LAB+ VENTURE BUILDER: Developing Scientific – Technological Startups

Lab + Venture Builder is the name for the initiative promoted by the Institut Pasteur de Montevideo with the financial contribution and know-how of a venture capital fund led by Ficus Advisory.

A “Venture Builder” is an internationally recognized type of structure, similar to a business accelerator, whose objective is to transform high-potential research projects into companies, in exchange for participation in the succeeding business, offering know-how, management support and infrastructure to help the company realize, grow and reach a place in the global market more quickly.

Although the traditional form of wealth generation in Uruguay has been the production of commodities, in the coming decades access to markets will be strongly conditioned by the differentiation of the products to be offered. For this reason, IP Montevideo understands that Uruguay must travel the path towards a knowledge society to export inventions and knowledge.

IP Montevideo has a special interest in the contribution that the scientific community can make, and underlines the need to enhance the capacities of this community to apply scientific and technological knowledge to contribute in the enforcement of national economic wealth. This is one of the main paths that Uruguay can travel to successfully insert itself into the world of the 21st century.

Lab+ will particularly focus on the knowledge of the life sciences and its associated technologies, with a remarkable goal in the promotion of “One health”. Life Sciences is a very broad area of research with the highest critical mass in the country, whit numerous research groups being internationally recognized for the quality of their work. Precisely, the concept of “One health” requires of multiple disciplines that are coupled together to achieve a better health for both people, animals and the environment.

Lab+ will pursue startups based on disruptive scientific knowledge that can be intellectually protected at an international level. The companies also look from their conception to develop products for the global market being attractive to local, regional and international investors.

The process in Lab+ will go beyond the concept of an accelerator, starting from the active search for scientific ideas with potential for application to support researchers in the identification of strategies and markets for the valorization of their knowledge through a business model. The venture builder will assist the startups in intellectual property protection, financing and scientific infrastructure for their initial development. Essentially, it will attend the evolution of the company both from a scientific‑technological and business point of view, providing administrative and management support.

Based on the IP Montevideo trajectory, the institute act as a leader to design and assay a strategy adding value to the scientific and technological knowledge, with the aim that if succeed could eventually be replicated by other national institutions. This project was born with a broad conception that will open opportunities to scientist and entrepreneurs from the entire national, regional and international scientific community.

The initiative will be exclusively financed with private investment coming from risk capital funds structured by Ficus Advisory of no less than US$ 35 million to be executed in eight years. Also, it will seek that investors are not only willing to contribute capital, but also help researchers to transform their inventions into real business opportunities into the global adding great value to their discoveries.

Finally, for IP Montevideo, Lab+ is above all a pilot project, which wants to demonstrate that Uruguay can transform itself into a country with an economy based on the generation and valorization of the knowledge produced by its scientists.

Press conference in Spanish