Growing a High-Tech Microfluidics Company: From Lab Bench to Market
CEO, Cellix Ltd.
This innovation tutorial will be presented from two sides of the coin: the co-founder, entrepreneur and CEO of Cellix Ltd., Vivienne Williams; and the VC firm, Apicap, represented by Emmanuelle Deponge, who invested in Cellix. The aim of this tutorial is to give an insight from both the entrepreneurs’ and investors’ perspective in starting and growing a high-tech company. Vivienne will present an overview of Cellix’s history, expertise, developed products and how we financed our R&D through fundraising and national and European grants (FP6, FP7, Horizon 2020) highlighting the pros and cons along the way. In particular, Vivienne will share her experiences in growing a company focused on high-tech product development; the biotech axioms and landmines, helpful hints from an entrepreneurs’ perspective on company structure, marketing and sales (including establishment of a network of distributors), the importance of IP protection for small companies and raising finance.
The VC perspective will focus on the challenges faced by a start-up company to follow the winding path from the idea to the market. The manager’s skills and his/her human quality are one of the most important and the most difficult part to be addressed by VCs before investing in a start-up company. The challenges are everywhere for the manager: on product development, on business, on competition environment, on recruitment and people motivation. The role of the VCs is to provide funds to the company, to share his/her experience gained with other start-up companies. The VCs have also a listening role of the managers who are usually alone to take the final decisions, sometimes difficult ones. This role is possible if a good relationship has been built all along the way of the investment story.