Welcome to our blog series on venture capital and venture creation in the life sciences!!

What our project is

We’re five undergraduates who wanted to investigate the wonderful world of venture in the life sciences and biotech space. We’re all Biological Engineering majors in different years of our study, and while the program is amazing in academics and research preparation, we wanted to learn more about the business and commercialization sides. How can new biotech ideas be taken from conception to business? How do new medicines and technologies become created? What is it like to work in VC? How can we get there one day?

We conducted interviews with several BE alums over the spring semester of 2021 who work in a variety of VC firms and come from a variety of backgrounds. Some are MIT undergrads, some are MIT PhDs, and some are Sloan MBAs. (We will be anonymizing their names and firms!) Our efforts were generously funded by the BE department, through their Experiential Learning Opportunities program.

Our goal is to provide undergraduates, graduate students, and anyone who stumbles across this blog series with an introduction to biotech VC!

What is VC?

At a high level, when most people say VC, they mean venture creation or venture capital. In this series of blog posts, we will dive into the distinction between the two, what it means for the life sciences, and what opportunities exist in the space.

Click on these links to read more about different topics!

  1. Structure of a VC firm & The Company Creation and Investment Process
  2. Key Experiences from Current Life Science VC Professionals
  3. The Recruitment Process
  4. On the Job 

Meet the authors

Abby Lo is a sophomore at MIT majoring in Biological Engineering with an interest in computational biology as well. She is fascinated by tissue engineering, synthetic biology, and bioinformatics in drug discovery. When she’s not in the lab, you can find her out on the track running for MIT’s Varsity Track and Field team, watching heist movies, or searching for the best bakery in Boston. 

Ellie Feng is a sophomore at MIT majoring in Biological Engineering. Growing up in San Diego, CA, she became very interested in the biotech industry, especially in drug discovery and delivery. She is currently involved in iGEM, learning all about synthetic biology, and she enjoys dancing and biking around Boston in her free time.

Emily Han is a senior at MIT majoring in Biological Engineering. Her research interests are at the intersection of drug delivery, nanomedicine, and gene therapy. During the semesters she is an undergraduate researcher in the Hammond Lab working on nanoparticles for drug delivery against brain tumors. She also enjoys boba, coffee, digital art, and anime. 

Sarah Acolatse is a senior at MIT majoring in Biological Engineering, currently doing tuberculosis research at the Lauffenburger Lab. Her interests include drug delivery and bioinformatics. Outside of academics, she loves to learn languages, travel, dance and skateboard.

Sarah Syed is a sophomore at MIT majoring in Biological Engineering. Her research in the Grossman Lab focuses on studying fundamental bacterial processes to gain insight into how microorganisms evolve, communicate, and coordinate to meet their needs. In her free time, she enjoys taking walks with friends, watching Bollywood flicks, and reading as many books as she can.

We were also mentored throughout this process by the wonderful Prerna Bhargava, BE Communication Lab Manager & BE Instructor. She has helped up through every step of the process and we are eternally grateful for her help!

And of course, thank you to all the interviewees who were so helpful and kind throughout all the interviews! Though you shall remain nameless, your willingness to share your experience and advice are so, so, so appreciated. 

Further readings + resources

Here are some other readings, resources, and opportunities we’ve stumbled upon and been recommended by our interviewees!

Readings + resources

  1. lifescivc.com   
  2. pillar.vc/playlist/
  3. racap.com/courses

Opportunities + advice

  1. Paid or unpaid internships at venture firms (undergrad or grad), find them on the firms’ websites or through mailing lists run by organizations like MIT Biotech Group
  2. Advertised fellowships at venture firms, e.g. Flagship (mostly grad or postdoc)
  3. Strategy/management consulting at firms like Bain (undergrad or grad)
  4. Doing an internship for credit while enrolled in school (grad)
  5. Taking business classes (undergrad or grad)
  6. Join relevant student groups like the MIT Biotech Group and MIT Capital Partners
  7. Attend relevant seminars 
  8. Participate in research
  9. Don’t worry too much and have fun :^)

If you have any comments or questions, please email us at beclcomments@mit.edu! Otherwise, happy reading 🙂

Blog post by Emily Han, Abby Lo, Ellie Feng, Sarah Acolatse, and Sarah Syed. 

Published Sept 2021.