Engineered Startups

A few years ago, as we described our startup formation to one of our investors he made the comment “so you engineer startups”. I thought about the term for a few seconds and realized that it was a great way to describe what we do. Think about the startups that most angel investors and VC’s […]

Students and Faculty as CEOs

This week I spoke on an investor panel at a small conference. The audience was primarily researchers interested in commercializing their technologies. The panel was asked a common question, “what do you look for in the CEO of a startup?” In my company’s business model, we always hire experienced entrepreneurs (i.e., have previously run a […]

Observations from JPMorgan Week

The week of January 11th I had the opportunity to attend the Biotech Showcase in San Francisco during what is commonly called “JPMorgan week”. JPMorgan week is a cluster of life science investing conferences held simultaneously in San Francisco each January. It has become a must-attend week for entrepreneurs and investors involved in life science. […]

A Unicorn or a Double

One of the hot words in the startup press today is “Unicorns”. Unicorns are private companies with a value of more than $1 billion such as Uber, Snapchat and Dropbox. Many recent news articles are somewhat critical of the growing list of unicorns, many of which are unprofitable. Some articles raise concerns with the potential […]

How to Tell a Ten from a Two

Making a quick judgement about the potential of a startup company is often very challenging. Regardless of if you are considering investing in, partnering with or acquiring a startup it is important to quickly make an assessment of how likely the company is to succeed in the long run. University startups can be more challenging […]

Investing in a University Spinout with a Faculty CEO

I recently touched base with a university asking if they had any good technology candidates for our startup foundry program. They responded that university faculty were starting businesses on all of their best technologies. I found that disappointing. We don’t build startups where the faculty is the CEO. But a lot of universities push the […]

Universities Dive Deeper Into Venture Funds for Their Startups

Universities in the United States produce more than 800 startups per year according to the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM). But outside of a few major metropolitan areas such as San Francisco, New York and Boston, startups in many university cities struggle to locate angel investors or venture capital funding. Furthermore, many of these […]