Sir Chris Evans, founding father of UK biotech, shares his top startup tips

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Sir Chris Evans’ range of BioMedTech companies, dating back 25 years, have created around 40 millionaires from the humblest of roots. Cambridge Elevator speaks to Sir Chris Evans in a short article on getting top tips for business startups

Sir Chris Evans, founding father of UK biotech, shares his top start-up tips.

Sir Chris Evans’ range of BioMedTech companies, dating back 25 years, have created around 40 millionaires from the humblest of roots. A scientist with Genzyme in the US in the ’80s he saw what the Americans were doing to commercialise biotechnology and came back to the UK to form his own bioscience business. But the VCs had vanished in the crash of 1987 and Chris was left with a huge business plan, mega-ambition and precious few investors to talk to.

Given his big break by British Sugar’s R & D director, Malcolm Desforges, who read the plan and invested £1.3m, the Evans empire was on its way. He continued to be shunned when the VCs reappeared so went into the City to raise cash himself and became a successful VC in his own right, first with Merlin and then with Excalibur, which funds medical innovation all over the world. He has advised successive Governments.

The biggest challenge he faced in starting his first major venture was “securing sufficient monies to get our labs and people employed on the very projects that our business plan showed we could make a lot of money from.

“I definitely explained all of my ideas in a clear and colourful baby language I had devised. But, as was the case in 1987 and still is in 2011, investors don't always understand all the bits that make up the pie!”

“The top priority for any start up,” he says “is to assemble and put on display (even as unpaid, unhired people) the very best management team conceivably possible in their area. Then you need a bit of cash from family and friends to tide you over when you go out presenting.

“Ensure your Plan is top class and your slides crisp and compelling. First go see a couple of high net worth Angels as they may answer your call and help. Then go see nasty VCs when your Team+ Plan+Presentation+Angels are in place as you just might impress the big money boys enough to get them on the pitch. Then welcome to the rest of your life as you never dreamt it!”

This article is featured on CambridgeElevator.com – the ultimate social network for start-ups, connecting budding entrepreneurs with investors, mentors and serial entrepreneurs. The network offers free membership.

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