Biomedical Engineering Reference
draft business plan (that is to be completed only through an analysis carried out
by experts in the field and preferably not by the holders of the know-how, who
are often positively biased).
• an industrial partner , whether or not participating in the shareholder structure,
with the function to exit the limbo of the laboratory prototype and start the port-
ing to the industrialization of the know-how of research;
• a business partner , in this case preferably to be committed and therefore being
part of the company shareholders; it has the knowledge and ability to penetrate
the market, with expertise in that specific area, it is well-structured and it has a
very different experience from that of academic researchers;
• human resources that are integrated and complementary in terms of human and
professional skills; thanks to the balance of their own (technical, production,
commercial, organizational and management) abilities and specificity, they can
develop a consistent business plan; everyone must be aware of the importance
to take care of and be responsible for what they do and nobody must expect to
invade or steal the roles of others (technicians must do technical jobs, sales staff
must do the selling, managers must organize and manage,…);
• financial resources , which are used for the completion of the development
phase, the phase of industrialization of the product/service, and its introduction
on the market.
This list should not and does not intend to be a default 5-rule mandatory list, but,
with the individual and appropriate customization to be assessed case by case, it is
believed that this “basic recipe” can determine the success of the business project.
Another important variable to be considered in the creation and management of
a spin-off is time . Many industrial aspects are related to this parameter, so simple
yet so critical:
• The time - to - market . The know-how or patent cannot and must not remain too
long a prototype but it has to be industrialized, go out and face the market,
sometimes the first who arrives in the market takes a significant competitive
advantage, sometimes it also induces the need in the market and thereby deter-
mines the success of the initiative;
• The hurry . Notwithstanding the foregoing, it is also important not to be too
much ahead of one's time: if a product is not mature and ready but is marketed
anyway, a very possible risk is that it can create frustration and negative feed-
back; thus, even if the product is very promising, it can destroy the opportunity.
Also the hurry to disclose a new product too early with respect to its availability
on the market is a factor that may be critically negative.
• The patience . A common and popular saying states that to build a solid and
mature company (and product) it takes at least three years. This means that the
target time perspectives (and the expectation to have a positive economic return)
cannot be in the immediate period, but must be reasonably placed in a time
scale from medium to long term.
These considerations represent the synthesis of a set of lessons-learned during
the spin-off actions at the Politecnico di Milano.