Moneycontrol
Jun 27, 2017 01:23 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

1001 Startup Ideas - Platform to Connect Young Scientists with Corporate Sponsors

This week's 1001 startup idea is to develop a platform where young scientists and researchers who are working on some specific research can find and connect with the industry players who are interested in the field of work and would want to collaborate and sponsor the researcher for the project.

1001 Startup Ideas - Platform to Connect Young Scientists with Corporate Sponsors

What is the idea?

This week's 1001 startup idea is to develop a platform where young scientists and researchers who are working on some specific research can find and connect with the industry players who are interested in the field of work and would want to collaborate and sponsor the researcher for the project. The platform will empower the young talents with the right resources from around the world, and at the same time provide access to great talents to the corporates who possibly provide them with much-awaited innovation at only a small fraction of their usual costs.

Market Size

It is well understood that establishing a global research and development model is the basic requirement for success for a large corporation in today's competitive world. Based Strategy&'s 2015 Global Innovation 1000 study, an overwhelming 94% of the world's top R&D spenders currently conduct elements of their R&D programs abroad. It shows that companies are already focused on getting fresh ideas and innovation and reaching out beyond their geographies.

According to a UNESCO Science Report, global gross expenditure on research and development (GERD) totaled 1.48 trillion PPP (purchasing power parity) dollars in 2013. World GERD grew faster than the global economy, i.e. 30.5% against 20.1% between 2007 and 2013. This was largely because the private sector in wealthier countries maintained or increased its level of spending on R&D over this period, even though the public commitment to r&D declined in many of these countries in the context of austerity budgets.

Top five countries for R&D expenditure are (in current PPP$) are the USA ($454 billion), China ($337 billion), Japan ($160 billion), Germany ($101 billion) and the Republic of Korea ($69 billion).

Competitor Analysis

Even though we could not find any direct competitor for the startup for showcasing the research scope and researcher profile, there are a few crowdfunding platforms which kind of lies in the similar segment.

New York-based, Experiment is an online community and a crowdfunding platform for scientific research. It provides crowdfunding services for scientific research related to categories such as biology, chemistry, computer science, medicine, anthropology, psychology, engineering and more. Another is California-based, Consano which provides nonprofit crowdfunding platform that enables its users to make donations for medical research projects.

Pain Point & Target Audience

The target audience for the startup is individual researchers and research groups at educational institutions or research organizations who need access to support and funding to run the research work. The startup also targets the corporates who are looking to invest in Research and Development activity either for improving their product/service line or as a part of CSR initiative.

The researchers often find themselves struggling with the budgeting for their projects, leading to taking shortcuts, making hypothesis without strong validations. Researchers at Ivy League institutions still have wider visibility and access to funds, but the situation becomes very gloomy when we talk about not so well known educational institutions in developing or under developed countries.

At the same time, corporates and multinational companies are spending a lot of money in setting up their R&D facilities and teams, and they are continuously looking for great minds who are competent to bring innovation in their sector. Corporates ultimately end up collaborating at the institute level for their innovation with only visibility to the actual work happening inside the labs.

Value Proposition

The platform will provide a common ground to all the researchers to showcase their research work and profiles to the corporates and multinational companies. This will empower research groups in the developing and under-developed countries to rise up and connect with the support and funding partners from around the world.

The MNCs and corporates will get better visibility on the research activities happening around the world and can pick and support the ones which align with their business innovation goals and corporate responsibilities. The direct connection with the researchers will also help sponsors avoid overhead costs which incur while going through the education institute routes, which is at times 50%-60% of the total funding, and the money will directly reach to the cause.

Business Model

The startup will work on the marketplace model connecting researchers with the corporate and MNCs. Any researcher can put his research proposal and outcomes on the platform which will be further reviewed by the team of experts before making it available on the platform for corporates and MNCs.

The startup doesn't need to employ the in-house experts but can outsource the due diligence to established industry-specific scientists and do a revenue share with them. For every successful research sponsorship through the platform, the startup should charge a certain success fee from the funding/sponsorship amount.

Way to market

Post the platform development; the startup should focus on aggregating and listing researchers for putting their projects, industry experts or scientists for due diligence, and MNCs firms which run on the core philosophy of innovation.

For aggregating researchers, the startup should start with the developing countries which are considered to be leading in scientific research, like India, China & Taiwan.

Milestones

The startup should target to complete the platform development and testing in 1-2 months. In Parallel, it should focus on aggregating more than 2000 quality research projects over next six months. The startup should try to cover some of the leading industries, like healthcare, artificial intelligence, big data, green tech, etc. and it will further help to attract the industry partners. The startup should target for achieving at least 500 project sponsorship over 12 – 18 months.

Investment Needed For Prototype

The startup should go for raising up to $300k for product development, marketing and due diligence of the research projects and profile. The startup can approach fintech or pure science based accelerators for access to funding and network.

Team Capability

Since the startup will mostly work around researchers and scientists, it makes sense to have team members from research backgrounds from across different fields of expertise. It will help them to get access to as many educational institutions, and also collate a group of industry experts for project due diligence.

Investors / Expert Take

The startup model lies at the intersection of fintech, as it is closer to crowdfunding or investment, and pure sciences, as it will support scientific research and innovations. While fintech has already been the hottest segment of the VC community, pure sciences are on the rise, and we are seeing some of the big companies like Google putting billion of dollars supporting the startups in this segment. In case you are looking at scaling or launching this venture, you can apply for our virtual acceleration program Excelrate on the Yostartups.com website; it will help you in streamlining and structuring your startup idea. We have limited scholarships and discount packs for deserving startups, depending on the strength of your application, you may qualify for a discount.
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