Edit: Congratulations to SoundSense on winning their category
As a scientist it is crazy how many crazy ideas I have heard from scientists that have just made a discovery. ‘This is going to be the next big thing!’ ‘I am going to cure _________ disease.’ ‘I am going to be rich after this product gets launched.’ Then silence….. A proverbial pin could be heard drop in the distance. For the fourth year in a row REBBLS has decided to take these crazy ideas and potentially turn them into a product that could possibly do the things that it was intended. We have had some success helping people do this in the past four years we have run this workshop. These workshops have helped people concretize their ideas and form interesting startups like VenomAb. The Venture Cup Workshop that usually runs in November is an event where REBBLS has felt we have contributed to the process in helping young people develop startups and generating new rebellious projects. So this year we wanted to be more rebellious and wanted to push the convention and do things different than last year. We chose a number of participants from a number different backgrounds mainly engineers, scientists and business people but tried to get architects, musicians, and other creative people onboard.
Next we collected a number of great ideas from the core group’s personal experiences. Although on the day we realized that some of the 25 participants brought their own ideas. Keeping it loose we decided to allow them to pitch their ideas and have people join these groups. We tried to match business developers, with scientists and engineers as it is very hard for a just one scientist to make
Another way we changed the convention from the year before was that we had facilitators from REBBLS and a Company called bioinformatics Company called Athgene. The facilitators was a person with significant experience from outside the team who sat in and helped the teams form their ideas, keep them on track and ask significant questions. All the facilitators had a briefing on how to take their team from ideation to concept quickly and efficiently. The facilitators did a great job! If someone was to come some of these rooms you could see concentrated energy flowing. Post-its of green, pink and yellow were up on all the walls, flow charts, complex diagrams were drawn on the white board and empty coffee cups and bags of chips littered the tables. In addition to the facilitators, we had four experienced mentors: Human Shojaee (Venture Cup), Hans Schambye (Galecto Biotech), Herik Nagel (Scion), and Stephan Christgau (Novo Seeds) that were scheduled to talk and question the different ideas throughout the course of the day. The teams learned a lot from their experience and by scheduling their time through the different steps there was no idle moment. The last thing we changed from last year was that in addition to getting the groups to pitch, we had them write to near completion an executive summary of their projects. This kept the idea fresh and organic. REBBLS helped push these young talents to their limits and in the end we received very positive feedback from the teams, their projects and Venture Cup itself. This time we achieved 6 projects that were submitted.
The level of the pitches was fantastic. It was like being at Techcrunch Startup Battlefield and listening to already established companies with Seed A funding. If I was an Angel investor I would have funded all of the teams with some seed money.
The final projects the teams developed ranged from Parkinson’s, gene therapies against AIDS and other infections, a new network for scientists, a biomembrane for that does not cause ear damage when listening to music, bioinformatics for your gut microbiome to help people make diligent dietary decisions.
In the end REBBLS achieved two great results. The first result was that three teams coming from this workshop made it to the semifinals of the Venture cup. Two teams ended up in the Life Science & MedTech category and the third team competed in the Product & Technology category.
1. DEMKIP (CBS) is making an innovative step towards healing Neurodegenerative diseases;
2. Excigen Therapeutics ( DTU, KU, SDU, CBS) will produce gene therapies against currently incurable viral infections.
3. SoundSense (DTU) help people have the full acoustic experience of their favorite music without damaging their hearing for the long term.
The second result REBBLS achieved is that we were asked to take this format of the Venture Cup Workshop to other Nordic countries. Possibly next year this workshop may go around the Nordics to help other biotech ideas go from concept to company.
REBBLS hopes to continue to do this in future years where we can push the convention to help other bioentrepreneurs. Possibly all the teams coming from our workshop will be finalists in the Venture Cup Ideation contest! The hope is to make better companies and make a better world.