Your MassBioDrive Questions, Answered

Jan 04, 2022

By Gauri Nair, VP of Innovation Services, MassBio

With applications for MassBioDrive’s inaugural cohort now open, I would like to address some of the most common questions we’ve received about this program. We also invite you to join our virtual kick-off event on January 19 or send us your questions.

What types of companies/founders/projects are you looking for?

We’re primed to support scientific founders and very early-stage biotechs with transformative therapeutic pipelines or platform technologies who want to develop their business literacy, while also getting hands-on expert guidance and mentorship from industry leaders and growing their industry networks.  

Specifically, we’d like to see early-stage startup applicants that have access (or a clear path to access) to the intellectual property that the startup is founded on, and have an interest in incorporating (if they haven’t already). If your science or biotech doesn’t meet these criteria (or meets some of it), we’d still encourage you to apply – we know extenuating circumstances often exist so our application gives you room to provide more context.  

But really, who is this program for?

This is for emerging founders who want the support of a community as they take the next step with their science. MassBio has a robust network of members, partners, experts, and mentors who want to  support the next generation of groundbreaking startups.  

What will my startup get out of it?

Here are MassBioDrive’s benefits, which are all provided for free and with no equity taken:  

  • 6 weeks of business curriculum and training, led by experts from J.P. Morgan (business & commercialization strategy), Thermo Fisher Scientific (drug development), Wilson Sonsini (IP & legal), KPMG (regulatory strategy), Xontogeny (fundraising), Marsh & McLennan (team & HR) 
  • 3 – 5 mentors who will serve as an advisory board for the course of the program; the MassBio team will help match you with mentors that fit your specific needs  
  • Business development and networking support from the MassBioDrive team throughout the program  
  • Ecosystem visibility through MassBioDrive networking events and an end-of-program Demo Day, and through MassBio marketing channels  
  • An equity-free “graduation gift” package, which includes a stipend award from Bristol Myers Squibb and resources from Evaluate and other MassBio partners
What does a week in the life of a program look like?

We know that our founders are busy with academic work, research, familiesand everything else, so we’ve worked to make this program as manageable but as high impact as possible.  

The two pillars of our 8-week program are curriculum modules and mentor meetings, which will both happen weekly: 

  • Curriculum modules: We’re taking a hybrid and asynchronous approach to our six curriculum modules, which are composed of reviewing a video about that week’s topic and participating in a 1:1 deep dive with that week’s topic expert(s). Each week, you’ll receive a video overview of the next week’s curriculum topic; you (and anyone on your team who is interested) will watch it, take notes relevant to your startup, and share any questions or topics you’d like to discuss during the 1:1 meeting with the curriculum expert. During the 1:1 meeting with the curriculum expert, you’ll have the opportunity to connect live (or hybrid) on specific topics or questions directly related to your startup.  
  • Mentor meeting: The weekly mentor meeting will function as an advisory board meeting – you’ll have a set time to connect with your mentor team to discuss that week’s curriculum module, provide updates on your roadmap progress over the last week, and get advice or make asks of your mentors 

Here’s what your average week at MassBioDrive will look like: 

  • Throughout the week:
    • Continue to make progress towards the goals outlined in your program roadmap, which you’ll develop with MassBio and mentor support during the first two weeks of the program  
  • Monday (from approximately 4:30 – 6:30PM ET): 
    • 1:1 meeting with that week’s curriculum expert (approximately 30 – 45 minutes) 
    • Weekly mentor meeting (approximately 1 hour) 
  • Tuesday:
    • Receive next Monday’s curriculum video, which you should watch between Tuesday and Wednesday (approximately 45 minutes – 1 hour)
  • Thursday:
    • Prep for the next Monday’s curriculum module by sharing any questions or agenda items you’d like to review during the 1:1 meeting 
  • Next Monday:
    • Start the cycle over again!  
If I live/work outside of Boston/Cambridge (or Massachusetts…or New England) can I still apply?

Absolutely! We welcome all eligible applicants. This is a hybrid program for a reason – we want it to be as easy as possible for all founders with great potential to harness our region’s networks and resources.  

What is the application process for MassBioDrive?

To start, fill out our online application. We use this application to collect basic information about you and your startup, and we expect that it will take most applicants about an hour to complete. 

All applications will be anonymized and undergo a blind review process by an expert team.  Select companies will be invited to participate in 1:1 interviews with our review board of industry leaders, who will select the final cohort.  

What key dates should I be aware of? 

Here are the key dates for our spring 2022 program; applications for our fall 2022 program will open in June 2022.  

  • Key Application Dates
    • January 4, 2022: Application for MassBioDrive S22 Cohort Open 
    • January 19, 2022: S22 Kick-Off Event  
    • February 4, 2022: Deadline to apply for S22 Cohort 
    • February 21, 2022: Applicants notified if accepted to interview round
    • Week of February 28, 2022: S22 Cohort Interviews with Review Board  
    • March 14, 2022: S22 Cohort Announcement 
  • Key Dates for S22 Cohort
    • March 21 – May 13, 2022: S22 Cohort 
    • March 30, 2022: Innovation Ecosystem Mixer 
    • May 5, 2022: S22 Demo Day  
My company is a little too advanced for MassBioDrive – how can I engage with the network?  

First – congratulations on your success!  

Second – thanks for your interest in joining our community: join us by attending our events (see above) or becoming a mentor (see below)!  

How can I get involved if I’m not an entrepreneur?

We have a few ways to support MassBioDrive

If you’d like to give back: 

Consider mentoring with MassBioDrive. Mentors play an invaluable role in helping founders take the first step (and all the other steps after). Your perspectives and experiences could be extremely valuable to someone who is just starting out. If you’d like to learn more, visit our mentor overview and interest form.  

If you have resources to share:

Partner with MassBioDrive to provide tools or resources to our cohorts. It could be consulting services, access to a technology, space, or cold hard cash, startups can benefit from all different types of support. If you have something to share and would like to get involved, reach out to our team.  

If you want a front-row seat to the latest industry breakthroughs:

Volunteer as an analyst. Analysts are undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in the life sciences (biology, biotechnology, biomedical engineering, chemistry, or biochemistry preferred) or business, or experienced professionals who help conduct due diligence on our cohort applications. Interested? Send us your CV to start the conversation. 

If you want to build your network:

Participate in our events. Through MassBioDrive, we want to catalyze the community and create more opportunities for everyone in the ecosystem, so we’ll be hosting at least five innovation ecosystem-focused networking events each year. Our first event is on January 19, but keep an eye on our event page for other upcoming events.  

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