I am in the process of starting a biotech. I have determined that a year is enough time to gather results promising enough to merit much greater investment- or failing, serious reconsideration or abandonment. Nonetheless, I am pretty confident in my proposed technology, and am currently drafting and filing a provisional before looking for initial investment.
The 1 year plan would include salary for myself and one other scientist. Combined lets say 130k/year. My equipment needs are rather modest, I've specced out some used lab equipment, and conservatively I could get away with 15-20k. Consumables are harder to estimate so I'll say 10-30k. I'll also need lab space, but I haven't started looking yet, so this is the biggest unknown to me at the moment. Anyone have any rough ideas on how much this might run (think coastal city)? Combining equipment sharing privileges in a sub-lease might also be a possibility, if anyone has experience with that?
Overall, if leasing a lab-space costs 60k a year (like I said, I have no idea) I'm already in the 200k+ range for the first year. Initially I was thinking of applying for an SBIR, but the upper award range is listed as 150k for phase I (phase II would be up to 1M). Does anyone have experience with SBIRs, or more importantly, experience in asking for more than the stated amounts in phase I?
Are there other, similar, funding sources that don't lay claims against a corp's equity? Eventually, if all goes well, I plan on looking for angel or VC investment, but preferentially only after getting SBIR (or SBIR like) funding, and after getting some initial results. Both would place me in a stronger bargaining position. There is also a humanitarian angle to the technology, so going to someplace like the Gate's foundation isn't crazy, but I've heard that includes a lot of potential red-tape hassle. Is this true?
Of course, any other suggestions unrelated to appropriate funding sources or strategies are greatly appreciated.