ELIAS Animal Health is launching a blog series that shares our story. More than that, it will hopefully serve as a guide for entrepreneurs who want to turn a great idea into a thriving company. Our founder, Tammie Wahaus, shares her thoughts, insights and advice in this series.
While working as the CFO of a human health company, I was pursuing an idea that led to the founding of ELIAS: apply the immunotherapy technology we were developing for humans as a cutting-edge cancer treatment for dogs. My goals were to advance human health by bringing safe, effective products to the veterinary market that improved the quality of life for veterinary cancer patients at a price that was competitive in the animal health marketplace.
Three Proof Points
While ideas are often the catalyst for launching a company, they don’t grow a company. In life sciences, you must prove three things to be successful:
- Does it work?
- Is it safe?
- Can you make it at a price that is both affordable for customers and profitable for investors?
Research and More Research
You might have a great idea but it must be solving a problem that no one else has solved, and your solution has to be scalable. This is true in all industries. How do you determine whether your idea meets the criteria? Conduct research. LOTS of research! That’s the starting point.
The next step is to write a business plan that clearly conveys the research and how it relates to the three proof points. Your plan will make or break your opportunities. Once I had a really solid plan created, I reached out to a well-established angel investor who reviewed it and decided it was worthwhile to pursue.
Next came the hard part – raising the capital to execute the plan. It’s definitely a test of resiliency. Ninety-nine out of 100 investors will tell you no. Fear of rejection cannot co-exist with fundraising! Stay true to your plan, believe that what you’re building is relevant, and the money will come.
The capital we raised not only demonstrated that others believed our idea was worthwhile, it became the means through which we executed that plan. Next week, I’ll talk about building the team that brings the plan to fruition.