scientist, an MBA and a programmer • Complementary set of skills help solve the wide variety of problems faced when starting a company Mix with people outside your field 🔑 (How? Check out meetup.com)
  17. 17. 4. FOCUS ON COMPANY CULTURE
  18. 18. 4. FOCUS ON COMPANY CULTURE SCIENCE EXCHANGE EXAMPLE: • Building a world-class team and work environment is our #1 priority • My co-founder spends ~50% of his time on recruiting, retention and culture 🔑 Decide what you want your company culture to be… and only work with people who ‘fit’
  19. 19. 5. GET STUFF DONE
  20. 20. 5. GET STUFF DONE SCIENCE EXCHANGE EXAMPLE: • We went from idea to launch in 5 months • We speak to users everyday and deploy new features constantly (based on their feedback) • Our dev and business teams work in 2-week ‘sprints’… providing sense of urgency and momentum 🔑 Record what you really need to achieve each 1-2 weeks… revisit after 6 months
  21. 21. 6. USE YOUR TIME WISELY
  22. 22. 6. USE YOUR TIME WISELY SCIENCE EXCHANGE EXAMPLE: • The whole point of Science Exchange is to help scientists use their time more wisely • In startups, like in science, people who succeed make the best use of their time 🔑 Focus on your core… make use of experts for everything else
  23. 23. 7. GET THE RIGHT ADVISORS Investors are employees you can never fire. We made sure to pick investors that thought like us.
  24. 24. 7. GET THE RIGHT ADVISORS SCIENCE EXCHANGE EXAMPLE: • • Science startups ≠ Biotech startups • Carefully selected for investors / advisors with relevant expertise Lessons we needed more likely to come from online marketplaces than biotechs 🔑 Build an advisor / investor network (e.g. through accelerator or E-club)
  25. 25. 8. DON’T GIVE UP
  26. 26. 8. DON’T GIVE UP SCIENCE EXCHANGE EXAMPLE: • Press coverage proclaimed Science Exchange as the ‘eBay for Science’ • Negative reaction from some labs. Had to work hard to convince them to join the network • Didn’t give up… now 800+ labs list their services 🔑 Remember that founding a startup is hard... persistence is everything!
  27. 27. 9. SCIENTISTS MAKE GREAT ENTREPRENEURS ! Startups are like science, where you need to follow the trail wherever it leads.
  28. 28. 9 THINGS I’VE LEARNED 1. SOLVE YOUR OWN PROBLEM 2. SOLVE A REAL PROBLEM 3. BUILD THE RIGHT TEAM 4. FOCUS ON COMPANY CULTURE 5. GET STUFF DONE! 6. USE YOUR TIME WISELY 7. GET THE RIGHT ADVISORS / INVESTORS 8. DON’T GIVE UP! 9. SCIENTISTS MAKE GREAT ENTREPRENEURS
  29. 29. HOW CAN WE HELP? • Advice Happy to speak to existing and aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly those with an academic background… email me at elizabeth@scienceexchange.com • Grants Our grant program helps early-stage biotech startups get key experiments conducted via Science Exchange… Learn more by emailing grants@scienceexchange.com
  30. 30. HOW CAN WE HELP? HAPPY HOUR… February 19th 4.30pm-7.00pm Fibrogen Building
  31. 31. THANKS!

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