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BIO’s Start-up Stadium—Springboard to Success

May 14, 2018
“…we not only received important and relevant feedback about our presentation and technologies, we also received solicitations from angel investors…”

The success of the Start-up Stadium, now in its fourth year at the BIO International Convention, is reflected in the increased demand for participation and the number of finalists approved to participate. Designed to provide a forum for a select group of early stage biotech companies—vetted and approved by subject matter experts—to engage with key stakeholders at the beginning of their life-cycle, the popular venue has grown from 30 to 50 participants. There will be a total of six sessions over the four days of the conference and each session will have a winner.

Participants from nine countries and 15 states will engage in an interactive experience before seasoned judges from investment, venture philanthropy, economic development, academia and industry sectors.

Early stage biotech companies face many uphill challenges, not the least of which is where to find the right partners to help turn their promising technology into viable, commercial products. Several years ago, BIO created the Start-up Stadium at the BIO International Convention—the largest annual global gathering of biotechnology professionals.

Much like a reality TV show competition, the event creates a dynamic interplay between the contestants and judges. After delivering a six-minute pitch, the early-stage company receives feedback in real time from hand-picked judges and often continues the relationship beyond the initial meeting at the Convention. In the end, six winners are chosen from among the more than 40 finalists. Most of the start-ups find the experience to be beneficial and a few have agreed to share their stories with us.

This is the third in a series of blogs that highlight Start-up Stadium success stories.

[caption id="attachment_28088" align="alignleft" width="300"] Craig Arnold, President and CEO of Nanopareil LLC[/caption]

Today we talked with 2017 participant, Craig Arnold, President and CEO of Nanopareil LLC about his Start-up Stadium experience.

BIOtechNOW (BTN): Can you tell us about your start-up?
Nanopareil LLC is a South Dakota based start-up that produces nanofiber membranes for membrane chromatography and other bioseparation/purifications.  The company was founded by two professors, Drs. Todd Menkhaus and Hao Fong on the South Dakota School of Mines Campus.

BTN: Was the Start-Up Stadium platform able to assist you in gaining visibility?
Start-up Stadium proved to be a great venue to introduce our membrane technology to the bio industry for the first time. Immediately following our presentation, we not only received important and relevant feedback about our presentation and technologies, we also received solicitations from angel investors.

BTN: Did you receive constructive live feedback at the Start-Up Stadium from stakeholders and subject matter experts?
The constructive feedback that we received after our Start-up Stadium presentation provided us with immediate reaction and feedback from the subject matter experts that we could not get anywhere else.  Their feedback helped us hone in on our technical presentation as well as our features and benefits.

BTN: How have you implemented any feedback to achieve success and continued growth?
Absolutely, we walked off the stage and immediately began to integrate the feedback we received into our presentation that we used in our One-on-One Partnering meetings. 

BTN: Were your BIO One-on-One Partnering™ meetings successful? Did they generate valuable connections with potential for meaningful partnerships?
Our credibility shot up with our Start-up Stadium presentation and was significantly enhanced with our 1st place win of Buzz of Bio. Our unknown South Dakota start-up was able to secure more than 20 meetings with top tier biopharma and bioprocessing technology companies from around the world.  The valuable connections we made within the industry began at BIO 2017 and continue to this day.  We continue to have on-going discussions, evaluations and negotiations with multiple companies that understand that membrane chromatography a key component to low-cost, small footprint, highly efficient analysis and bioproduction.

BTN: Although no longer eligible to participate in the Start-Up Stadium, will you be returning the 2018 BIO International Convention in Boston?
The good news is that BIO 2017 was very successful for us and we are well on our way to the commercialization of our membrane chromatography products. As much as we would like to participate in BIO 2018, we are all hands on deck trying to keep up with all of our engagements and business development activities as well as the production of our membranes.  Please save a spot for us in BIO 2019!