Louise Daw, Strategy and Innovation Adviser at Hexagon Mining, shares tips from her journey about raising revenue without diluting your company.

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Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

The path to taking your business idea to generating revenue doesn’t have to be a long journey. In fact it should be as short as possible. Before starting my own business I sought advice from people who had been there and done that and the key takeaway was don’t dilute. Just don’t do it.

It left me thinking how can you possibly build a product and take it to market without raising capital because ultimately that’s what you need to generate revenue….or is it?

  1. You are the capital: You have started a business, that means you have an idea, you are self-motivated and you are looking at how to solve the problems your industry faces as opposed to just working around them. That knowledge is worth something, so in the early days use it to generate revenue. My co-founder and I generated revenue from day one by using our industry knowledge to consult to businesses who would ultimately become our first clients. This revenue allowed us to fund product development. The model also opened doors to potential clients all over the world as we built our reputation as thought leaders in the industry. …

Jennifer Barnes is a strong business professional who learned the hard way that you can’t succeed until you fail. Here, she shares some of her key reflections about her experience failing.

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Photo by Sudan Ouyang on Unsplash

My first start-up experience included an externally tested and solid market plan, innovation awards, and an investor that wanted to give us millions. I should have felt amazing, but I was uneasy. Something in the product development wasn’t feeling right to me. Although a scientist by training, as the CEO, my role was not to be the technical expert.

I was torn — it would be easy to accept the results the team was providing, take the investment and keep going. We were on the roller coaster of start-ups and technical progress was slow but positive, interest was still high, and we were climbing to the top of the hill. …


Lee Jones, the University of Minnesota’s Entrepreneur of the Year, shares tips for creating and setting a strong company culture.

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Photo by Steijn Leijzer on Unsplash

It has been a wild few months as I have found myself leading my company through the maze created as a result of COVID-19 and now navigating the complex realities of our city in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by the police. Rebiotix is located in Minnesota just north of the Twin Cities. It was wild before that too; with having finished enrollment in our pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial, striving towards being the first company in the world to have an FDA approved therapy based on the human microbiome, and experiencing phenomenal growth in the number of employees, while running out of space to seat them. …


Mette Dyhrberg, an economist turned diagnostician, shares tips from her journey.

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Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

In these recent quarantine times there’s nothing we’ve become more accustomed to than waiting and uncertainty. Not only do we (im)patiently wait, but we do so without knowing for how long. This is not so different for entrepreneurs. We often have to wait for the market to catch up with our transformational product or service. There’s an old joke that it takes a long time to become an overnight sensation. It often takes time for novel ideas to gain wide acceptance, dispel old paradigms, and filter down into actual practice. …


Stephanie Hsieh, began her career as an IP attorney helping a wide range of clients to find and negotiate their ‘happily ever afters,’ and now does the same for her company, Meditope. In this article, she shares some tips on how to avoid getting eaten by a wolf or stuck with a frog.

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Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

Licensing intellectual property can provide core revenue to your business. Everyone dreams of the fairytale deal … the brand name “Prince Charming” to fund your “happily ever after”! However, to truly maximize your IP’s value, it’s important to view any partnership as a long-term relationship. Don’t underestimate the challenges of finding the right partners and structuring a healthy marriage … I mean deal!

  • “Prince Charming” doesn’t grow on trees! Have patience when searching for ‘eligible’ partners. Beyond brand names and deep pockets, make sure you’re truly compatible: Do they understand your business? Do they have the experience and reputation to help you advance? Do they share the same values? Is there mutuality? Diving in too quickly without really knowing your partner, at best, will waste time and, at worst, cause irreparable damage to your business. It’s easy (I know, I’ve done it!) to be lured by a sexy upfront payment, especially when you need the cash. Many times, my ‘Prince Charming’ ended up being a wolf in disguise. Thinking they could distract me with upfront cash, partners have made overreaching “land grabs” for IP; sometimes claiming ownership of all future IP or demanding exclusive rights — rights that I might need in the future or that other partners might want … and give more value for. Don’t forget, you need to be their “Prince Charming” too! …

Rebecca Owens, an entrepreneur with a love of ice cream, shares how to manage stress by comparing it to its opposite — dessert!

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Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

As a former collegiate swimmer, successful salesperson, entrepreneur, mother of 5, wife turned ex-wife, daughter, sister, friend, business partner, life partner…I always expected myself to be the best. However that can frequently result in feeling stressed. What’s the opposite of stressed? Desserts. As an ice cream lover, here are my tips for working through that stress by considering the much more favorable image of a giant bowl of ice cream with a cherry on top.

  1. Balance. Being an entrepreneur, a mother, or any other title you claim can be as rewarding as that big bowl of ice cream, but it can also be as stressful as trying to lose the 20 pounds associated with consuming too much. Similarly, serving in that role can be thrilling, and you may seek more and devote yourself even further, which can, unfortunately, result in consequences. Personally, I felt as if I never “had enough”, never “did enough”, and quite simply “wasn’t enough”. So I filled my plate — or bowl, in this case — full of everything and anything just to prove to myself, and others, that I could be everything to everyone at all times. If that isn’t a recipe for desserts spelled backwards, well then it is a mud pie with a pig wallowing in it. Those are not realistic expectations of ones’ self. Like anything, moderation is key. Recognizing the balance of knowing when there’s too much ice cream in your bowl is equally important as knowing when you’re taking on too much, even if it means pushing past those doubts in your mind. …


Jennifer Baird, a serial venture and angel-backed CEO, shares tips for leading and working with a Board of Directors.

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Photo by Benjamin Child on Unsplash

In three of the startups I led as CEO, I had active, engaged Boards of Directors that helped guide the development of my companies. My Board members included co-founders, angel investors, venture capitalists, and independent investors.

Working well with your Board of Directors is a critical skill for the CEO. I would like to share three insights that reflect my experiences working with Boards of Directors of early-stage, venture-backed companies.

  1. Lead your Board. I remember the advice that one of my Board members gave me when I was just starting. I thought a Board of Directors was something like a boss. I felt that I should present the problems of the company to the Board and expect answers. My mentor-Board member said I had it backward. He explained that the Board expected me, as CEO, to lead them. He said it was my job to have thought about the big questions facing the company, to carefully consider what good options we might have, and to have a recommended path forward. I should not expect them to solve my problems for me. It was not that I had to have every answer. It is ok to say let me think about that and get back to you. In general, however, I should be out ahead, leading my Board, proposing a well-developed plan, and gathering feedback on it, not just laying a problem at their feet. …


“I grew up in the shoes they told me I could fill/ Shoes that were not made for running up that hill/ And I need to run up that hill, I need to run up that hill/ I will, I will, I will, I will, I will/ Fetch the bolt cutters, I’ve been in here too long/ Fetch the bolt cutters, whatever happens, whatever happens” -Fiona Apple. Lyrics to “Fetch the Bolt Cutters,” 2020

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Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

So, here is what happened. I received an email asking me if I would be willing to provide some expert opinion on something related to my work…and the best part, they wanted to pay for my thoughts! So, you probably would have expected me to be extremely flattered, honored and reply right away.

That is not what happened. I closed the email. I ignored it.

Instead, I convinced myself that they must have been mistaken. What opinions of value could I possibly provide? I found myself quickly filled with self-doubt, anxiety and self-consciousness. All the old insecurities came rushing back.

And then, I heard this lyric “…fetch the bolt cutters, I’ve been in here too long…” I am not trying to sound cliché but this song came into my life at the exact right time. …


Springboard Enterprises highlights the opportunities for investment in Women’s Health Innovation.

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“Researchers have found sex differences in every tissue and organ system in the human body.” Caroline Criado Perez, author of “Invisible Women”

In May of 2020, Springboard Enterprises launched the Women’s Health Innovation Coalition to drive innovation, investment, and research for women’s health solutions. These solutions address diseases and conditions that either solely, predominantly, or differently impact women. These main areas are what we call the Framework of Women’s Health, and include: Autoimmune, Oncology, Bone Health, Gynecological & Reproductive Health, Sexual Health, Heart Disease, and Cognitive and Brain Health.

In an effort to drive conversation forward about these issues, we held a series of four roundtables to advance opportunities in the sector, spark market interest in investing in research and solutions, and showcase products and services that address unmet needs, each focusing on a different area of the framework. We convened several roundtable discussions, sponsored by Davis Wright Tremaine — Project W, with entrepreneurs, advocates, practitioners, corporate executives, and investors to explore topics within each of the categories of the Framework. Here are some of the key takeaways from each of the discussions. …


Carol Nacy, a scientist with over 160 published papers, shares her best tips for strong writing.

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Photo by J. Kelly Brito on Unsplash

When asked recently what book had the most profound impact on me professionally, one that I use routinely in my work, it was no contest: The Elements of Style, by W. Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White.

Everybody who uses this book, from reporters to editors to scientists, just calls it ‘Strunk&White.’ Mr. White wrote the introduction for this compact and comprehensive book on grammar and sentence construction. He shared that it was Will Strunk’s “attempt to cut the vast tangle of English rhetoric down to size and write its rules and principles on the head of a pin.” It is a guide to writing clearly and concisely, traits that have been invaluable throughout my life as a scientist, science manager, and company executive. …

About

Springboard Enterprises

A network of influencers, investors & innovators dedicated to building high-growth women-led companies transforming technology & life science.

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