Having ideas is easy, it’s making them a reality that’s difficult – as any entrepreneur will tell you. Last week two ICIQers presented their project and their experience as entrepreneurs.
Esther Alza, CEO and co-founder of Treellum Technologies, ICIQ’s second spin-off, joined the workshop “From lab to market: showcasing three deep tech startups,” organized by BIST within the 4YFN event – within the frame of the 2021 Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona. The workshop brought together three scientific entrepreneurs leading Deep Tech spin-offs from research centres of excellence in Catalonia: Alza, Victor Canivell (co-founder and CEO of Quilimanjaro Quantum Tech) and Ezequiel Mas (CEO of Nostrum Biodiscovery).
The entrepreneurs shared their experience on building a start-up and, despite their diverse backgrounds they agreed that Deep Tech start-ups face unique challenges. The speakers shared some of the lessons learnt during the process and among other tips, highlighted the importance of doing a patent if the technology has potential, focusing on proof-of-concept pilots and the needs of your customers, how entrepreneurs should always be ready to pitch and the importance of having a multidisciplinary and flexible team. “Most of the people who came over to talk were scientists who wanted to learn about knowledge and technology transfer,” states Alza. To her, the most positive part of the event was meeting other spin-offs “I feel we’re very close and far away at the same time, so it was really useful to meet and share experiences… There could be possible collaborations with other startups in the future, which is difficult if you don’t know they exist.”
Alberto Bucci, project researcher at ICIQ’s CSOL unit, presented ELECTRA at Expoquimia’s Tech Transfer Virtual Forum European Project Presentation: Hydrogen & Energy. The virtual event brought forward an open and effective dialogue among the representatives of the six projects: Alejandro Cifuentes from NEMEN, Juan de Dios Sirvent from HARVESTORE, Jordi Guilera from IREC, Maritta Lira from NEWSOC and Blai López from EFFICIENT HEATING. “For ELECTRA, participating in Expoquimia has been a great opportunity to promote the project and give it visibility in front of an audience that is difficult to reach.”
Echoing the words from Alza, Bucci also encourages entrepreneurs to participate in such events to build trust and connect with people and projects that are otherwise difficult to meet. “This event has been a great occasion to better understand the entrepreneurial environment in Catalonia, where there are many projects on hydrogen that have a lot of potential, and with which we could look for synergies and work together.” For Bucci, it’s important to not lose sight of the big picture, “for this reason it is important to get in touch with people who work in different areas within your sector – in this case, green hydrogen. This contact helps you better understand the state of the field and its needs which allows you to re-focus your vision or find new market segments.”