Starting a new company is difficult. It takes guts, determination, and a lot of support and assistance from people who have been there before. The Platform provides inventors and company founders with an opportunity to refine their commercialization plans in a supportive environment and to solicit early-stage feedback from experts as they develop a strategic plan. This program will provide you with the assistance you need to successfully create your start-up.
The Platform Program is tailored to the specific needs of a single business opportunity, whether a start-up company or a licensing opportunity from a Massachusetts research hospital or university. The entrepreneur is coached and then gives a ten-minute investor pitch to an invitation-only audience of about a dozen investors, successful entrepreneurs, accountants, attorneys, regulators or other experts who can contribute to the discussion. After the pitch, the audience spends about an hour asking questions and providing feedback pertaining to the strategic and tactical needs of the company or licensing opportunity development. This program has proven highly effective in accelerating the development process, providing valuable new contacts and sharpening the entrepreneur’s presentation.
This program is offered free of charge to Massachusetts companies and research institutions.
- Technology transfer officers at Massachusetts-based research institutions with technologies that they are actively trying to market or spin off into new companies;
- Researchers and faculty at Massachusetts-based research institutions with inventions that they are interested in commercializing. (The Platform is a supplement to working with an institution’s technology transfer office, which needs to be involved to protect and license the technology.);
- Founders of technology companies that have licensed (or are in the process of licensing) technology from a Massachusetts-based research institution.
- Executives of startup companies who need: help refining a pitch, help establishing contacts within their industry, or guidance in making a strategic decision.
Platform candidates must apply to participate, submit a one page, non-proprietary marketing document, assist in the development of the list of audience candidates and participate in at least one coaching session prior to the event. Your application will be reviewed to assess your eligibility and to identify the best person to work with you.
If you are accepted into the program, you will meet with a commercialization advisor to develop a presentation about your technology and its possible commercial applications. This could be a brief overview of the technology and its advantages in order to get feedback on possible licensing options, or it could be a sophisticated financing presentation to show to angel investors and venture capitalists.
The development process can take one to three months, depending on how well prepared you already are and how much time you devote to the program. The process will help you develop a better understanding of the potential applications for your technology, the size of potential markets, and your competitive position compared to other technologies and products.
There are a number of assignments to be accomplished during the course of the Platform in order to build your presentation. The application process is designed to assess how far along the process you already are. Past participants have ranged from having barely started to having good data and strategy for all points. Assignments you will complete include:
- development of an executive summary;
- development of an “elevator pitch” and a financing presentation;
- analysis of competitive technologies/products and development of a competitive matrix;
- market verification, including customer feedback validating the need for your technology;
- list of ideal reviewers/panelists;
- basic revenue projections;
- management profile;
- possible funding strategies.
Once your commercialization advisor is satisfied with your preparation and your presentation, a date will be set for your Platform meeting. MTTC will invite a range of experts who are interested in helping universities spin off new technologies. They will be drawn from the local investor community, as well as industry, professional service providers and experienced technology entrepreneurs. You will be involved in developing this list of experts to help shape the panel that will best serve you.
At the Platform meeting, you will present your technology to the experts. There will be ample time for them to ask questions and give you suggestions on next steps. This meeting will enable you to obtain constructive-but candid-feedback on your technology and your commercialization plan. You will also have exposed the technology to a broad range of experts who will be able to refer you to other interested parties.
- You will develop a thorough and concise presentation on your technology and its potential applications in commercial markets. This presentation may be used to interest potential investors or partners, or to describe your technology to people you hope to work with on its commercialization.
- You will develop an in-depth understanding of the commercial potential of your technology, as well as an understanding of the competitive landscape in which you are trying to launch the technology.
- You will gain an understanding of the business models that are appropriate to the technology and markets you are pursuing. You will also be able to develop your plans to identify and market your technology to potential licensors or to develop a strategic plan to start a new company with appropriate financing plans.
- You will get objective feedback from industry experts on your technology and your proposed commercialization path. These experts may be able to help you further as you commercialize your technology-or they might introduce you to others who are interested in helping you.
Over 140 inventors and entrepreneurs have participated in the Platform as of September 2013. Some of those that have gone on to form or grow their companies are:
- Ethanol Boosting Systems (MIT)
- IgAN (Tufts-New England Medical Center)
- Solasta (Boston College)
- PowerHouse Enterprises
- Qteros (UMass-Amherst; formerly SunEthanol)
- Feed Resource Recovery (Babson College)
- Reflectance Spectroscopy (UMass-Medical)
- Targeted Cell Therapies (UMass-Medical)
- Trophos (Harvard; formerly Living Power)
- Hepregen (MIT)
- PA Technologies (UMass-Amherst)
- Garment Valet (Northeastern University; formerly Husky Express)
- Lumos Catheter Systems (Children’s Hospital; formerly Beacon)