In early January, BioInnovation Institute opened calls for the two programs, BII Venture Lab and Creation House. Both are for start-ups in therapeutics, bioindustrials and health tech that have great scientific ideas with commercial potential, but what program should you and your team apply for?
We asked that question and many others to Senior Scientific Business Developer Hervør Lykke Olsen who is responsible for Creation House and Senior Business Developer Christian Brix Tillegreen who is responsible for BII Venture Lab.
How have you developed BII Venture Lab?
Christian: Based on our previous accelerator programs, we learned that funding, commercial education and scientific development is a strong combination for a seed-stage company. We decided to make it a 12-months program which may seem like a long timeframe for an accelerator, but we want our teams to do the key experiments needed to build an initial data package during the program.
How have you developed Creation House?
Hervør: Creation House was launched two and a half years ago. Since then, we have further developed the program based on our experiences and we have increased our focus on getting the companies to a place where they can attract a series A investment. One of the new elements during the program is a VC boot camp where we thoroughly prepare the start-ups to meet investors with everything that entails. We will also run monthly workshops and focus on the leadership of the start-up.
In Venture Lab you focus on team. How is that different from Creation House?
Christian: Team is an important pillar in the BII Venture lab program, but our focus is on developing the entrepreneurial skillset of the founding team. It is a personal journey to go from science to building a start-up and we support that with network groups and educational elements.
Hervør: In Creation House, the focus is much more on building the management team and making sure the right team and board are in place. To have experienced entrepreneurs on the team is in most cases key to closing a successful series A funding.
How do the teams work with their BII anchor in the two programs?
Hervør: In Creation House, the anchor functions as an interim chair, we help on overall strategic issues and open the doors to the relevant investors in BII’s international network.
Christian: In Venture Lab, the role of the anchor is much more hands-on, and the teams will in addition to that work closely with our program content providers during the 12 months.
How do you know if you should apply for Venture Lab or Creation House?
Hervør: For Creation House, you must have reached certain milestones in the development of your technology. If you are in therapeutics, you must have cellular proof of concept with chemical or biological tool compounds. If you are in bioindustrials, you must have a high-producing strain or be scale-up ready. If you are in health tech, you must have proof of concept of a minimum viable product.
Christian: For Venture Lab, we only ask that your idea is evidence-based as the execution of key experiments is part of the program. We also expect that you have a clear understanding of your unique value proposition and differentiation.
What if your start-up seems to fall right in between the two programs?
Hervør: We have a very high bar for Creation House, so in this case, Venture Lab is the right place to start. There is more risk willingness in Venture Lab, and the program is adaptable to the specific maturity of the start-up.
Christian: Absolutely. Venture Lab has a chapter-based approach, and you will be part of a cohort of other start-ups where you will benefit from learning from each other which is very valuable in reaching the next stage which will be seed financing in e.g. Creation House.