We started working on our project to commercialize a new drug compound with a lot of enthusiasm. We managed to get past the first screening (evaluation of executive summary), and prepared for the presentation at the business plan workshop organized by YorkBiotech. Here, each proposal still standing in the contest got the chance to present their ideas and get some feedback before submitting their final business plan.

The mix of ideas presented were similar to what I see coming through our organization: a couple of medical imaging ideas, a couple of software applications, a few medical devices and one drug (ours).

The judging panel was comprised of Yuvol Deusch, Associate Professor of Policy & Entrepreneurial Studies at Schulich School of Business, a few venture capitalists looking for potential investment opportunities, and was mediated by Robert Foldes, CEO and Executive Director of YorkBiotech. The feedback they gave us was in agreement with general consensus on investments trends: cash is the king; be inventive when looking for seed money (i.e. try first every government funded program you know of); don’t expect to find VC money in Canada. The only project that attracted VC attention was a software application that had revenues for the past two years, and the amount of investment they were asking for was relatively small. The same project got very little attention just few months earlier in a similar competition.

As for our project, the feedback was exactly what we did not want to hear: don’t look for money here, this is too big of an investment for Canadian VCs; try your luck south of the border, or somewhere else in the world.

Our only hope on all this: that the jury will appreciate the amount of work we put into our business plan and we’ll get free tickets to CMT 2008 (and of course, the money prize, if possible).

These are tough times, every dollar counts!

George Botos

George is a Schulich MBA student working at MaRS as a Market Research Analyst in Healthcare/Biotech for the Market Readiness Program. See more…