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Bioentrepreneurship By The Numbers


‘Bioentrepreneurship’ is the pursuit of opportunity with scarce resources with the goal of creating user-defined value through the deployment of biomedical and clinical innovation.

‘Bioentrepreneurship’ is the pursuit of opportunity with scarce resources with the goal of creating user-defined value through the deployment of biomedical and clinical innovation. The main domains of innovation are biomedical (drugs, devices, vaccines, and diagnostics), digital health, care delivery, and policy innovation.

Here are things you should understand about the four elements of the definition

The Pursuit of Opportunity

The seven sources of opportunity (Drucker) are:

· An unexpected success, failure or outside event.

· The gap between what is and what should be.

· A process or system that is broken and in need of repair

· Changes in the structure of an industry or market.

· Demographic shifts.

· A change in societal perception, mood or meaning.

· New knowledge or technology.


Here's how to find money for your idea


1. Be sure your idea is ready for investor prime time — i.e. you have the pieces in place and have validated most of the elements of the your business model. The ultimate validation of your model will be if you have paying customers already.

2. Fight the right kind of investor who identifies with your idea during the right stage of development. Not all investors are the same. Some favor certain industries or products, some have personal connection, some want early stage, some want later stage. Do your homework.

3. Explore alternative and new forms of funding.

4. Network, network, network.

5. Fail early, often, and for as little cost as possible.

6. Self-fund or bootstrap for as long as possible. Build as much value into your idea as possible before shopping it to investors.

7. Consider customer-funded business models if possible.

8. Have a fundraising plan, just like a marketing plan or financial plan, and execute it.

9. Get the right people on the bus as soon as possible.

10. Find the cheapest, smartest capital (not necessarily money) to get to your next critical success factor.


Now that you have some strategy, here are some nuts and bolts:

1. Network, network, network.

2. Create a one-page executive summary, a 3-minute video, a website with a button "for investors" and a 10-slide PowerPoint presentation.

3. Sell to the heart, not to the head and be sure your pitch is investor ready.

4. Be sure you have the right storyteller on the team.

5. Create social media buzz about your product or service as part of your plan. You know you are successful when an investor says, "Oh, I've heard of you."

6. Apply for non-diluting sources of capital like SBIR/STTR, state and local eco-devo grants, international research, and development collaborations, etc.

7. Explore accelerators, generators, and incubators that have the right model for you.

8. Find out who funded your competitors and contact them.

9. Think big, but start small demonstrating customer traction with pilots.

10. Network, network, and network


Here are 10 things you should know about value:

1. Entrepreneurs create value, not just companies. Some are social entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, physician investors, service providers or independent professional services providers. Not all are ‘technopreneurs’.

2. Value is the difference between user defined tangible and intangible perceived benefits- tangible and intangible perceived cost. In other words, quality of a value factor/unit price. Your assessment of the value you offer is irrelevant. What matters is how customers think you can solve their problems at a price they are willing to pay.

3. Features that are not user-defined benefits are costs to the producer.

4. Take note that 1) the intangible value factors, like speed, convenience, experience, service and satisfying emotional needs usually drives the buying decision, and 2) the value is often perceived, not real. That's why doctors make Type 1 and Type 2 technology adoption errors.

5. Brand equity is the value customers place in your company

6. There are many ways to measure innovation, but there are qualitative and quantitative components to the value you create. The result determines whether you have created sustaining or disruptive innovation or, worst case, whether you have created a solution looking for a problem or just tinkering.

7. Your value proposition is the promise you make to your customers concerning how you intend to solve their problem or do the job they are asking you to do. It's your pick up line. It is the cornerstone of your business model canvas.

8. The amount of use-defined value you create is a perception and not necessarily a reality. Take bottled water. In most cities you can get clean water for free. Bottled water is the second largest commercial beverage category by volume in the United States. However, bottled water consumption is about half that of carbonated soft drinks and only slightly ahead of milk and beer.

According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC), in 2014 the total volume of bottled water consumed in the United States was 11 billion gallons, a 7.4% increase from 2013. That translates into an average of 34 gallons per person. You paid $13B for the packaging and branding.

9. On average, it takes a 5x difference in the perceived value in the mind of the customer to switch from one product to another. Disruption requires creating many multiples of that.

10. Doing a value factor analysis determines whether your product or service meets or exceeds the expectations of your target segment.


Here are 10 things you should know about innovation

1. You need to lead innovators, not manage innovation

2. Innovative universities and organizations are not necessarily entrepreneurial

3. Patients and other stakeholders are your main source of opportunity to create innovation.

4. Big Device should change their R/D models

5. You need an Innovation Management System to create impact

6. You need to clarify your innovation expectations and encourage innovators to go beyond them

7. Have you validated your business model assumptions?

8. Rules create ecosystems. Ecosystems drive innovative business models. Think, TV, the Internet, electric cars.

9. Stop blowing innovation smoke and raise your innovation bar

10. Create user defined value through the deployment of innovation, not just companies

Bioentrepreneurs need to satisfy all four elements to be successful. Doing so does not necessarily mean creating a company or seeing patients face to face.

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Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice
Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice