What’s it like to work in a life science startup?

21 april, 2020

Working in a startup environment offers great variation and often unexpected challenges. To embrace an entrepreneurial spirit is essential. Yuan Tian Almqvist, whose top priority is internationalisation as a Sale and Export Manager at Predicare, shares her perspective of how to thrive in a life science startup. And gives a glimpse of how the corona pandemic drives the company’s new product development.

Predicare is facing a broader expansion in Europe with its decision support system for emergency medicine, and has added new key functions to the organisation. So, how do you gear up when planning to take your company into new markets? And what are the biggest challenges?

“One challenge on the European markets is definitely to be included in the different reimbursement systems. To get there, you really need to show how your product will help reduce costs,” says Yuan Tian Almqvist.

Yuan is originally from Beijing, something of an advantage as China is also a strong potential market for Predicare.  “On the Asian market, with its big volumes, you need to address your audience differently and show how your product will help serve more patients.” 

Her approach to gain these insights and to learn about different markets has been to apply a mix of courses and short seminars, combined with more extensive programmes. Yuan recently followed an export programme arranged by The West Sweden Chamber of Commerce, aimed for small and medium-sized companies ready to go international.

The importance of networking and communication

To further develop her communication skills, Yuan joined the Toastmaster Club in Gothenburg last year. “I recommend it to anyone who wants to be more confident in conducting meetings and giving presentations. You get the opportunity to practice and people help you to be a better version of yourself in front of an audience.”

Networking is an important ingredient of the internationalisation work and one contact leads to another.  “We’re a small company but being part of Sahlgrenska Science Park’s community gives a lot of networking opportunities. There are so many interesting businesses here within life science and we can help each other with contacts and recommendations. It’s really a place to meet and work together.”

The coronavirus pandemic has however affected us all in different ways. Sahlgrenska Science Park has canceled all face-to-face meetings and transformed many of them into virtual events, bearing in mind that the social network is important to maintain when many people are working remotely. New digital habits are formed and many of them will undoubtedly remain when the pandemic is over.

During the outbreak of the coronavirus in China, Tianjin Medical University General Hospital, used Predicare’s product in combination with a screening triage. “The conclusion was that the combination of the two triage procedures could effectively block COVID-19 patients from the emergency diagnosis area.”

Right now, Predicare is working on a consumer version in China, allowing patients to triage themselves at home, to know whether they need to see a doctor or not.

“I am fortunate to have such a meaningful job. Our product helps saving people’s lives, “ concludes Yuan Tian Almqvist.