What is a Startup?

This Forbes article answers that very question. Biotech startups focus on many different topics. Check out this Wired article “The weird, wild world of biotech startups” for more information.

Comparing working at a startup to more established companies? Scitable offers this comparison: “Large companies tend to have more funds available, are often more stable, and hire people with a wide range of skills. Small companies are often looking for very specific skill sets to complement their small teams. Both large and small companies expect their scientists to work hard to achieve their goals, but many people who work in small companies require extra flexibility to do a variety of tasks as they may not have expertise in every area.”


What does a career at a Startup look like?


What are some job titles for people who work at Startups?

  • Application Scientist, Chief Scientist, Senior Scientist
  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
  • Chief Operating Officer (COO)
  • Chief Scientific Officer
  • Head of Scientific Operations
  • Product Manager
  • Director of:
    • Customer Operations
    • Early Drug Discovery
    • Drug Product Development and Manufacturing
    • Scientific Partnerships
  • Vice President of:
    • Automation
    • Clinical Development
    • Manufacturing and Process Sciences
  • Head of:
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Nonclinical Development
    • Strategic Alliances


How to transition into a Startup?

Career Transition Story: Bioengineering PhD to startup


Want to start a Startup?


Examples of organizations that hire PhDs


Get Experience


Find your community

  • UCSF Innovation, Technology & Alliances Entrepreneurship Center supports UCSF scientists that want to begin a startup through courses, programs, and connections in the industry
  • Join the UCSF Entrepreneurs’ Club
  • Attend a Venture Capital Conference. Every year in the Bay Area there is Venture Summit West that you can register for or you can access for free or a reduced rate by being a volunteer. Here is the description from the 2018 event: This venture summit will bring together over 500 Venture Capitalists, Corporate VCs, Private Investors, Investment bankers and CEOs of cutting edge companies; will feature over 140 VCs as speakers and judges, presentations from more than 50 Top Innovators, and high-level networking opportunities.

Is working for or starting a startup a good fit for you?

Good question! Find out by completing the AAAS's My Individual Development Plan Assessment Tool, which OCPD co-created. Answer three assessments and it will calculate and compare your skills/interests/values responses to key factors for 60 different career paths within 20 different career categories that are options for you as a scientist (including consulting!). Click on the image to the left to see a sample report.


Ready to start your job search?

Advice for finding a job at a biotech startup.

Take a look at some sample job descriptions.

**these are meant to serve only as examples. Actual job listing may be closed.


Want more help? Talk to a career counselor

Schedule a 1:1 counseling appointment for PhDs