Laszlo Bax «The lack of investment in innovation is a cultural problem»

When Dr. Hans Supèr discovered vergence eye movement Laszlo Bax did not hesitate to join him to create Braingaze, a spin-off of the University of Barcelona. Its technology allows diagnosing ADHD through a video game that captures our perceptions.

Why did you decide to create Braingaze?
Hans’s discovery made me want to create something to turn all these ideas and potential into a reality. For many years I worked as a consultant for innovation, and this was one of those opportunities in life to stop telling others how to set up a business and set up one myself.

What information can a person’s gaze provide?
We know that this discovery is related to the processing of visual information—not so much through the eyes but through what brain circuits reflect—and to the way in which we process information. We can also tailor the results we capture by changing the video game.

What do you think is the situation of research in Catalonia?
In recent years research indicators have improved a lot in Catalonia. When I arrived, in 2002, there were four investment funds and now there are almost twenty. However, the transformation of all this scientific excellence into entrepreneurial activity remains a weak point.

What should be done to improve this situation?
It is a cultural issue. In other countries there are more business angels (private investors) who are willing to take risks, but they also want to see an entrepreneurial spirit that is much more common in other countries than here. For many, the lifestyle company remains their ultimate goal; for Americans, however, their business is a failure unless it has 500 employees and a turnover of millions. This is not necessarily bad, but leads to the creation of fewer companies.

What do you think about knowledge transfer?
Researchers cannot exploit their knowledge, nor sell and license technology, unless they become entrepreneurs. Supporting researchers to help them become entrepreneurs is very important and the FBG is doing a good job there.

What qualities should an innovative person have?
Perhaps their most important talents are perseverance, the ability to structure things, and the ability to attract and motivate teams … These traits are not as readily associated with the concept of innovation, but they are important for innovation to have an impact on society.

Why should companies invest in R & D?
Only those who reinvent themselves continue to be relevant in a market full of companies. Moreover, that a company of certain dimensions allocates part of its results to innovation should not be so problematic. Earlier, businessmen used to invest in properties or the stock market, but this is no longer the bargain it was.

With crowdfunding you can bet on many projects with relatively little money, and the risk of losing everything is quite limited. We must accept and assume that investing in an idea that will change society involves risks, there will be projects that fall by the wayside, but this is like evangelization: it is necessary to repeat it and repeat it again many times so that people accept it.

More about Laszlo Bax

Childhood dream job:

Filming safari documentaries in Africa and become David Attenborough or Jacques Cousteau.

The best invention in history:

As a good Dutch, I think the bike is the best invention.

The future invention you are most afraid of:

Now we can manipulate the human genome and build, improve, and genetically customize humans … That scares me.

The FBG is…

…a versatile foundation. It offers full support—and not only legal advice—and a connection with potential investors and partners.

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