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Faculty entrepreneurs Dr. Maria Gomes-Solecki, Dr. Lisa Jennings, and Dr. Ed Chaum spoke to an audience about their experiences starting and running new life science businesses. The speakers have collectively launched 9 companies in diverse fields from vaccines and medical devices to telemedicine and contract research services, and have raised more than $20 million dollars in funding for their businesses through angel investors, venture capital funds, and grants.

 

In a Q&A session moderated by UTRF Vice President Richard Magid, the audience heard about the panelists’ motivations for starting their companies, the challenges of learning business management skills, and received advice on raising money for a new startup. One key lessons that all three speakers mentioned was how faculty entrepreneurs should take advantage of federal grants, especially SBIR grants, as these grants represent “free” money to the startup. Dr. Chaum and Dr. Jennings also described how their initial private investments came from investors that they already knew, and that all entrepreneurs should first look within their personal contact networks for fund-raising. Dr. Gomes-Solecki noted that one of her companies, US Biologics, had successfully competed in a business competition sponsored by a Nashville-based venture fund, taking first prize and a million dollar investment.

 

As the session wrapped up, the speakers all noted that balancing their UT obligations and the demands of a startup is challenging, and that entrepreneurs should carefully consider their personal priorities and the short- and long-term role they want to have in the startup company.

View the presentation.

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September 10, 2015

UTHSC Hamilton Eye Institute, Freeman Auditorium

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM (lunch is provided)

RSVP to Tinieka Thrailkill | 901- 448-7827


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Since 2012, UTHSC faculty have launched 10 new life science startup companies. At this workshop, you will hear directly from UTHSC faculty entrepreneurs about the challenges and successes they’ve had launching a new company. This will be an interactive session, with attendees encouraged to ask specific questions.  Topics will include:

  • Raising Money for a new Startup
  • Building a Management Team
  • Managing your Obligations to both UT and the Startup
  • Successes, Mistakes, and Lessons Learned

UTRF Tech Talks is a series designed to share information of interest with the research community of UT.  Presentations range from the broadest of perspective overviews to the more technical topics, providing useful information and offering support to researchers from the UT Research staff.