ECE Seminar: From a startup to an exit and back at it again
In this talk, I will cover the entire life cycle of a startup from spin off to exit and share lessons learnt along the way. The idea originated with a DARPA-funded graduate research project at Duke. With additional post doctoral research, some ideas were turned into preliminary commercializable demonstrations which helped secure SBIR funding. This was then leveraged to procure angel investment to launch Advanced Liquid Logic. We eventually hired a CEO, raised several rounds of angel financing, raised significant non-dilutive R&D funding, built the company to 85 people, filed over 500 patent applications, acquired two companies, established a research subsidiary in France, out-licensed technology through commercial partnerships with public companies, released two products, hired a Wall St. investment bank, ran a process, and sold Advanced Liquid Logic to Illumina for about $100M. This provided great returns for the investors and employees. This technology is embedded in clinical diagnostic products and is helping diagnose diseases and save lives. Right after the exit, another company, Baebies Inc, was founded with a mission to ensure a healthy start to every baby. Baebies has now grown to over 90 employees with an FDA-cleared product on the market that is already saving newborns from disease, disability, and death. I will share our lessons learnt so it may help anyone contemplating commercializing their research.