Startup ABCs: Academics Becoming CEOs

10 Feb

By Dennis Ford, Founder and CEO of Life Science Nation, Creator of the RESI Conference Series

Life Science Nation (LSN) is the leader in connecting early-stage life science and healthcare startups with capital and licensing deals. While academia remains one of the most powerful institutions for innovative tech, the main challenge we see with the founders is that they are entering into a new business universe, more specifically, a startup business universe. They enter this universe with powerful technology that they hope to translate and commercialize. But first-timers are often lacking the rudimentary skillset to succeed at launching a startup. These often-overlooked aspects, which LSN refers to as the tactical “nuts and bolts,” consist of getting their story straight, identifying partners that fit their stage of development and product, and messaging these potential partners through all the different modalities available today.

The big shift from academic to founder includes a basic understanding of business development, marketing, and sales, all of which are needed to find capital investors, licensing partners, and product collaboration partners. When it comes to partnering, it’s important to understand that the very first step is identifying and curating a list of potential partner profiles that are a fit for the startup’s stage of development and product set. Developing this list is the singular most important step, and it must be done thoroughly. Once this is done, the second and third steps come naturally. The second step is developing a system to track contacts and keep the list updated, and the third consists of outreach and following up. Founders who have completed step one must keep their list organized and in a safe and accessible location (not Excel). I’m talking about a CRM. From here, they can start to curate and track partners. Deals can take anywhere from 9-18 months, from start to finish, and keeping the partner profiles updated and associated tasks and deliverables current. It is imperative to be efficient and organized in running a global partnering campaign.

Through its events, products, and services, LSN has spent the past decade guiding academic innovators and teaching these basic business development concepts and tools that prepare them for their foray into the early-stage startup environment and fundraising. The Valley of Death doesn’t need to be the end of a great idea and LSN is a trusted partner in that process. Contact our business development team to learn more about how our events, products, and services can help connect you to the next step along your early-stage journey.

Want to learn more? The Business Development team at Life Science Nation is available to answer questions and share additional details to help you meet your partnership goals!
International East Coast (USA) & China Midwest (USA)
& Canada
West Coast  (USA)
Greg Mannix
Vice President International Business Development, General Manager Europe
Book a Meeting
Email Me
Candice He
Vice President of Business Development, Global Investment Strategist
Book a Meeting
Email Me
Antoinette Lowre
Manager of Business Development
Book a Meeting
Email Me
Alexander Vassallo
Manager of Business Development
Book a Meeting
Email Me


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