Guest Blog – My Placement at Unit DX

This guest blog was written by Phoebe Lambourne, who recently finished a placement with us, learning more about the world of deep tech start-ups and investment.

Prior to entering my third year at University College London, where I am studying Biochemistry, I had the opportunity to gain some valuable work experience with Unit DX. The plan was to be at Unit DX in Bristol and get to meet the team, but due to COVID-19 restrictions this was not initially possible. Fortunately, thanks to Charlie Proctor (Unit DX’s COO), we found a way to do most of it remotely.

Working with a deep tech incubator gave the opportunity to integrate my love for science and biotech with business skills and innovation. I was confident I wanted to pursue a career in biotech, but felt wary about the prospect of going into the research industry. Prior to working with Unit DX I hadn’t been exposed to career paths within this industry that operated from outside of a lab environment, so this was an exciting discovery. During my experience, I learnt how scientific start-ups build their companies to successful levels, and the role of incubators in the growth of new products and technologies, beyond R+D.

Unit DX inspire the next generation of scientists by providing school trips to the labs for students eager to learn more, and by visiting schools as part of the outreach program. Since this hasn’t been possible during COVID-19, Unit DX outreach made alternative plans by sending out weekly newsletters and lesson plans for children to learn at home. This was a role I took over for some of my time at Unit DX, and I found this especially rewarding because I understand the importance of keeping children inspired by science while they are not able to learn interactively at school. Writing articles and lessons also taught me to cater scientific information to suit a target audience which was applicable to varying age groups and levels of education.

I also sat in on various meetings on recruitment, diversity and how to use social media professionally. Harry Destecroix, Unit DX’s CEO, also gave insight into the fundamentals of investment funds, accelerator programs and the business of biotech and deep tech companies.

As my final remote project, I conducted a report on some of the world’s top science accelerator programs to find out what makes them stand out, and what Unit DX could learn from them. Following this, I created a list of actions to take and a ‘boilerplate’ for the company. One of the actions I suggested was a promotional video for the website, which I created a brief storyboard and script for.

Following my remote placement, I also did a week in person with the Ventures team at Unit DX. During this week, I learned about the due diligence process for deep tech companies seeking investment. I learned about the importance of IP, the team, market reports of competitor technologies, business development strategy, regulatory strategy, manufacturing, legalities, and finances of companies in making an investment decision. I also learnt how a venture capitalist may pitch to an investor and carried out some research on potential syndication partners for the team.

Throughout my experience, I gained a huge insight into scientific innovation and emerging technologies within the biotech industry, as well as the business and investment side of building a scientific start-up. I loved working with the Unit DX and the Ventures team, who were both very engaging throughout. Learning from various people throughout the company, as well as giving back to the community through the outreach program, was a learning opportunity that will contribute significantly to my future as a scientist.

By | 2020-10-08T11:06:11+01:00 October 8th, 2020|News|