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Research Based Business Ventures



In the course RBB-Ventures students will explore the process of creating new ventures (companies) based on developments in science & technology. Core of the course is studying and discussing a number of business cases covering the entrepreneurial process from various angles. In addition, in In-Class Interviews, guest entrepreneurs from the BioScience Park will share their experiences with starting and growing research-based business.

Programme & Schedule

The course will run from April 17 till June 26. The exam is on June 30.

Plenary sessions will be on Thursday afternoon, starting 16.00 hrs, and on Friday afternoon starting 14.00 hrs. On Thursday afternoon the in-class interview takes place. Friday afternoon is for a case discussion and further instruction. Attending the sessions is mandatory.

You will need to spend an additional 0,5 – 1 day a week on team work, preparations for upcoming sessions and self study. For full time RBB students, the allocated time for team preparation of the case assignments is Friday morning and Wednesdays are suggested days for additional self-study and preparing individual contributions to the business plan. However, teams may choose other hours of the week for these meetings and individuals may prefer other moments for their individual coursework. The kick-off date will be April 17th at 14:00h, the first interview session, however, will be on Thursday April 16, starting from 16.00 h in room 313 of the Snellius building.

Grading will be based on class participation, two essays (group assignments) and a final examination.

For PhD students and postdocs we will offer two alternative versions to the course:
1) Attendance only – you will receive a certificate for attendance
2) 3 EC version – Atttendance and interview paper as a part of the teamwork


By former participants Wouter Bruins and Oleg Guziy .


Intended for: MSc students, Ph.D. students, post-docs, university staff and others motivated for creating and working in a research based business.
Course fee:

  • no fee for university students;
    – However a contribution of 20 Euro’s for the reader is required due to copy right payments

  • Euro 200 for PhD students for the full course and 120 Euro for the light versions,

  • Euro 500 for non-students.
    If applicable, an invoice will be mailed at the beginning of the course.

*Please note: For this course, it is not possible to register via USIS, instead fill in the registration form

Course issues & concepts

The cases and supporting readings will illustrate issues and concepts like:

  • what does it take (and what not) to be an entrepreneur;

  • what is entrepreneurship and administrative versus entrepreneurial behaviour;

  • academic versus surrogate entrepreneurship and the role of the scientist in academic spin-offs;

  • the framing of ventures in terms of people, opportunity, context and deal;

  • the phases and critical junctures in new venture formation;

  • the importance and pitfalls of patent protection;

  • factors influencing the early growth of academic spin-offs;

  • options for commercializing science & technology, business models and value creation;

  • distribution of equity betwen company founders;

  • value, valuation and risk/reward ratio in new venture financing;

  • how venture capitalists assess business plans and start-up companies.

Course sesions of the previous year: spring 2014


  • Kick-off; Am I an Entrepreneur? The course; Case teaching & preparation; Entrepreneurial traits.

  • R&R. Opportunity spotting and mobilizing resources.

  • DeDrug I. IP risks (in particular patents) in a university context.

  • SpudSpy. Communication and attitude in trying to start a business from a university department.

  • Vermeer Technologies. Organizing an entrepreneurial team, pre- and post money valuation, (not) becoming CEO of you own company, deal decisions.

  • BetaGolf. Deciding upon a way to commercialize science; the workings of a successful cross-over of a technology house and investments company.

  • A123. Reorientation, what will be our business and business model?

  • Venture capital. How venture capitalists evaluate venture opportunities.

  • Nanogene. On the distribution of shares and completing the start-up management team.

  • DeDrug II. On valuation and the investment process.

  • ProPharma. On the assessment of business plans; Wrap-up

  • Business Plan Contest meeting, assessing business plans

In-Class interviews

In the In-Class Interviews, guest entrepreneurs share their experiences with starting and growing research based companies. Guest entrepreneurs in latter years were amongst others:

  • Eliane Khoury, CEO of Virus Free Air, Delft

  • Gert-Jan van Baarle, Director of Leiden Probe Microscopy

  • Jaap Blaak, founder and CEO FlexGen; co-founder der VenGen and more

  • Pieter Gaillard, Founder and former CSO of To-BBB

  • Joost Holthuis, Founder and former CEO of “OctoPlus”:

  • Gerard Platenburg, founder and former CEO of ProSensa ; CEO of ISA.

  • Bas Reichert, founder and CEO of BaseClear .

  • Victor Schut, Founder and CBO of ProteoNic

  • Gregg Siegal, founder and CEO Zobio

  • Pieter Slijkerman, co-founder and former manager of ZF-Screens and NewCatch

  • Toon Stegmann, founder and CSO of Virosome Biologicals BV, now CSO of Mymetics

  • Onno van de Stolpe, Founder and CEO of Galapagos

Other RBB Courses

RBB Ventures is part of a series of three courses with a course load of 5 EC each: RBB-Ventures, RBB-Planning and RBB Opportunities, which can be followed together as well as separately. These courses arm students and (future) researchers with the basic knowledge of how to spot, assess and exploit an entrepreneurial, research-based business opportunity and have been desiged to lower the hurdles for students and researchers for getting involved in the process of starting high-tech ventures. This knowledge will be valuable for those who aspire to one day start their own company or who want to become involved in the process of company creation and development as tech transfer managers, business developers, business advisors, investment managers or serial entrepreneurs.

More information on our program on Science & Research Based Business.