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Thinking outside the box for product development

We talk to Mary Anne Cordeiro, Director of Albion Income and Growth Venture Capital Trust, and Director of Science to Business, about her experiences of helping early stage technologies with product development and how those within the bio sector need to think outside the box.

Mary Anne CordeiroMary Anne is an Oxford University graduate who had a 15-year career in the City with Goldman Sachs, Bankers Trust and Paribas giving her extensive expertise in all aspects of corporate finance. Since 1998, she has been working on the commercialisation of innovation and has helped develop strategies to bring new products and services to market as well as to finance growth.

She is motivated by what she perceives as a big gap between getting scientists ‘off the bench and on the road’ and then evolving start-ups into sustainable businesses. Most scientists see the problem as being about improving the technology rather than spotting the market opportunity and meeting the market need. Mary Anne realised she needed to get involved at an early stage in order to advise and enable inventors and start-ups to create compelling business propositions that savvy business angels would invest in.

During the interview, she cites an example of how thinking outside the box helped a company, Myoton, accelerate product development. The original technology product offered was such that sales were made only to scientists but this changed in 2010 when the company was awarded grant-funding by the EU Space Agency. It enabled development of the technology for use in micro-gravity and required complete redevelopment of the mechanics and software to cope with the environment in space. The result was a more versatile and user-friendly product which can be used in most healthcare settings. It has transformed the company into a viable, sustainable business.