Bio Engineering Startup Training (BEST) Program

The Bio Engineering Startup Training (BEST) program is designed to provide education and resources to UT Dallas and UT Southwestern faculty, staff researchers, and students interested in commercializing their research and concepts and creating fundable startup companies.

The training will be conducted by the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and resources provided by both the IIE and Office of Research (OOR). Membership in BEST is also selectively available to UTD-affiliated mentors and entrepreneurs seeking to join a biotech startup.

Individuals will be invited to become a member of BEST.  They will receive a survey asking two key questions (among others), (1) What is the current state of their concept (business/technical readiness level), and (2) What do they wish to gain out of participating in BEST – what do they want to learn most of all.  These questions will be used to establish a baseline education for the members as well as tracking metrics of program success (are their concepts maturing; are members satisfied with the quality and quantity of the training).

Participants will be sought by recruiting through emails and direct conversations to spread the word.  Targeted appeals will be directed to Venture Mentoring Service-NTX (VMS NTX) participant startups, Office of Research communications to research faculty and their department heads, and UTSW partner offices.

BEST will meet monthly in person with live-remote capabilities furnished through cameras checked out from the IT department. Key sections of the meeting will also be recorded. Attendance will be strongly encouraged since growing the community and networking between participants and universities will be important goals of the BEST program.  The meetings will be held at the Blackstone LaunchPad at UT Dallas and at other areas around UTD and North Texas to expose members to local resources. There will be three key elements to each meeting:

(1) A speaker who will talk on either business, technical, or legal matters, on what participants need to understand about commercializing in this industry and sharing of experiences.  Speakers will be sourced by IIE, OOR, and UTSW networks of contacts. 

(2) Listing of Needs – participants will be encouraged to state what they need help with and what issues they currently are dealing with.  This will allow other participants and IIE/OoR officials to offer answers or learn what they need to acquire to assist participants.

(3) Networking opportunities for all the BEST members to get to know each other and potentially help each other either through sharing knowledge or teaming up on projects, or presenting their latest achievements.  Building the bioengineering community is an essential outcome of the BEST program.

BEST members will also have access to education material and opportunities outside of the training program:

  • BEST members can also enroll in a 3-course Certificate from the Innovation & Entrepreneurship department in the Naveen Jindal School of Management (JSOM).
  • BEST members who are UTD students and faculty can enroll in CometX/GalXc accelerator workshops, offered every large semester.
  • Online Library: BEST members will be given access to a Box directory that will host a library of documents and videos.  Documents will include templates for pitching, filing for grants, and legal matters. Videos will include recorded talks, lessons, and interviews.  The program will leverage existing JSOM and IIE training sources.  By using a Box directory, control of who has access can be maintained, the material will remain non-public, and it will be faster and easier than creating webpages with logins.
  • Mentors – The IIE has access to multiple mentors through its programs and networks. Mentors can advise program participants on specific tasks and needs or throughout the semester.

Each participant will have deliverables of progress through and at the end of the semester:

(1) Show progress over the semester through the following concept maturation stages:

Research; Customer Validation of Problem & Solution; Market Size & Landscape; Technical Viability; MVP; First Customer; Fundraising

(2) Give a 5 minute pitch in front of a guest panel at the last meeting (Dec. 3) based on the work they have done over the semester, giving them pitch familiarity practice and identifying what they need to work on next.

Program Schedule

The proposed class dates and schedule are the following Fridays from 4-5:15pm:

Aug. 27 

Training program overview, describe available UTD & IIE resources, go over schedule of meetings & speakers, introductions of participants and their concepts, each participant discuss openly what progress they want to make over the semester on their concept. A guest speaker will share their story.

The following “working” classes will have a speaker and/or a key commercialization topic to be introduced, followed by each participant giving an update on their progress, their next deliverable, and what help they need. Each speaker & topic will be recorded.

DateSpeaker(s)Session Overview; Topics
Sept. 10 Ted Price From Idea to Concept to Plan – Finding the Pain Point & Team Formation 
Sept. 24 David Rothkopf Market – Understanding customer needs, market analysis, road to market, regulatory 
Oct. 8 Paul Nichols Tools In the Toolbox – Pitches, Exec Summaries, MVP, budgets 
Oct. 22 Claire Aldridge Funding – Venture Capital, Angel investors, term sheets, valuations, rounds 
Nov. 5 Brent Shultz Intellectual Property– Disclosures, patents, other forms of protection, negotiating licenses 
Nov. 19 TBDIncorporating – Company formation, legal, HR, accounting, payroll, taxes 

Dec. 3

Final Fall meeting, a wrap-up and review. Participants will give a 5-minute progress (not full business) pitch based on the work they have done over the semester in front of a panel who will give feedback. This will give the participants pitch familiarity practice and identifying what they need to work on next. Participants will fill out an evaluation form on what worked/what didn’t from the program.

For more information about BEST or to apply, please contact Denyse Carpio with subject line “BEST.”