Monthly Archives: July 2013

Ousting the Founder

Fred Destin writes on the topic of when is it best for a founder of a company to go (see here).  Venture capitalists seem to make the assumption that it is inevitable that it must happen. However there are many instances of founders making a long term success of companies, e.g. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.

Ben Horowitz says founder CEOs have comprehensive knowledge of the company, a moral authority and a commitment to the long-term.  Professional CEOs in contrast do not. Founders can also have the courage to ignore the assumptions and predictions of the herd.

At the same time it must be accepted that not all founders have CEO skills, and the larger the company is the more skills are required.  A founder will need to acquire new skills if they want to scale-up.  That means learning on job, which is difficult and demanding.

Advertisements

Crowdfunding in Biotech

A recent  article in Xconomy discussed the issue of crowdfunding for biomedical research (see here).  The specific example of Microryza.com was given which is a crowdfunding platform that allows funding of individual science projects.  The recent Jumpstart our Business Startups (JOBS) Act makes it much easier for crowdfunding to happen in the US.  It seems the crowdfunding is here to stay and we can expect it to gradually become established as a way of funding science.

The Microryza website describes projects that do seem very worthwhile, such as using nanobots to tackle cancer and developing diagnostic tools for non-healing wounds.  Clearly there are the usual long-standing concerns that investors who give via crowdfunding are naïve and are unlikely to be able to judge the risk factors in areas as complex as biotech.  However perhaps there is a lot to be gained by the public having direct exposure to science projects that need funding, and perhaps off the wall ideas that traditional investors would never have touched, may get a sympathetic hearing.