Does Central Iowa need a biotech incubator?
Wednesday, November 07, 2012 11:29 AM
The two principals of StartupCity Des Moines are helping the Greater Des Moines Partnership study whether a similar incubator could work for biotechnology businesses.
Tej Dhawan and Christian Renaud, who just over a year ago opened StartupCity as a technology startup incubator, are putting together a study to release to the Partnership at the end of the month. The study, which is independent of StartupCity, aims "to see if there's an appetite in the city, a need, for a biotech incubator," Dhawan said.
Dhawan and Renaud are talking with businesses, government officials and higher education representatives from a number of the state's public and private institutions. They are also looking at models from other cities such as Austin, Texas, Kansas City, Boston and St. Louis.
StartupCity looks for resident businesses that are early-stage tech companies. The incubator has had to turn down around 150 applications in its first year of operation, and a number of those were entrepreneurs with ideas that had to do with other industries such as manufacturing, agriculture or biofuels, Dhawan said - all sectors that need their own incubator that's similar to StartupCity.
"The governance model for something like (biotech) is much more involved than what StartupCity does," Dhawan said. "So we're just asking as many questions as we can at this time."