There is much that is humbling about the experience of transforming oneself from a scientist into an entrepreneur.
One example: taking scientific advice from an adviser to a venture capitalist.
"They probably never even wrote a paper," said Bruce D. Weintraub, founder of Trophogen Inc., a Rockville biotech startup. "But if you want the money, you have to do it."
In all dealings with venture investors, in other words, look happy.
Weintraub spoke earlier this month at Entrepreneur Day on the Rockville campus of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute.
The event was a day-long series of seminars that included emerging science at the institute and pep talks from state economic development officials. Weintraub spoke about making the leap from academia and research to business.
Weintraub, with the help of local venture capital firm Toucan Capital Corp., founded Trophogen in 2001. The company's research includes work on treatments for infertility and cancer.
Weintraub's advice for the more than 100 scientists in attendance was to think strategically about how they pursue their research. There are two approaches, he said. One way is to follow inquiry wherever it leads, no matter what the potential outcome.
The other way -- his way -- is to think like an entrepreneur and pursue research that has the potential for commercialization.
But be prepared, he said, because once you form a company you are in many ways beholden to the venture capitalists, who establish scientific milestones for you to reach in order to get more money.
"If you don't hit the milestones, you don't get the money," he said.
Weintraub provoked a little nervous laughter with his talk.
$20 Million for Fidelity & Trust
Fidelity & Trust Financial Corp., a holding company that owns Bethesda-based Fidelity & Trust Bank, has raised an additional $20 million to fund growth of the bank in the Washington region for enhanced banking services and additional branches.
The company said a group of more than 140 business people from the region contributed the money. The bank was opened in 2003 by a group of county business owners and banking executives. Since the beginning of this year, the bank's assets have grown by 50 percent.
Credit Union Branches Out
Speaking of expansion, Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Union has opened its remodeled and expanded Rockville branch, at 15245 Shady Grove Road.
The branch's remodeling stems from a change in the credit union's charter. In 2003, the organization went from serving a small part of the county to the entire county. It is open to anyone who lives, works, worships or goes to school here.
Two Added to Strathmore Board
The Strathmore Hall Foundation has added two board members to the 25 who oversee the affairs and property of the organization.
Annie Simonian Totah, a human rights advocate and lobbyist, also serves on boards of the Montgomery County Democratic Forum, the Washington Performing Arts Society, the Washington Ballet and the National Jewish Museum. She lives in Potomac.
The other appointee is Cynthia Wong, a North Bethesda resident and senior corporate finance and business transactions attorney at Powell Goldstein LLP in the District. She is also the co-founder of Women in Bio Inc., a nonprofit organization supportive of female executives and entrepreneurs in biotechnology.
More Local Dirt
There is good news for local gardeners from the world of publishing. A Silver Spring company has launched Washington Gardener magazine, a bi-monthly publication written by gardeners for gardeners.
The July/August issue has tips and tricks for adding a pond to gardens.
The cover price is $4.99. A year's subscription is $18. For more information, log onto www.washingtongardener.com.