A challenge that anyone working to bring new technology, therapies, or approaches from proof of concept to clinic implementation is funding. I have been tracking the concept of crowd funding for a number of years, but have not seen many platforms that offer the opportunity to raise funding to a degree that will really make a difference.
So, I was enthusiastic when I met Pilar Puig Sàrries and learned about the work she is doing at Capital Cell, a crowdfunding platform specializing in the life sciences. She is the head the BioExpert Network and life sciences analytics at Capital Cell and passionate about her work to help startups in the life sciences bridge the translational gap.
How did you start doing what you are doing now?
During my PhD in molecular biology I felt uncertain about becoming a Spanish researcher because in Spain every 1-3 years you need to apply for further support for your research which means no stability.
So, during my PhD I began my first startup. It was an online/offline game for couples. I was able to sell 1.000 games after closing a successful crowdfunding campaign, which in my mind was pretty successful. But I also had to write my thesis and I also had a big interest in travel.
After my PhD I took a 9 month trip to South America and those 9 months were the happiest time of my life. When I came back, I knew that I didn’t want to keep doing research, so it seemed ideal to do something related to science, but also related to entrepreneurship. I was fortunate to find an opportunity at Capital Cell as a life science analyst.
What do you do at Capital Cell?
Capital cell is a start-up which means anyone working there has many roles. My job title is life science analyst, but I also do business development for clients such as helping them with their business models and building their pitch. We also help them look for investors as well. I also produce content for the website. Last year with the CEO of Capital Cell we created the BioExpert Network which is a network of experts who help us evaluate and select companies to be included in our crowdfunding platform.
Can you explain a bit about the philosophy behind Capital Cell and how it works?
Capital Cell is the first equity crowdfunding specialized in life sciences in Europe. And since last September, we are also operating in the UK.
We help companies in the life science sector get funded. Most of them are in the ‘valley of death’, which is also called the translational gap. They may have proof of concept, but need capital to continue to get scientific validation. We are now working with some companies that are further along, but still need to have some more funding before approaching VCs.
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