26 June 2014

Synbio Business Students Win Venture Cup

Out of 400 applicants, the cross-disciplinary team behind new start-up TychoBio, has just won the Danish Championship in entrepreneurship, Venture Cup. They want to produce high-value chemicals in moss in collaboration with researchers from University of Copenhagen.

“We want to make chemicals with a green conscience. We want to manufacture high-value compounds that are used in numerous products such as medicine, artificial sweeteners, perfumes etc. These compounds will be produced in moss, which is more efficient and environmentally friendly than current production methods,” explains team member Will Wright.

The six cross-disciplinary biobusiness graduates have developed an award-winning business plan for commercialising the research of Professor Björn Hamberger from the Centre for Synthetic Biology at the University of Copenhagen.

Novo Seeds excited by TychoBio
Stephan Christgau Investment Director at Novo Seeds is proud of the team:

the price winning moss reactor

“The team behind TychoBio is a very talented group of young entrepreneurs, with complementary competencies. They are an eminent example of the value of the cross disciplinary collaboration. Their proposal is very promising and innovative. It may be an important technology for obtaining a future environmentally friendly and commercially attractive production of high value chemicals and biologic products.”

Successful cross-university program
The award-winning team has grown out of fruitful master programs at Copenhagen Business School and the Scheller College of Business at Georgia Institute of Technology in the US (TI:GER MBA) as well as the experiences of last years’ iGEM team at Center for Synthetic Biology at University of Copenhagen.
TychoBio won the overall prize at Venture Cup, worth a total of 225,000 DKK. Additionally, the team has received the Venture Cup Booster Pack, an acceleration program giving the team 250,000+ DKK worth of services and products to help the company in the first year (Booster). Apart from Venture cup, TychoBio is supported by KU Katapult and COBIS.

What’s next the prizewinning team
The ambitious team behind TychoBio is eager to move their business forward and have already planned the next steps.
“We are currently looking for additional funding and an experienced CEO in order to further develop our business. We have proof of concept for the production platform and are looking into up-scaling the production,” says Will Wright.

Momentum gained at COBIS
TychoBio finds they have really gained momentum after joining the early-stage life science incubator Cells at COBIS at University of Copenhagen and winning the Venture Cup startup competition.
“This kind of success only strengthens our drive to take the project to the next level. We now have mentors and scientific advisors and we are working side-by-side with other entrepreneurs, which is truly beneficial to our work,” says Will Wright.

Overcoming challenges
Team TychoBio has also gained valuable knowledge on turning university science into business:
“One of our main challenges was to take the project out of the “safe” university setting into the real world. You learn a lot of things from the university, but to actually test those skills in the real world was both a scary and exciting challenge” says Will Wright.

Throughout the process, they learned the value of clear communication, especially in a field as complex as life science. Will Wright explains:
“In the early phases of the project, we were too technical in our communication of our project. The result was that people didn’t understand what it was all about, and for that reason we got a lot of negative feedback in the beginning. We’ve worked a lot with our communication over the past months, and we are now at a stage where it is easier for us to communicate in an understandable way”.

For more information contact TychoBio
Marie Brøns Nørgaard: M.b.norgaard@gmail.com, +45 31141212, Skype: mariebroens
Patrick Schibsbye Melsted; Patrickmelsted@gmail.com; +45 21711788; Skype: Patrick.melsted
Will Wright; Wheretheresa3will@gmail.com, 21187021, Skype: notcwcwjustwright
Dortea Engelund Andersen; Dorteaandersen@gmail.com; 31165854; Skype: Dortea.engelund.andersen
Jessica Walling; wingsee.li@gmail.com
Billy Scully; billyscully@gmail.com

More pictures can be downloaded here ..>