Maximizing Non-Equity Funding: Insight from Biotech Executive

"Biotech Executive Insight"

Startups often miss non-equity funding sources in their search for external financing. Experienced biotech executive, Richard Giersch, offers advice on tapping into small business grants. His insight could revolutionize the way startups approach funding.

Giersch has successfully secured over $25 million in SBIR/STTR (Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer) grants. He stands by the importance of a thoughtful idea, primary data, and industry experience in obtaining these grants.

The commercial viability of a business concept is key in the evaluation process for SBIR and STTR grants. These grants have greatly supported Washington state’s business sector, contributing over $1.6 billion to 4,577 firms, including noteworthy startups like Histone Therapeutics, Phase Genomics, and Talus Biosciences.

Key contributors to the SBIR/STTR grant pool in Washington state are the U.S. National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Department of Energy. Phase I NIH grants typically provide $307,000 for concept validation and feasibility studies. Phase II grants can fund up to $2.05 million for more extensive projects.

Giersch emphasizes that a startup doesn’t necessarily require a functional lab, an office, or full-time staff to be eligible for a grant. The SBIR and STTR programs lean towards first-time applicants and those with social disadvantages. Businesses predominately owned by women are also highly encouraged to apply.

Furthermore, Giersch indicates that grants are not exclusive to the U.S. Israeli and European foundations also offer grants to American affiliated businesses and learning institutions. He suggests starting the grant proposal process 10 weeks in advance and completing all federal small business registration requirements before drafting the application.

According to Giersch, it’s important to meticulously proofread the entire proposal before sending it out. He also recommends a concise executive summary accompanied by a detailed project budget. Finally, he emphasizes the importance of consistent follow-ups and maintaining open lines of communication throughout the entire process.