This blog post is written by Rory Ryan (MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management), co-founder of ZiO Health. He draws on his experience studying at Imperial College Business School and how his pro-active networking led to the creation of his highly innovative health tech company.
Working in the health tech industry has always been a goal of mine. It’s where innovation and engineering intersect with social impact. Having an opportunity to make a positive difference to the lives of the patients and communities that I work with, was, and still is, an exciting prospect to me.
However, running my own business within the industry was just as important. Before studying my Master’s, I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur when I was working in the north of England and overseas, understanding that networking opportunities and learning from leading experts in relevant fields would make all the difference in achieving my goal.
Having this mindset before I even began my Master’s Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management at Imperial College Business School meant that I made it my mission to maximise the potential of my programme, both inside, and outside the classroom.
Creating connections over coffee
My main objective when joining the MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management programme was that I would leave with my own business in high tech or deep-science. With this in mind, I used all of my free time to network, constantly taking MBA students, PhD students and doctors for coffee, while also attending the School’s networking events. I was fortunate to have access to such a fantastic community situated in the heart of London and I was keen to make the most of it.
After a month at the Business School, and countless coffees later, I met a medical doctor studying an MBA at Oxford University via an advert I placed on a networking website. Soon after, I met an Imperial College PhD scientist who was working in a new area of biosensing. Combining our diverse backgrounds and drive to develop biosensing technology further, our startup ZiO Health was born.
Seeking inspiration from innovative peers
Imperial College Business School has some of the world’s leading scientific research groups, so while I was studying my programme, I joined the Entrepreneurship Smart Camp. Immediately I was inspired by how ambitious, intelligent and entrepreneurial the people I met were, and in just a few weeks I knew that studying at the Business School would accelerate my entrepreneurial journey.
And I was right, the MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management programme was exactly where I needed to be. I found the Venture Capital and Growth Finance module of the programme invaluable. When we got to the stage of needing to raise investment for ZiO Health, it equipped me with what proved to be very useful information on term sheets and funding calculations.
Thanks to the networking opportunities that formed this partnership between myself and my co-founders, ZiO Health now develops technology that can test molecules in blood and other fluids as well as developing products to serve non-health care applications. Our portable testing devices give instant results, empowering people to make informed decisions about their health from their homes.
After I graduated from the Business School, my co-founders and I developed a prototype of our technology and managed to raise investment from a US-based venture capital company. Five years on we’ve built an international team with global offices. Thanks to this expansion we developed multiple patents, have developed innovations surrounding two sensor technologies and initiated product development and research partnerships in the US, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Spain, Poland and the UK. None of this would have been possible without the foundations of a strong international network.
Looking back over the past five years I see my experience at the Business School as a formative time that helped launch my entrepreneurial career. Making the most of every opportunity to network and develop connections within my industry is what got me to where I am today. MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management is not just about the qualification, but the unlocking of a network that can provide a wealth of opportunity for your future entrepreneurial endeavours.