An entrepreneurship section in our WIKI points out the intentions of the group to deliver its software to the user / consumer. Despite all the advances and achievements of ARIA up to the date have been totally directed to Open Access, we consider that so possibly, in the near future, after the Giant Jamboree, we can keep on developing new functionalities and to make from the Inference Array, a market opportunity.
In this context, ARIA received the UPFlama grant, a program directed towards supporting the creation of innovative businesses by means of offering formation, tutorship and mentoring to bring business ideas to feasible solutions. It consisted of a first stage where the selected proposals, each represented by 3 team members, attended a nanoMOOCS course in order to define a Business Model Canvas. Further on that, the 12 best projects were selected to continue enrolled into the second stage of the grant, where a tutoring and a formation course was to be conducted from 19th October until 9th February.
The schedule from it was defined as follows:
- nanoMOOCS course to learn how to properly construct a Business Model Canvas based on the Lean Launchpad technique. The attendance was from 28th september to 4th october and was conducted by Albert Domingo. It allowed ARIA to portray its business idea into a canvas, a visual and a simple tool that helps to share it with mentors and multisector people as well as improve it. The knowledge gained was represented by the following points:
- Be able to identify ARIA clients, partners, sponsors, sales channels and assets.
- Know how to reach the value proposal of ARIA.
- Know how to use the BMC.
Once completed, we received a certificate verifiable by Blockchain.
- BMC online master session scheduled on the 1st October in order to solve our doubts and thoughts before the official delivery deadline on the 4th October.
After that, we were announced that we passed the 1st stage and asked for a registration in another course to continue opting for the grant.
The second stage consists of a complete master program that is being carried out as of today by our 3 representatives. The sessions offered in this formation course include the following topic blocks, consisting of 1 or 2 sessions each:
- Design thinking
- Marketing for entrepreneurs
- Finances for no-financiers
- Finances for entrepreneurs
Business Model Canvas creation
Having mentioned it all, the main goal of the first stage was to develop a Business Plan (BP) including a Business Model Canvas (BMC).
It all begins by having the ideas clear. The main goals of a BP are:
- Settle down the project development.
- Aim for funding and ask for outer assistance from associations and organizations.
- Make all the ideas clear and safe for the investor to take part in the risk.
For ARIA, writing down a BP was beneficial as well, since it arranges all the tasks done and to be done, the way of accomplishing them and to whom may they be concerned. To end up with, in order for ARIA to be seriously considered for funding, a detailed BP is needed. Therefore, what is going to be now shown, is of the utmost importance.
In addition to our BP, we also developed two more documents with the purpose of serving to present our project to external investors and mentors. These are the official ARIA's One Pager (OP) and Deck can be consulted here:
Pitching session with an investor
Thanks to the Technologies and Digital Areas UPF Department, ARIA had the opportunity to present a pitch to Luís Martín Cabiedes, private investor and business angel interested to know more about our proposal, the 5th october in a UPF facility (Tanger Building, 55.309 room).
Interviews with mentors
During the whole project development, we conducted several meetings with the main aim of collecting funding needs. Although we came to a sponsorship agreement with two enterprises (see Sponsors & Funding section in Communication), most of the interviews ended up being mentoring sessions, as many of the contacted companies could not offer economical support. Instead, they proposed helping us to follow a successful path when it came to project management, which was extremely useful for us as well.
These interviews included companies and profiles such as the following:
BioCat is a Catalan entity that coordinates and promotes innovation in the fields of biotechnology, biomedicine and new medical technologies that belong to Catalonia (BioRegion). In particular, they promote science and healthcare system potential companies in this region. For that purpose, BioCat’s mission is to dynamize the whole stakeholders community in the BioRegion to boost project opportunities as ours.
One of our first programmed meetings (in really early project stages) was with Auria Albacete, BioCat’s Innovation Senior Project Leader, who recommended that we considered starting to prepare the required documentation in order for BioCat to begin with their mission. Mainly, she talked about the One Pager (OP) document, for which she gave recommendations and offered to give us feedback when we prepared it. The final result can be seen here:
Once the OP was ready, they could start getting us in touch with some personalized useful contacts that were concerned and interested in our field of study, such as: Ignite Health, Caixa Impulse, Innovation Forum, Ship2B Healthcare and TecnoCampus, useful for post-iGEM Competition stages.
UPF Ventures is a specific department from the university that aims to be the long-term strategic partner of a proposal raised in the UPF in order to create value.
They support the generated innovation at academic institutions and other private entities dedicated to technological research. Their main focus lies on innovation management and the points where they act on are:
- Make from research and technology an economical and social asset.
- Create a bidirectional relationship between the business and the academic atmosphere.
- Promote and help gain an entrepreneurial spirit.
- Lead the way and help grow startups and entrepreneurs projects.
- Generate and amplify the relationships between research groups and businesses so that the challenges of the future remain solved.
- Promote the innovation that generates business value.
They offered us help when it came to managing budgets, promoting Business Plan to investors and strengthening ties with UPF departments.
Marina Espriu is the Innovation Business Development Manager from ISGlobal and Barcelona Institute for Global Health. She opened-up the Knowledge & Technology Transfer unit at ISGlobal in 2017 with the business development of innovative treatments such as new antibiotics against multidrug resistant bacteria (awarded Barcelona Activa Best start-up initiative 2019), point-of-care diagnostics (malaria, meningitis, HIV, Chagas, among others) and digital health.
She guided us the way towards defining specific points from our approach to be considered as pioneer and valuable.
Rosa Maria Barragan belongs to the Innovation and Entrepreneurship UPF Department. She is focused on:
- Sensitization in entrepreneurship.
- Guidance to take part in incubation and/or acceleration programs for start-ups and spin-offs.
- Mentorship in the funding search.
- Formation to participate in funding forums.
- Planification of activities for entrepreneurs (conferences cycles, formative capsules, funding forums).
- Management of the incubation spaces of the UPF Business Shuttle.
In this context, she helped us to manage and establish the contact with key profiles for our interests, such as UPF Ventures or the UPF spaces for our conference.
Intellectual Property consulting session with an agency
Aiming to know more details about how to secure and save a software startup once iGEM period is over, and we are able to make the needed amendments and improvements to extend the capabilities of the detection and screening system, we conducted a collaboration with Isern Patentes y Marcas.
This business, dedicated to managing all the bureaucratic terms of an eligible product to be secured under intellectual or industrial property, gave us a master-meeting in order to receive expert feedback about our prospects to opt for this kind of legal protection when it came to our software. This was mainly motivated due to the fact that we consider that ARIA could launch their App to the market once the iGEM competition is over, and aim for securing as much as possible the product.
Jorge Isern, founder of the agency, was the one that personally attended ARIA to know more about what aspects were we considering to opt for this kind of legal protection, and once assessed, a specialized biodepartment from the company dedicated to construct a proposal that was suitable and useful for being included in our Business Plan.
Finally, here it can be consulted the feedback received by the company about our Business Plan:
Mobile World Capital Barcelona - 4YFN 2021
We had the chance to assist at the Mobile World Capital 2021 (4YFN), which allowed us to network with the funding and entrepreneur atmospheres that were reunited in a single spot in Barcelona, but with presence from all over the world. From here, we extracted some contacts that later on, were interviewed (Amazon startups, Founding institute of Valencia, Demium, ACCIÓ, Biocat, EIT Health, La Caixa, The Collider, among others).
Thoughts and conclusion
In this BP we have shown that the Antibiotic Resistance market is accessible and that ARIA would be a trademark to both direct and indirect competition.
This suggests we can anticipate prosperous sales. We have highlighted that our product and project goals are valued by consumers implying that there is commercial and retail interest in our product. Furthermore, we have planned strategies to combat potential issues ensuring that any investment has a minimised risk. Investment will be used by our team to perform relevant wet lab protocols and scale up experiments to implement ARIA into the Antibiotic Resistance market successfully and efficiently.
Overall, we believe this is an advantageous BP that with sufficient investment will result in a profitable, fast-growing, and successful company regardless of which implementation strategy we follow.