Converge One Year On

We recently had the pleasure of catching up with Andrew Woodland, Chief Scientific Officer of drug discovery firm, In4Derm, at the Converge 2020 Awards.  Andrew’s company, a spin-out from the University of Dundee, discovers new medicines with a focus on inflammatory diseases such as eczema and rheumatoid arthritis.

Q: You won Converge Challenge last September and scooped the top prize – what kind of impact has that had?

A: Being a scientist, I have a lot to learn about business! So, on a personal level, the Converge win gave me a great deal of confidence.  It meant that a panel of experienced entrepreneurs believed that we could deliver a successful company.  For the team, the credibility was a great bonus and really helped us to raise investment this year as it has been great to be able to say that we won this amazing prize.

Q: You recently secured Dr Tim Sparey – an experienced biotech entrepreneur – as CEO.  How did that come about and what’s your advice for attracting experienced players into a start-up/spin-out?

A: Building a team for a new company isn’t easy and I would advise to ‘try before you buy’. Look for any opportunity to build your network and use that network to find good people.  Tim was introduced to us through a contact I met four years ago and who I’ve barely spoken to over that time.  He was probably the 10th person that we spoke to and worked with over the three-year period that we spent pre-company.  Once we started to interact with him we knew he had the experience and the credibility plus we also get along.  He was definitely the best fit for the role so we’re really chuffed to have him on board.

Q: Have you raised or are looking to raise investment?

A: Yes, we are looking to raise investment and we’re hopeful of closing a first seed round of £900,000 soon. We do have space for one final investor if anyone is interested!

Q: What does the next few years hold in store for In4Derm and are you optimistic for the future?

A: Yes, I am.  I think we have great prospects.  We’ve been really lucky to be supported initially by Scottish Enterprise – they were great and really pivotal in getting us ready to form a business.  Plus the Converge win has really helped.  We’ve got a great starting point and are starting to build momentum and build a great team and hopefully we’ll raise our first round soon.  I’m really excited for the future.  I’m sure it’ll be a rollercoaster but also a lot of fun!