Yale hosts start-up boot camp

The Yale Office of Cooperative Research and the law firm Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati hosted a “Start-Up Boot Camp” for aspiring life science and technology entrepreneurs Tuesday afternoon at the Hope Memorial Building.

Brian Beard and Matthew Langer GRD ’87, partners at Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati, spoke to an audience of about 50 students, professors and entrepreneurs from around the state.

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Eva Galvan
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“We have the great fortune of working with the brightest minds around,” Langer said. “The issue is that we have these brilliant inventions that might save the world, but their inventors might not have the business savvy — and they certainly don’t have the resources — to do it alone.”

For four hours, Beard and Langer led the audience through the process of starting a company. Langer said it was very difficult to start a company with just one person. In addition to a great idea, one needed investors and legal advisors, he added.

Even in the wake of the recession, Beard and Langer said that starting a company is not impossible.

“Money is tough right now but people are getting funded,” Beard said. “The money is out there but you just have to make sure that you’ve thought [everything] through.”

Beard and Langer said they hoped their presentation would inspire potential entrepreneurs not to compromise on their vision for their ventures.

Hartford resident David Giles, 50, who said he wanted to start a medical services company to help obese people, attended the talk after seeing the event listed in the Yale Bulletin. While Giles found the talk only somewhat helpful, Giles said, he was struck by how Beard and Langer insisted on the importance of never settling for less when starting a company.

Bill Wiesler, the director of new ventures at the Office of Cooperative Research, said the event had brought many people together who would not have otherwise met.

Wiesler added that after hearing Beard and Langer’s advice, people will be encouraged to be entrepreneurial.

The Office of Cooperative Research, which licences and spins off Yale research into viable companies, generates $10 to $20 million in revenue for the University each year.

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