Life Science Industry and California

For decades, California has had an excellent track record, producing thousands of new innovations, therapies and technologies. In 2015, California companies were shepherding 1,235 new drugs through the product development pipeline. This development seems to continue. Some highlights here:

Life sciences companies paid more than $2.7 billion in federal corporate income tax, while employees paid $3 billion in federal income tax. The industry contributed more than $13.2 billion in federal and California state and local taxes.

California continues to dominate the nation in academic achievement. The state has the most universities in the Shanghai Index of the world’s top 100 schools. In 2013, academic institutions in the state awarded 4,966 doctorates to young scientists and engineers. By contrast, the second highest state, New York, awarded 2,985.

In 2015, California is projected to attract more than $4.7 billion in life science investment, a sharp increase from the $3.6 billion the state’s entrepreneurs received in 2014.* This increase was reflected in all stages of company development: seed, early, expansion and later stage. By contrast, seed stage investments declined in the nation as a whole in 2015. California´s influence is big: sixty percent of the nationwide investments goes to California.

Impressive indeed.

SOURCE: PricewaterhouseCoopers/National Venture Capital Association MoneyTreeTM Report based on data from Thomson Reuters



How Startup Nation’s Innovation Catalyst Masters The Art Of Public-Private Partnership

“Imagine you had a machine where you put in a dollar and five dollars come out, sometimes ten,” says Avi Hasson. “We have that machine and it’s called the Office of the Chief Scientist.”

The economic impact of the government’s R&D investment, however, is not measured by the size of the investment, but by the size of the “additionality,” a term used by economists to capture the net positive difference that results from the government’s intervention in the economy. A 2008 study (re-validated in 2014, according to Hasson), found that a government grant of NIS1 million causes firms in the manufacturing sector to invest another NIS1.28 million (the comparable figure in computer-related sectors is NIS1.81 million), meaning that the economy gains NIS2.28 million invested in business R&D that would not have been invested without government intervention. The study also found that the economic effects (in terms of incremental GDP) of the government’s investment in R&D are, at a minimum, between 5 and 6 times the amount of money invested by the government.

The whole Forbes article is worth of reading and learning.


16 Startup Metrics

According to Andreessen Horowitz they have the privilege of meeting with thousands of entrepreneurs every year, and in the course of those discussions are presented with all kinds of numbers, measures, and metrics that illustrate the promise and health of a particular company. Sometimes, however, the metrics may not be the best gauge of what’s actually happening in the business, or people may use different definitions of the same metric in a way that makes it hard to understand the health of the business.

This was to a good summary to any start-up CEO / CFO.

Have a look:

Google’s 8 innovation principles How does Google do it?

Google’s 8 innovation principlesThe following principles are derived from a 2011 article by Google’s SVP of YouTube, Susan Wojcicki.

My suggestion is that you write them on your wall, use them as a filter for your next big idea and, above all, don’t ignore them.

  1. Focus on the user: Larry Page, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and many other successful entrepreneurs speak about the importance of building customer-centric businesses. Everything you do should solve a problem or fill a need for your “user.”
  2. Open will win: In a hyperconnected world with massive amounts of cognitive surplus, it’s critical to be open, allow the crowd to help you innovate, and build on each other’s ideas.
  3. Ideas can come from everywhere: Ideas are everywhere these days, and tapping into the power of the crowd is the best way to succeed fast. This is the basis for XPRIZE itself – when you’re looking for a breakthrough, turn to crowdsourcing for incredible ideas, insights, products and services.
  4. Think big, but start small: This is the basis for Singularity University’s 10^9+ thinking. You can start a company on Day 1 that affects a small group (with a minimally viable product), but aim to positively impact a billion people within a decade.
  5. Never fail to fail: The importance of rapid iteration: Fail frequently, fail fast and fail forward.
  6. Spark with imagination, fuel with data: Agility—nimbleness—is a key discriminator against the large and linear. And agility requires lots of access to new and often wild ideas and lots of good data to separate the worthwhile from the wooly. The most successful startups today are data-driven. They measure everything and use machine learning and algorithms to help them analyze that data to make decisions.
  7. Be a platform: Look at the most successful companies getting billion-dollar valuations — AirBnb, Uber, Instagram, Whatsapp — they are the platform plays. Is yours?
  8. Have a mission that matters. Does the company you’re starting have a massively transformative purpose (MTP)? Passion is fundamental to forward progress, and having an MTP is absolutely necessary to keep you moving during the most difficult times, keep you focused and attract the best talent to your company.

Please check:

Singapore start-ups aim to be top kids on the block

According to the Financial Times Singapore hopes to become the Silicon Valley of Asia. The city state is well placed to fulfill its aim of becoming a “Silicon Valley”. While China and India attract more dollars, Singapore offers a strong legal system and minimal red tape, i.e. business can be set up online in 15 minutes.

Best of all much of the privately raised venture capital is matched by government funding, helping Singapore trump most of its peers outside China and India in terms of overall investments.

Singapore´s $324m last year was nearly 10 times Hong Kong´s $37m, according to Asian Venture Capital Journal. That is still far behind China, which saw $5,5 bn in investments in the first half of this year and then India with $3,3 bn.

Challenges also exist, for example the glaring problem of creative talent. This will be an interesting journey to follow. I am quite sure Singapore´s decisive government is able to act and improve this specific area as well.



Do you choose the investor or vice versa

Which way it is? You have a fantastic company with real growth ambitions. Fundraising process is on the way and you start to scan potential interest. Usually the larger projects take about a year and the whole company is exhausted after the negotiations. Situations are many, but the CEO can feel satisfied if in the end he truly feels than it was him and the company choosing the investors and not vice versa. Of course you need two to dance, but I really mean that the company should be the boy who is asking the lady on the dance floor first.

Boy (company) has to know what he looking for, because the girl (investor) already knows her terms and conditions. VC´s and investors are very different in their nature, and each one of them have their own game book. You should understand very well under which rules you will play and what is your section and role on the field and in their manual.  During the investment round CEO should spend enough time to understand his future coming counter parts and get familiar with their way of doing business and values as a company and as individuals.

Track record is one the most important thing company should analyze and look for. The most successful investors whether they are VC´s or private investors can provide the strategic support for the CEO and his company case after case, good exit after good exit. Investors with continuous success have the network and skill sets to help.

The most suitable investor candidates are not necessarily from your neighborhood. Be brave enough and aim high. Last year I met over 100 investors from three continents. After a 12 months process I found my self on Friday signing a new share holder´s agreement with investors we wanted. Fellows and partners, that have the track record and have the game book we like. If felt very very nice.



How does a country raise a generation of entrepreneurs?

Every now and then we in the Europe enviously talk about the booming economies in Asia or US. We see and identify challenges in our politics and bureaucracy in creating new wealth. Some of the issues are indeed extensive large and truly would require a lot of political will and change management in the cultural mindset. Some of the issues would be faster to implement and the decision makers would have their possibility to leverage something beneficial.

Singapore has about the the size of Finland in terms of population. So does Israel. Needless to say, which one at the moment appears as a slow moving ice berg and which ones are brave and shape their economies. Which one gets comfortable enough only in talking well and which ones get their feet moving.

Following example is nice. Not a massive change, but a concrete step. Please have a look.

How does country raise a new generation of entrepreneurs. in Singapore, the answer to that question is a National University of Singapore (NUS) program that’s actually pretty smart: It sends its brightest away. Students at the national university are assigned to year-long internships at places like Silicon Valley, Stockholm, Tel Aviv and Beijing with companies that employ 10 to 20 people.

Some 200 participants per year in the NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC) program are groomed to become entrepreneurs. To dissuade students from staying in the host regions, the program times the internship to students’ third year. Students need to come home to finish their final year to graduate.

Whole article here:


Ecosystem play

By the definition business ecosystem is an economic community supported by a foundation of interacting organizations and individuals—the organisms of the business world. The economic community produces goods and services of value to customers, who are themselves members of the ecosystem. The member organisms also include suppliers, lead producers, competitors, and other stakeholders. Over time, they coevolve their capabilities and roles, and tend to align themselves with the directions set by one or more central companies.

Ecosystems need active and business driven facilitators. This week I was very happy to see how this work in practice.  Life Science is such an important business area in Switzerland, and the incubation work continues. Good momentum and lots of active members in this community facilitated by i-net:

The mission of i-net innovation networks switzerland is to promote innovation in Northwestern Switzerland. With around 60 events per year i-net addresses a network of around 7000 people – from start-ups to global companies. Excellent work I need to say and happy to be part of this network.


Mind of the Entrepreneur

Finnnish economy is not doing well. Recently selected new parliament and our future coming new prime minister Mr. Sipilä will get his change to fix issues. He comes with enterprise background and has been a solid entrepreneur him self. Every reasonably thinker in Finland knows that it is all about new jobs and majority of the potential will be in young fast growing companies. This is of course if we wish to build a healthy economy.

Following article is something for the Prime Minister and even more to his fellow politicians to read.

Inside the Mind of the Entrepreneur
Groundbreaking new research shows what sets Inc. 500 CEOs apart from the pack

The Inc. 500 entrepreneurs excel in every area identified by Gallup. But they absolutely dominate in three strengths–risk-taking, business focus, and determination–compared with the national sample. Those strengths are, not coincidentally, the ones most universally associated with business starts, survival, and scaling.

The group’s top-ranked talent is risk-taking–which will surprise nobody. After all, without risk there is no business. To launch their companies, these entrepreneurs were willing to sacrifice everything, from parents’ retirement funds to cushy executive perches. The Inc. 500 is packed with risk-takers walking away from six-figure salaries and taking on debt–often with young families in tow to sharpen the edge.

Gallup says those with a talent for risk-taking possess a highly optimistic perception of risk but are also rational decision makers who have an extraordinary ability to mitigate that risk. The assessment shows that Inc. 500 founders are more likely than other entrepreneurs to take more and bigger risks. But they are also more likely to optimize their chances for good outcomes and, consequently, rapid growth.