1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What degree is required for a biotech startup

  1. Aug 24, 2014 #1
    I'm planning to obtain a bioengineering/bme masters degree for sure but I wasn't sure whether to pursue in a phd program afterwards if I want to startup a biotech company?
    I know it's too generic but I'm interested in biosensors,synthetic biology, and health.
    I currently have a physics/biophysics and applied math degree.

    Masters-> work in industry -> startup?or
    masters-> startup?
    masters->phd->industry ->startup?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 24, 2014 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    In order to start a company you need a viable idea. There's no degree requirement for that. But in order to develop that idea and understand what's out there you have a number of different routes... starting with those in your current list.

    I don't think there's any "best" way to go about it. A good strategy though would be to get a master's degree and look for opportunities available at the time. If nothing presents itself, go back for the PhD. If you've still got nothing when that's done, get a job in the industry you want to be in if you can.
  4. Aug 24, 2014 #3
    Business, finance, law. I have no idea why you think physics or engineering will help you get a startup running when a startup needs people who can navigate the financial and legal process.
  5. Aug 25, 2014 #4
    Maybe he thinks that knowing the actual product the company produces/generates/... is not completely irrelevant.
  6. Aug 25, 2014 #5


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor

    It's worth noting that the founders of the most successful tech companies that one can think of don't come from a business, finance or law background.

    For example, consider the following:

    (1) Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) -- a Harvard math major dropout

    (2) Bill Gates (Microsoft) -- another Harvard math major dropout

    (3) Elon Musk (PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla Motors) -- BS in physics at University of Pennsylvania, dropped out of PhD in applied physics at Stanford.

    (4) Sergey Brin & Larry Page (Google) -- CS PhD students at Stanford.

    And these are only the most famous examples. Countless tech startups are founded by people with deep technical expertises. In fact, I can't think of a single example of a lawyer founding a successful tech startup on his/her own, unless the said lawyer already has a tech background to begin with -- they may become CEO of said company after the company matures, but that's different.

    With regards to the OP, I would concur with Choppy's excellent advice.
  7. Aug 25, 2014 #6

    Andy Resnick

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    We (and others) are introducing "Entrepreneurship"-type degrees/certificates with the goal of providing STEM students this information. In my experience, biomedical engineering programs already have some of this built in to their degree (here, we call it the 'design track'), but entrepreneurship programs are typically run out of the Business college. Expect to take a few business classes and possibly a law class.

    NSF has been leading efforts as well, with something called the 'I-Corps' program:

    I have participated in this and it covers everything you are interested in.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook