Martin Bonde has been working with life science start-ups since the mid-90s. Today he is the CEO of Vaccibody and holds board member positions in Orphazymes, Visiopharm and BioInnovation Institute. He has always liked the challenge of bringing new technology and innovative solutions to the market and as a board member of BII, he takes part in deciding which projects and start-up are accepted to the three BII programs: Proof of Concept, Business Acceleration Academy and Creation House.
What do you look for in a start-up?
In academia, there is a tendency to look at experience and publications but good research in itself has only limited value in the market. When you build a company, you need to have a chance to become first in class or best in class with your product or service. If that is not possible, you should not even bother because without commercial value you will not make it.
How does a start-up discover the commercial value of the research?
A start-up has to find the unmet need in the market and get a good grip on how you operate in the market. How will the start-up position itself, and which steps will it have to take to be first or best in class?
How does a start-up do that?
It all comes down to finding the right people because good people find good technology. If you only have groundbreaking research and no business management, you miss an important part of the picture and investors take so much risk already that they rarely want to take a risk on management too. That is why I see BII as a great opportunity for first-time entrepreneurs to gain insight into both the science and the commercial side of building a company.
What does a start-up gain from joining a BII program?
BII is built on an insightful approach and a significant amount of money and that is the key to success for the institute. For the start-ups that means that they will be met with experienced people and the necessary training to commercialize new technology. Sharing labs and offices with other start-ups in the same situation is also very attractive for early-stage companies.
What do you hope to see from the start-ups that are right now applying for the Creation House programs?
I would like to see that they have carefully thought through how they can reach the market in the best possible manner and become best or first in class. It takes a solid, initial business plan with a clear overview of which steps they will take to progress and de-risk their company to attract substantial funding.