MTVA Report: Automated Antibiogram >or< how I learned to stop worrying and read a business strategy canvas
October 18, 2022

We here at UNeTech are so proud to have started publishing our strategies with the MicroWash! James Young and the UNMC Emergency Department have demonstrated what can be accomplished when inventors and entrepreneurs work together to start something new. It’s a testament to the importance of sound strategy aligning key stakeholders and it’s a great transition to talk about the next Maverick Technology Ventures Alliance report UNeTech is proud to publish: the Automated Antibiogram.

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The business model canvas, a strategy document used by new businesses to establish business strategy into nine simple steps.

As promised, this space is more than just an opportunity to publish a business strategy; it’s a lesson on how to read a business strategy. Today, we’re going to start with the core of an MTVA Strategy Report, the Business Model Canvas. After a brief discussion of what a Business Model Canvas is we can use it to explain what the Automated Antibiogram does.

The Business Model Canvas is a diagram that serves to represent a business model. A business model, in the abstract, is how a business connects customers to products in a way that is self-sustaining. The Business Model Canvas is a commonly used strategy document that breaks describing a business model into nine steps. The model diagrams, from left to right, the things the business needs to provide a product or service, the ways that the product or service gets to the customers, and how the business can provide those products or services in a profitable way.

On the top left of the canvas are the things the business needs: Key Partners, Key Activities and Key Resources. Those boxes represent the people, things, and stuff that businesses need to do. In the center is the Value Proposition: what does the business create that is valuable to its customers? On the right are the Customer Relationships, Channels, and Customer Segments. Connect it all together and the top of the canvas diagrams how a business makes a product and how it gets the product to its customers.

The bottom of the canvas looks at the cost of doing business and the revenue that the business makes. Where the top determines how a business can sell a product, the bottom establishes if the business model is sustainable over time.

The reason why the Business Model Canvas is the heart of the MTVA strategy report is its flexibility and simplicity. The MTVA often will produce multiple Business Model Canvases for each startup canvas. It shows how an invention is not the same thing as a business and there is enormous room for creative expression in taking a cool idea and turning it into a healthy business. UNeTech will often use the Business Model Canvases generated by the MTVA to explain how a startup concept works when in early discussion with potential entrepreneurs.

Which brings us to the Automated Antibiogram. Please download the report and follow along, the Business Model Canvas is on page 30.

Dr. Scott Campbell and the University of Nebraska Medical Center (Key Partners) currently have to manually search through hospital reports to get a sense of what kinds of microbes are causing infections in the hospital. A world expert on how hospitals organize medical knowledge, Dr. Campbell invented an algorithm that can efficiently extract the data needed to track the microbes that cause infections from existing data in the electronic medical record system (Key Activities). He launched a research application of his algorithm that has now been installed in regional hospitals and is continuously testing and improving his algorithm (Key Resources). 

The MTVA worked with him to refine a concise Value Proposition and assemble a model of how to get the Automated Antibiogram to hospitals and clinics that need an antibiogram (Customer Segments).  The MTVA, through its research and customer interviews, established that the automated antibiogram could work by providing subscriptions directly to hospitals or by adding it on to a feature for existing companies (Customer Channels).  Ultimately, the sustainability of the product seemed to hinge on the ability to develop software (Cost Structure) for which a business could charge sufficient fees or obtain sufficient royalties (Revenue Streams).  

The best thing about the Business Model Canvas is that it is just one take. Anyone can dispute the Key Partners or the Revenue Streams. What no one can dispute, however, is that a Business Model Canvas is an excellent tool to facilitate the discussion. It’s a blank canvas upon which the MTVA paints the business that could be. In arguing with investors, entrepreneurs and inventors, the MTVA helps to figure the startup out – before it ever starts!

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