Mahsa Fallah working in the Omnio lab, an alumni to Umeå Biotech Incubator. Photo: Johan Gunséus
Mahsa Fallah working in the Omnio lab, an alumni to Umeå Biotech Incubator. Photo: Johan Gunséus

The business coaches at Umeå Biotech Incubator have collected an impressive know-how over the years. With their inside position of some of the most innovative medical solusions they know how to get a life science company to thrive and grow.

We’ve tapped in to their know-how and selected the six most important decisions that a growing startup needs to get right in order to become a flourishing company.

1) Do things in the right order

Find out early on what kind of tests or documentation future investors or buyers will expect. With the right business development strategy you can save years and millions on development.
At UBI we create an action plan based on the requirements specified in collaboration with each case’s future customers. This knowledge provides opportunities to prioritize activities in the right order, especially if you have complex products for multiple markets, for instance when developing new antibiotic agents with a novel mechanism, like our resident company Quretech Bio.

2) Choose the right team

Perhaps the most important point. There is no single idea good enough to create business by itself. Be humble about your own knowledge gaps and let others help. Long-term needs? Make sure to recruit the right team. Temporary need? Get outside help from a consultant.
At the incubator in Umeå our coaches evaluate the team early – even before the case gets accepted for verification. We also help with identifying and recruiting members to the team – like when Lipum needed to get hold of an energetic and committed CEO.

3) Work in a place that adds value

Choose a workplace in a creative environment with other entrepreneurs. But do review the conditions of innovation parks or science parks. Does the tenant take shares in exchange for their services? You are expected to repay the subsidies received, or do they have a clause about making a percentage of your future earnings?

At UBI, we want to be a neutral and credible business partner. Therefore we never take any ownership in our coached companies, and do not occupy any board positions. In order to build an active pay-it-forward culture – our offer is constructed as a conditional loan; If a case is concluded as written support of that contribution – but if the company is growing and making a profit or sold, then the company repays the value of the services received.

4) Accept the right money – not any money

Take advantage of grants and subsidies as far as possible. Funding without economical conditions – usually from governments or the EU – can build value in the company without loss of shares. When it comes time to bring in outside investors, were so picky that you can afford, and remember the skills that come with the money. It is advice that among others Hiloprobe been told.

UBI is the knowledge to write a successful application and close relationships with investor networks and organizations Swelife and Bio-X. Thanks to the Erling-Persson Family Foundation incubator can also provide early funding for applied research.

5) Do not register a company until you need to

Although it sounds contradictory, it may pay off to wait before registering a new company. Start by securing the hard facts and verify the business model with actual customers. Then go on to develop the company name, logo and promotional strategy. Inficure Bio has successfully built the company’s core and are working at packaging the offer as we speak. To close a case is also administratively easier than to close down a company.

6) File for patenting at the right moment

Patents and academic publications may be each other’s opposites. But with a good strategy, you can do both. Patents cost money, and once you have submitted the application, the clock is ticking. To patent too early can be devastating for a startup with a long way to the market.
A well thought out IP strategy is the A and O in a knowledge-based company, and sometimes it may actually be the right choice not to patent at all, as is the case with Brain stimulation. Therefore a thorough IP review is included in the initial evaluation at UBI – a necessary step in order for our cases to make the right decision from the beginnning.

Text: Carolina Hawranek
Photo: Johan Gunséus
Note: This article has also been published in the national Magazine NyTeknik as sponsored content: