Entrepreneurship has always being an interest to me. This 2 days intensive bootcamp gives me the opportunity to understand more about entrepreneurship and how to be an entrepreneur. I think, research should not be just research. If there is a good idea/product that will benefits the society, and it can be commercialize, then why not?
This bootcamp was organized by Dr Chris Behrenbruch. Dr Chris is a professional fellow in the Faculty of IT and Engineering at Monash University. He is also a serial entrepreneur committed to the development and commercialization of biotechnology, healthcare IT and medical devices. He has a track-record of doing crazy things with new ideas, start-ups and pretty much anything “tech”.
On day 1, the bootcamp starts with an introduction to entrepreneurship, where Dr Chris speaks about his career starting from his bachelor degree as an Electrical Engineer at Monash, his PhD, MBA, and a series of startups. He mentioned that countries with low taxes such as Singapore, is a good place to start a company, and explains about tax averaging across different countries. He also talked about risks involved and the importance of soft skills in entrepreneurship. Later, Ms Jenny Petering from FB Rice came to talk to us about patents and IP rights. FB Rice is a Patent and Trademark attorney. She stressed the importance of working with a patent attorney, as they help you draft proper documents for patent application. Her talk mainly focused on Patents, where she explained patent in details, benefits of patent, patenting process (a very long process), patentability, what can be published and patent strategies. She also explained about trademarks, which is used for differentiating you from your competitors.
Dr Chris then continues to talk about ways to finance a startup. There are many ways to finance a startup. When you are just starting up, you might get grants from friends and family. When your business is getting better, Angels, Seed Capital and Venture Capital starts to invest in your company. Lastly, when you are really successful, your company can be listed so that public can invest in your business. Then he gave some examples of startup that he was involved in, Mirada medical and Fibron Technologies. He also warn us about the cornerstone lesson in entrepreneurship, known as the pizza boy effect, where “successful” entrepreneurs earned the same wage as a pizza delivery boy. So, before starting an entrepreneur career, you have to be sure that it is worthwhile as there is always a price to pay.
Later in the afternoon, we have Dr Alastair Hick from Monash Innovation to talk about how we can commercialize our ideas through Monash. He gave a few examples of Monash Spin Outs, such as Syngene, Circadian, AquaHydrex, 4Dx, and Amaero Engineering. Basically, if we commercialize our ideas through Monash, there are Monash policies that we need to follow. The main one will be the revenue split of 1/3 among investor, faculty and university. After the talk, we have Mr Michael Bettess from Brandon Capital to talk about Venture Capital (VC) in Australia. Brandon Capital is well-known Venture Capital in Australia. He repeats the structure of a venture capital in more details, and talk about the current situation of VC in Australia. He also talked about the investment process and and criteria for VC to invest in your idea. It must be technical, has large market potential, good track records, IP, and has 4-10x of commercial returns.
Day 2 starts with a talk by Jonathan Barlow from Kinetic Venture on starting a company. He talked about entrepreneurial mistakes, gave us some ideas on the different types of companies, key elements of a company and simply way to set up a company. He also mentioned some points that turns investors off. Later, Dr Chris gave us a MBA crash course that introduced the basics of finance. We had some exercises on understanding financial statements, learnt about financial regulations, and ways people launder money using financial statements. The last session was a talk by Jordan Thurgood who shared about his experience in startup as a PhD student at Monash University. He started the company 4DX that shows the real time lung structure in 3D adn is currently a Commercialization Associate at Monash.
That’s it for the bootcamp. Overall, the whole bootcamp was fun and knowledgeable. The most important part of this bootcamp is the networking session where you get to meet like-minded people who has similar background and wanted to be entrepreneurs. I hope that there will be other bootcamps like this in the future.
Time: 2 days