Kevin Xu graduated from USC in 2010 with a BA in neuroscience. He is the CEO of MEBO International, a California- and Beijing-based intellectual property management company that works to exploit and manage the unlimited value of intangible assets regarding in situ organ regeneration for applied medical and health promotion systems (human body regenerative restoration science) in over 73 countries and hospital networks worldwide. His company has helped open a whole new era of bio-economy. Follow him @_kevinxu.
Who is your hero?
My father has been through a lot while seeking the savior of mankind through regenerative life science. He decided to relinquish many things in his life to pursue this. Unlike many other scientists, in the process of researching and developing his own science, he refused numerous enticing offers from others in order to keep the science completely independent. These early decisions eventually led to our current unique circumstance. I am able to hold the science independently and control the direction and scope of its development without worrying about its ownership or freedom of operation.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
When you are running a life-science based corporation, you need to make sure you understand your intellectual property in depth, and how to maintain 100 percent ownership of it to stay in a protective position before making any future developments. For example, a newly created technology will encounter many rounds of dilution through finance and expansion. You have to make sure you do not lose the control of the intellectual property and fully understand the potential of the owned technology before proceeding.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
If you look into the current field of the biotechnology industry, two potential mistakes you can make quickly emerge. First, a biotechnology holding promising patents is sold to a big pharmaceutical company at an early stage, but ends up being put on hold. It’s taken off the shelf for development and remains inactive, never making it to application. In the second scenario, an early-stage biotech company allows many investors to share the company — with too many shares given out — and faces difficulties expanding its technology later on due to the loss of dominant ownership control.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I monitor the status of life science in research and development through news websites and PubMed. This includes reading research articles and drawing conclusions about the proceedings of different types of biotechnologies.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
For life-science based companies, in the early stages, you should do a lot of in-depth research on your own to understand how the technology or science works. This will save you a tremendous amount on your starting costs and lower the bar for starting up the company.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Find out your weakness, and figure out ways to remove this weakness and turn it into an advantage.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
Success, in my world, is defined as achieving your mission statement. My mission statement is turning the science we’ve worked on into three things: application, culture and legacy. Among scientists, the most satisfying scenario is seeing your invention or research benefit people, which is the basic criteria that contributes to all three of those things. For application in particular, this goal needs decades of research and development. So the hardest challenge for any newly emerged science is choosing the route of bringing an invention to the commercialization stage.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.