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Kate Merton, PhD, is the head of JLABS, Johnson & Johnson's global innovation arm.
Access to connections with industry and market know-how is critical for ventures looking to scale beyond a Series A funding round. Startups operating in the health and life sciences space — where innovations may take years to see the light of day — commonly require support navigating a heightened regulatory environment and evolving end-user or beneficiary expectations. Young healthcare companies also need reliable sources of ecosystem knowledge as they enter crowded markets with powerful incumbents and attempt to court potential partners. That’s why the need for more specialized incubators to develop capabilities, talent and opportunities for deeply technical fields, like healthcare, which improve lives and help solve the world’s toughest problems, will persist.
Results - Incubator - Model - Innovation - Depends
Achieving results with the incubator model of innovation depends on geography, environment and access to informed industry resources. For instance, Y Combinator continues to churn out high-impact startups. Techstars employs a market-adaptable model that dives deep on key global industry verticals, with domain experts as partners.
In Toronto, for instance, MaRS Discovery District provides critical startup and innovation infrastructure under one roof (Disclaimer: JLABS is a resident and partner of MaRS). All three incubators employ subject matter advisors that support new companies and help them navigate crowded markets with well-known competitors.
Incubators - Sectors - Canada - Government - Champions
Successful incubators also benefit from business-friendly public and academic sectors. In Canada, the government champions open immigration policies that present technology startups and talent with an opportunity to draw success from the world’s best people.
Universities in Toronto, Waterloo, Montreal, Edmonton and Vancouver churn out educated computer and data scientists with design to use their talents for noble pursuits. The onus is on local companies to attract and retain them. That’s where incubators can play a crucial role. The country’s academic scene complements the incubators by partnering...
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