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Crossing the Bridge from an Academic to a Start-up Life

Crossing the Bridge from an Academic to a Start-up Life
Wednesday, 3 October 2018

While many academics may have the knowledge to create innovative solutions, the journey from academia to entrepreneur is not easy. Among other reasons, it is important to understand that a good idea or cool technology doesn’t imply business success. The stories may change, but experience teaches us that the business side of things is as important (if not more so) than the idea itself. [1]

Professor Boon Thau Loo tells his story in this article about how he was able to get into the entrepreneurial side of academics and why the jump wasn’t as easy as you might think. One of the main barriers of the academic entrepreneur is possessing both scientific and business skills. This includes drive, rigor, and technical skills in addition to the ability to create value, recognise business opportunities, and take risks. If one doesn’t have the competences to handle both sides of the story, he or she must find a partner that complements these skills. [2]

At the same time, those who can take advantage of an innovative business situation that academic entrepreneurs create can find themselves in unique situations, able to take advantage of complementary actions within research and business. In addition, it allows people of academic backgrounds to develop their business skills (thinking broadly, transferring technology, recruiting talent, etc.) in addition to their academic skills (negotiation, team and resource management, etc.). [2]