In July 2003, Dr. Robert A. Feldman founded SymBio Corporation, a project-based custom genomics company specializing in high quality DNA sequencing. SymBio works collaboratively with academic and biotech researchers on projects ranging from deep-sea environmental microbiology to agricultural genomics. Prior to opening his company, Robert developed a detailed business plan and discussed both the plan and his decision to go into business with several key persons, including his mother-in-law. She recommended that he contact SCORE for advice.
From the beginning, SymBio had a large academic subcontract, but the next challenge was to develop a consistent strategy to increase sales beyond this initial contract. Here again, SCORE helped with mentoring on ‘needs based’ selling. Through the appropriate allocation of time for networking, marketing, and sales calls, Robert was able to successfully obtain several major sequencing projects for SymBio in the first year. Within 1.5 years in operation, the company reached the break-even milestone and was ready to grow.
It was only after John and Robert were satisfied with the business plan that Robert made the decision to open at the present site in Menlo Park, CA. Several key members of his former genomics development lab at Amersham Biosciences eagerly joined the new company. Keeping his high functioning and efficient team together was a major factor in smoothly starting operations.
Robert developed and implemented a capacity plan for growth and with a minimum of capital outlay, SymBio is now operating at nearly double its initial capacity. Through its rapid growth, SymBio maintains efficient operations with low overhead allowing the team to continue providing highly flexible and custom service to their clients and collaborators.
During a mentoring session at the San Jose Entrepreneur Center, Robert first met SCORE Mentor John Edwards. During subsequent mentoring sessions, the SymBio business plan was rigorously critiqued until Robert was convinced it made financial sense. John also mentored Robert on ‘needs based’ selling, and recommended several helpful books including Rainmaker and The Negotiating Game.
"My success in business has been significantly aided by the continuous counseling provided by my SCORE mentor during these first two years," Robert says.
Robert says, “My SCORE mentor, who has extensive experience in high tech manufacturing, helped me at a critical time planning for increasing capacity. This is just one example of the ‘just in time mentoring’ that SCORE provides.”