Want to apply for MassBioDrive Fall 2023? Read this first!

May 30, 2023

With the application for MassBioDrive’s Fall 2023 cohort, we’ve put together this overview of answers to the most common questions we receive about this program. If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at drive (at) massbio (dot) org.

And, as a reminder, the deadline to apply for the fall 2023 cohort is June 30 at 12:00 PM (noon) ET. Applications for our spring 2024 cohort will open in January.  

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

We’re primed to support scientific founders and very early-stage biotechs 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 applicants that have: 

  • A high-potential therapeutic pipeline or platform technology with proof-of-concept data 
  • Access (or a clear path to) to the intellectual property that the startup is founded on 
  • 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. MassBioDrive’s network of experts, mentors, and industry stakeholders are here to support you before, during, and beyond this program.  

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 individualized working sessions, 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 event, and through MassBio marketing channels   
  • An equity-free “graduation gift” package, which includes a stipend award from Bristol Myers Squibb and resources from Google Cloud, Evaluate, and Watershed 

What does a week in the life of a program look like?

We know that our founders are busy with academic work, research, families, and 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 both take place weekly:  

  • Curriculum modules: We take 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 working session 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 working session with the curriculum expert. During the 1:1 working session 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 a sample program week looks like (keep in mind that you’ll be able to pick the day/time for both your curriculum working session and your mentoring meeting):  

 Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday 
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      
Curriculum 1:1 working session with that week’s curriculum expert (1 hour) Receive next Monday’s curriculum video + weekly program reminders and updates  Send agenda/questions for next Monday’s 1:1 working session   
Mentoring        Send agenda for weekly mentoring meeting Lead weekly mentoring meeting (1 hour)  

If I live/work outside of Boston/Cambridge (or Massachusetts…or New England) can I still apply?

Absolutely! We welcome all eligible applicants. In fact, just six out of the 16 companies we’ve supported have been based in the Boston/Cambridge region.  

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 2023 program:  

Key Application Dates 

  • May 30: Application for MassBioDrive F23 Cohort Open  
  • June 30 @ Noon ET: Deadline to apply for F23 Cohort  
  • August 8: Applicants notified if accepted to interview round 
  • Weeks of August 14 & 21: 1:1 interviews with Review Board   
  • September 5: Interviewees notified if accepted into F23 cohort 

Key Dates for F23 Cohort 

  • September 18 – November 17: F23 Cohort* 
    • Note: Onboarding will begin the week of September 11 
  • October 11: Innovation Ecosystem Mixer  
  • November 16: Demo Day Presentations 

Who are your portfolio companies?

Learn more about our previous cohorts here and heard what they had to say about MBD. 

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 firmly believe that everyone in this ecosystem has a role to play in supporting emerging innovators. Here are 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 next event is on May 4, but keep an eye on our event page for other upcoming events. 

But I still have questions?! 
No worries! Reach out to us at drive (at) massbio (dot) org and we’ll set up a time to connect. 

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