U of T professor, scientist, and entrepreneur Shana Kelley shared her experiences in launching three medical diagnostics startups during her Entrepreneurship Week talk “From concept to acquisition and back again.”
Kelley, who is cross-appointed to several departments including Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, presented two guiding principles for starting a successful life science startup.
The first is to let your initial ideas in research and business interact to form new ideas for opportunities. She quoted John Steinbeck, who wrote, “ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”
The second guiding principle is to accept that you don’t need to figure out all aspects of running a startup company before its launch. “You’ve got to jump off the cliff, and then you’ve got to work like heck to build your wings before you get to the ground,” Kelley said, quoting Ray Bradbury.
She noted that even if you think you have your startup figured out, conditions and assumptions often change over the course of its development.