BenchSci is an example of how a simple idea can be turned into a successful start-up! Maurice Shen, Head of Academic Relations, was part of the founding team when the concept of an AI-driven antibody database was being devised. Having transitioned into the space from his doctoral degree at the University of Toronto, he has a unique perspective into how to be successful out of graduate school and the skills you need to make the transition into industry easier.
He first explained that the journey of a new start-up goes through five distinct phases that build of the previous stages’ successes. These consist of:
Stage 1: Ideation – coming up with an idea for a company and starting to network. Sharing your idea with others may seem counter-productive but shows that you have a grasp on your goals and can open opportunities for collaboration and early team-building.
Stage 2: Incubators – these help people grow their idea into a company. They allow you to find out the best business models and pitches required to get your idea as attractive as possible to investors. In particular, BenchSci went through three different incubators and obtained initial funding on the last of them!
Stage 3: Minimal Viable Product (MVP) – this is the first prototype. The MVP is critical to showing the world and potential and current investors that your product is useful and is something worth investing in for the long-term. Securing funding is key!
Stage 4: Expansion – After securing funding, you want to be able to develop a solid company structure that allows for expanded services in the future. This involves a division of labour and the hiring of new employees. This allows the team to continue to accomplish their goals at a rapid and efficient rate which will secure future funding.
Stage 5: Growth – this is where BenchSci is now. This is the long-term stage where the company continues to grow by both expanding their team and increasing the impact they have on the consumer market.
Some transferrable skills that Maurice was able to use to transition into this space are:
Being analytical – looking at a problem and being able to efficiently solve it is commonly used in your graduate degree and will come in handy when dealing with the issues that arise with your new company.
Adaptability – you need to be able to adapt to changing circumstances and to perform in ever-changing environments. Go with the flow!
Resiliency – You need to outcompete your competitors even when things get tough. Never give up and keep your eyes on your goals!
BenchSci is a machine-learning algorithm that can make locating antibodies for various research applications easy. Find them here at: www.BenchSci.com.