Tiffany Ma, co-founder of GambitBio

A photo of Tiffany Ma smiling

Tiffany is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Oncology. Born in California and raised in Hong Kong, she completed her Bachelor in Molecular Cell Biology at UC Berkeley, and Masters in Translational Medicine (a joint programme between UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco) before recently finishing her DPhil in Oncology at Oxford. Apart from her research in tumour hypoxia, Tiffany is also passionate about biotech entrepreneurship. She is a venture fellow at Old Silver Venture Capital and co-founded GambitBio, where she and her co-founders are creating a novel at-home self-test kit for early cancer detection. GambitBio is an early stage start-up and is about to raise a seed round in late 2023.

What is your background? What made you decide to get involved in supporting entrepreneurs?
I was trained as a scientist. However during my Masters of Translational Medicine at UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco, I was given the chance to work in a biotech start up called ZetaGen Therapeutics, which was when I got bitten by the Silicon Valley bug. After finishing my official scientific training, and doing venture capital work during my PhD, I decided to marry my love for both science and business through biotech entrepreneurship.

What is your definition of entrepreneurship?
GambitBio Logo

I define entrepreneurship simply as developing one’s own business, which involves taking calculated risks, and combining finance with a mission.

How and when did you know your idea was good enough to develop it?
I didn’t – we just bootstrapped and tested whether or not it would be feasible, and turns out it was!

What would you say are the top 3 skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Why?
1. Taking calculated risks – balancing risk and opportunity
2. People-skills – for building the best team, and networking
3. Communication – to ones’ own team, to the outside world, to end-users

What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?
My favourite part of being an entrepreneur is that no two days are the same – I’m constantly learning on the go, and have to learn how to take calculated risks.

What individual, company or organization inspires you most? Why?
My good friend, mentor and role model, Dr Jonathan Kwok, CEO of Infinitopes inspires me the most. He is able to combine leadership, science, an impactful mission to cure cancer through his stellar biotech start-up, Infinitopes, using his scientific, clinical and financial training.

If you had 5 minutes with the above individual/ company/organization, what would you want to ask or discuss?
We would discuss the importance of early detection in cancer, and the novel technology and science we can leverage to create products that can make a difference.

What has been your most satisfying or successful moment in business?
As we’re an early stage start-up, the most satisfying moment so far is receiving our first angel investment a few months ago, representing the interest amongst multiple venture capitals and investors in our company GambitBio.

What would you say have been some of your mistakes, failures or lessons learned as an entrepreneur?
Overthinking and not acting sooner – I learned that you only get more data/ information on what the next steps for your venture is by doing acting and speaking to others.

How have you funded your ideas?
Money from start-up incubators/ accelerators/ competitions and an angel investment.

Are there any sector-specific awards/grants/competitions that have helped you?
University of Edinburgh’s DDE VBI (Data-Driven Entrepreneurship Venture Builder Incubator) was extremely helpful to our company in giving financial support, training and networking.

What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxfordshire? Bad?
The good: the entrepreneurship network in Oxfordshire is amazing; there are many spinouts from the University, as well as Oxfordshire being the home to new companies. The entrepreneurship ecosystem here is full of resources for people just starting out in business.

If a new entrepreneur or startup came to you looking for entrepreneurship resources, where would you send them?
I would look at all the resources available on to see which is best for the new entrepreneur/ start-up.

Any last words of advice?
If you’re passionate about a business idea, don’t wait, and start today, even if it means starting small.