Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Business Development Intern

While I was thinking about productive, lucrative, ways to spend my time, I ran across a whole  new arena to spend time in.  I'm currently working as the business development intern for Zwittertech, a start-up that can put non-fouling polymers on a variety of surfaces.  The technology is fairly well developed, but they are at that strange point in a start-up's life cycle where is it is time to decide what they are going to make, and how that is going to make money. 

Before I started working at the C4C, I'd never given much thought to how you convert good ideas (example, cure for the common cold) to profitable businesses (curing colds).  At some point, some savvy entrepreneur decides how that idea can make money, and puts all the pieces in place to get it made, on the market and used by people.  I'm starting to realize this is a unique problem in biotech- well, not unique but incredibly expensive.  Imagine, if you will, trying to turn any assay you developed in grad school into something as reliable as a mini-prep.  AND reagents are expensive, AND distribution is monopolized AND your clients are worried about their funding and uninterested in taking a risk on new products.  This might explain the stagnant growth of the biotech industry in the last few years. 

All that aside, my task for the next few weeks is to help Zwittertech decide on thier first product, of the minimally viable product (MVP).  The sooner they can get something on the market that makes some revenue, it will add stability to their balance sheet, which can allow them to develop more of the products they are interested in long-term.  To figure out what the MVP is, I am using a text book called The Startup Owner's Manual.  I'm developing business canvases, and hope to be moving into customer discovery next week.

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