VIC Technology Venture Development’s (www.victech.com) investment model sources promising life science innovation directly from universities across the nation, allocating funding to form startup companies and advance these technologies to exit via acquisition. In addition to the initial capital, VIC provides its portfolio companies with both business and scientific resources, including interim management, accounting, marketing, and research support, creating a complete venture development ecosystem.
The VIC Fellows Program was created in early 2020 as a mechanism for individuals with specific expertise to learn about and be involved in the process of identifying and evaluating promising life science and technology innovation from universities, institutes and national labs around the world. VIC Fellows become familiar with the myriad steps involved in forming and supporting new companies created to develop and commercialize these assets. It is an outstanding opportunity for those contemplating a transition into the investment sector (venture capital, private equity, investment banking, etc.), strategic partnering, technology transfer, or more entrepreneurial endeavors.
Fellows are at various phases in their careers, including graduate students (PhD, MD, MBA), postdoctoral fellows, or early-career professionals. They provide technical and/or business insights for IP-driven innovation, aligning with specific types of technologies (e.g. therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics, instrumentation, tools, etc.) and/or with defined therapeutic areas (e.g. cardiovascular, CNS, immune and inflammatory, infectious disease, oncology, orthopedics, respiratory, etc.). Examples of responsibilities Fellows learn and assume include:
• Identifying and applying for non-dilutive funding from Federal, State, University, Foundations, and other sources
• Interfacing with technology transfer offices at their respective university or in their region to present the VIC model and investment approach, and source candidate technologies fitting our thesis
• Assisting with screening of these opportunities by collecting and synthesizing relevant materials such as intellectual property, scientific publications, external market reports, subject matter input, inventor presentations, etc.
• Providing detailed input on the strengths and weaknesses of the investment candidate to the Opportunity Assessment team
• Participating in the creation of the investment candidate summary for presentation to the VIC Board of Directors
• Reporting to the interim CEO and serving as a resource for newly-formed companies by creating various materials, such as operating plans, investor presentations, marketing collateral, and grant applications
VIC Fellows allocate 10 hours per week for a one-year period, and—in return—they receive a stipend as well as the potential for equity in portfolio companies established as the result of their efforts. Beyond on-the-job training, a series of subject matter-focused seminars are offered on topics such as investment industry overview, opportunity assessment strategy, market research, TTO and inventor relationship management, IP requirements and strategies, company formation and fundraising, career development in science and technology investment, project management, and others.
When we first discussed creating a Fellows program in late 2019, we had multiple goals. The first was increase the diversity of our team, not only in the traditional sense of the word—the investment sector has historically been very homogenous—but also from the standpoint of expertise, geography, and fresh perspectives. The backgrounds of the current class of Fellows are summarized below, and detailed profiles are highlighted in our monthly newsletter, as exemplified by this recent interview with Travis Nemkov.
Fast forward a year, and—as the unofficial director of the program—I am delighted to share that it has been a tremendous success, so much so that we have started recruiting the 2021 Fellows class. If you or someone you know is interested in applying, please visit victech.com/fellows