Digital Life Science Startup Scouting
The innovation team of a fortune 500 life science company was running a long term co-innovation program to learn from and collaborate with technology startups in Asia.
The Asian startup ecosystem is highly fragmented and opaque. This makes it difficult to identify high potential startups before they scale. This is particularly true in fields like neuromorphic computing, where teams may reside in an R&D phase for years before reaching the market.
In order to engage early-stage startups in solution collaboration, the innovation team needed to find entrepreneurs early. They next needed to convince the founding team of the value of collaboration despite differences in working approaches and timelines. Focus domains were varied, and included digital therapeutics, AI tools for drug discovery, cell and gene therapy tools, process simulation algorithms, and wearable devices to support recovery, among others.
IoT ONE has supported the life science company for four years to systematically map the startup ecosystems for over 30 innovation domains, from digital solutions to new materials for semiconductor manufacturing. We first conduct desktop research and scan third party company databases to identify the ‘easy to find’ companies. Next, we reach out to local tech parks, universities, and venture investors to identify companies that are under the radar.
After identifying relevant companies, we contact founders to introduce our client and their innovation program. Startups must be focused, so it is critical to identify win-win opportunities and define a collaboration model that fits the capabilities of both partners.
- Develop a long list of relevant startups for each innovation domain in scope.
- Conduct an initial fitness assessment and prioritize startups via desktop research.
- Speak with startup founders of shortlisted companies to gather non-public data and assess interest.
- Invite select startups to participate in the program and address their questions.