Monday, January 20, 2014

MIT-CHIEF Co-founder Day

Cambridge Life Sciences Associates recently attended MIT-CHIEF Co-founder Day and heard presentations from dozens of entrepreneurs in E-Commerce, Web/IT and Healthcare. The event included a panel discussion by Henry Cipolla (co-founder of Localytics) and Michael Chang (Founder of Flyberry Capital, LLC).

We list a few takeaways that all startups should consider:

  1. "The idea is not special, it's the execution." Turning an idea into a product or service involves significant time and effort. It is especially important to perform market research and develop a business model before executing a strategy.
  1. "The challenge is being the person everyone's talking about." The key to developing a successful product or service is to engage key stakeholders, such as investors and consumers. Innovative startups are constantly networking and sharing their ideas in order to receive feedback and improve.
After the panel, we heard pitches from four local startups. Here are our thoughts on the presentations:

An online store for lingerie
  • Analyze the competitive landscape more thoroughly
  • Determine your niche and consider what differentiates you
Solution for finding open parking spots
  • Refine your pitch and highlight only the key essentials
  • Allocate equal time discussing the problem, the solution, and the outcome
Connecting retired employees with current employees in the Energy sector
  • Develop a pilot platform to test your product (i.e. focus on a specific segment within the energy industry)
  • Refine your business model and formulate a market access strategy
Verbal Applications
Patient Engagement platform that advances communication between patients and caregivers
  • Analyze the cost/benefit of your technology 
  • Consider future integration with other health IT services (i.e EMR and Telehealth)

It was great networking with other entrepreneurs in the Boston area. If we didn't catch you at the networking session, we hope to talk with you soon!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Recap on Janssen Lab's Annual Trends In Financing

Earlier in December, Cambridge Life Sciences Associates attended Janssen Labs’ Annual Trends in Financing Holiday Industry Panel.

This panel was moderated by Merv Turner, former CSO of Merck and included Katrine Bosley, Entrepreneur-in-residence at the Broad Institute; Richard Heyman, CEO of Seragon Pharmaceuticals; Paulina Hill, Senior Associate at Polaris Venture Partners; and Joseph Payne, Founder, President & CEO at Arcturus Therapeutics.

During this event, the panelists commented on a variety of topics, ranging from current pharma R&D trends, new startup financing, and challenges with innovation. Here are some key takeaways from the event:

1. Recently there has been a 50% decrease in early stage life sciences investments.

2. At the current rate, the biotech bubble will burst in about seven years.

3. Healthcare delivery and payments are rapidly changing. However, whenever there’s massive change, there’s incredible opportunity.

4. In order to solve a problem, entrepreneurs need to be “crazy.” Don’t be afraid to break rules.

5. Not all money is equal. Entrepreneurs need to find the investors that are the best match for them.

6. Within the next 10 years, China and India will not be centers for life sciences innovation. Investors in those countries have no risk tolerance.