Lab based innovations have contributed the most important advances to humanity, from energy that power our lives to medicine that cures disease. Billions of dollars are spent each year developing lab based innovations, with new discoveries happening every day. However, limited effort is place on commercializing these discoveries, which could create global scale impact and vast wealth creation. A major reason for this is that the toolset required to be successful in this arena is much different than web/digital companies, which is currently the focus of most people or traditional corporate management. Therefore, we have created a class tailored to offer a very unique value proposition:
Teams composed of 3-4 students will build a new business, utilizing a lab technology that is sourced from a leading research lab (university or national lab).
- Technologies will be sourced and vetted by a PHD Science student from University of Chicago’s Institute for Molecular Engineering (IME) program in the Fall. These students will then participate as part of a team in the class, providing a unique technical capability.
- You may have the option to continue building the business after the class and potentially become an equity holder.
- You will be able to enter the business in the New Venture Challenge. A number of prior teams have been accepted.
Key milestones include:
- Determining the right technology to pursue from a large number of technologies, utilizing the analysis performed in the fall by the PHD team member.
- Analyzing multiple commercial market opportunities for the selected technology to determine the path forward (i.e. which approach has best financial benefits and lowest risk).
- Building a business plan, which sets the road map for commercializing the technology, and summarize this information in a VC pitch deck.
- Developing a robust set of skills, tools and experiences that you can utilize throughout your life.
Support & Guidance:
- Professors who will guide you through the class:
- Jason Blumberg: Head of a leading new energy VC fund + head of a leading energy focused Foundation + A sought out thought leader on Energy & Cleantech issues
- Keith Crandell: Head of one the world’s preeminent science focused VC’s – 20+ IPO’s and Billions of $’s of value created
- Engage with preset external advisors from the professor’s network, who will provide technical and/or business advice. These include leaders in industry, research and investments.
- Work with a leading lab or university to understand the technology and receive support from your U of C IME team member.
- Garner input from an array of referral sources and hear guest lectures from industry leaders.
Actual experience with a lab technology will be augmented with classroom instruction focused on:
- Issues faced by entrepreneurs as they work to commercialize a lab based technology.
- Core principals and technologies that are shaping the science landscaped, including the structure of various representative markets and overviews of major and minor technologies.
- Building a toolset to be able to effectively and efficiently develop commercialize plan, solve complex problems, and provide high impact advice.
The ultimate objective of the class is to provide students with a hands-on experience in commercialzing lab based technologies. This type of immersion is insightful for students considering founding a company, working in a start-up, consulting, venture capital and/or working in the science based industries. Students who join this class in order to work with one particular technology will not obtain the full benefit of the course. Technologies that appear exciting in the course marketing materials may yield unexpected challenges.
For those interested in foundational knowledge in commercializing science or building a science based businesses’ (i.e. anything besides web & digital) we hope you’ll find this one of your best classes.
Admittance into the class is by application only. Prospective class participants need to apply to participate. Since real-world problems often cut across multiple disciplines and interest groups, this course draws from a pool of students with a wide range of backgrounds, skills and perspectives with experience and across multiple schools in the university.
Please apply for the class using this link. Applications may be submitted anytime and will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the class is filled.
Students are expected to work 7– 10 hours out of class each week. This includes team and technology leads, independent and group research, interviews, presentation preparation and more. Individual team meetings are scheduled with the professor every 2 weeks or more if necessary.
Students who elect to register for this course should consider this a commitment. Dropping this class after the first week is strongly discouraged. Part-time students are welcome, but this class requires substantial schedule flexibility. Students must be able to schedule frequent meetings with the Lab Partner, often during business hours.
Project management is a key focus of the class. Many of the research partner leads may have not worked with MBA students before and consequently, students are expected to guide the process. Part of each class is devoted to discussing strategies and actual project issues in order to arrive at desired results.