This past Thursday 3rd of May was held the 7th Cooperation Conference UPV – La Fe in a morning in which took place two round tables about the ways of public and private funding for new and innovative projects relating to biomedicine.
In this way DCN was honored to attend the event where we could find, among other, representation of the CDTI, FIPSE, the Agencia Valenciana de la Innovación or the TechTransfer UPV Fund.
The conference was opened by Dr. José Millet and Dr. José Capilla. Both of them acting as vice deans of the Universidad Politécnica de València. Besides thanking the attendance of participants and speakers to this event, some time was taken to provide encouraging data about the innovative capabilities of València and, especially, the UPV itself, as in this last year—as was indicated—there have been 6 spin offs and 30 new bio startups have been established.
The first round table of the morning began at that moment. Elena Carrió (ISS La Fe), Enrique Tarín (Agencia Valenciana de Innovación) and Juan Luis Romera (CDTI) explained the news and next steps relating to public funding.
First of all, Enrique Tarín explained the possible actions the Agencia Valenciana de Innovación (AVI) provides enterpreneurs (NEXE, Compra Pública de Innovación y Talent), as well as deals with the Instituto Valenciano de Finanzas; and all that aimed at achieving a better cooperation between the agents, dinamizing the sector through public spending and a prosperous connection between science and business.
It was now the turn of Juan Luis Romera, who explained the changes that the CDTI provided the enterpreneurs for this next year. He pointed out that, among their programs, they count with—widely known already—NEOTEC, that provides funding up to 70% of the costs (and a maximum of €250,000), as well as the CIAN program, open all year round and providing up to €100M.
The important point that the speaker was raising here was relative to the counseling of the enterpreneur. In fact, of all the different existing programs, from CDTI projects are encouraged to ask for information and advise about the alternatives that may better fit each of them.
After commenting on the different options he provided some clues about how enterpreneurs should properly apply to the program. This way, we comment next on the most relevant points:
- The market should be described in detail without being a disproportionate portion of the report.
- Technology and in particular the current or potential existence of patents, which are definitively a competitive advantage for the whole of the company and something that is given a 35% of importance over the whole of the report (something to definitely take into account).
- The team, considered 30% of the total, should be adept in research and technology, but also count with some member with experience in and able to head the business development side.
- Elaborate detailed and realistic financial projections is more than necessary in order to obtain public funding.
After this first round table and a more than interesting pause for coffee, the second half of the conference began: private funding.
Here, as Pedro de Álava (TechTransfer UPV Fund) stated, that is the ideal moment to promote technology, providing his key points for undertaking a project in the best way possible, among which from DCN we would like to highlight:
- Don’t start a project on your own.
- Find a co-founder with a technical profile.
- At least one person in the team should be full time. This is something that, even if it’s complicated in principle, should be pursued at all times.
Lucas Martínez (DCN) took the stage at this point. He explained first the existence of a new €30M bioscience fund in its raising stage as well as another project in gestation stages which was especialized in agrotech.
Among the successful operations undertaken by the organization he leads, he commented on two important exits that constitute a notable track record for the new bio fund: x11 for Imagen and x2 for QaShops. This last one in barely 6 months of participation.
Among the key aspects of the investment, he commented on the enormous importance of establishing collaboration deals with important actors in the sector and counting on an “excellent team” and “disruptive technology”. Moreover, he recommended every enterpreneur worth his salt to find an investor that was a good “travelling companion”. That is, whose interests are aligned with those of the promoting team and with whom synergy can be created.
Finally, Carlos Esteban (Caixa Impulse) took the stage and commented that, along with Fundación La Caixa, they invested between €50,000 and €100,000 in projects in early stages, reminding of the existing separation between the banking institution Caixabank and the investment vehicles from Caixa Capital Risc.
Concluding the conference, Fernando Conesa (Promoción y Apoyo I2T de la UPV) reminded researchers of the importance of knowing how to build the property and ownership of technology with the aim to avoid future problems within the team and regarding investors.