This was a talk I gave in 2018 at the NCL Venture Center in Pune as part of a multi-day base camp for science entrepreneurs. The focus was how a technology intrapreneur at a large lab can drive the commercialization of science and intellectual property.



I started with concepts such as technology readiness levels and value inflection points for biotech and med-tech startups. We discussed technology & market assessment techniques. I highlighted the importance of the economics of markets such as chemicals, materials, and pharmaceuticals. Then, we discussed strategies for startups to engage with leaders at R&D labs. Finally, I spoke about patent valuation and technology licensing deal structures.


It is interesting that founders often confuse terms such as business plan, business model, and business case. To resolve this, I gave examples of each and the role that each play for a technology intrapreneur. We also discussed various aspects of business development such as partnerships, pricing, positioning, promotion, and new product introduction.

Entrepreneur vs. Intrapreneur

Undoubtedly, there are meaningful differences between entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship. The former usually implies the creation of a brand new venture whereas the latter tends to be in the context of a large organization. Entrepreneurs constantly deal with a paucity of resources while the biggest challenge for intrapreneurs is remaining agile in a risk-averse setting. Startup founders take on great personal risk and can win handsomely.

Conversely, intrapreneurs at research labs have little skin-in-the-game, i.e., limited downside and upside. Nevertheless, the pursuit of new market opportunities is a common thread among these two. Moreover, both of them have to persuade internal and external stakeholders. Finally, they both have to estimate valuation and pricing, structure commercial contracts, and negotiate complex deals. In summary, a technology intrapreneur combines a founder mindset with managerial skills. She is passionate about converting research into commercial value. She understands the power of intellectual property, entrepreneurial selling, and business partnerships.