Science + Partners, the consolidation of a meeting point between investors and scientists
Science + Partners has become a must for researchers interested in enhancing the value and appeal of research projects that have reached an advanced stage and are now ready for transfer. More than twenty promising projects of the University of Barcelona have already participated in these events, which the FBG has been organizing since 2016 with the aim of establishing connections between researchers (Science) and people from the business world and investors (Partners). With an agile and dynamic format, this event allows participants to refine and improve the leap from scientific innovations to the market, but it is also a great business opportunity, as demonstrated by Enlighting Technologies, a UB spin-off partly created thanks to this initiative.
The spin-off Enlighting Technologies, first success story
The researchers Blas Garrido, Sergi Hernández, and Adrià Huguet, from the Section of Electronics of the Engineering Department of the UB, presented their smart lighting system during the second edition of Science + Partners, devoted to electronics, Big Data, and ICT projects. “Science + Partners was a very good experience for us to learn about the business side of technological development. The insights of experts in these fields were invaluable in defining a proposal, as scientific training often does not include the necessary elements to start a business venture,” recalls Adrià Huguet.
During the sessions of Science + Partners they met with BeAble Capital, a technology transfer fund that identifies scientific advances with industrial potential to turn them into business ventures, and which would later be key to the launch of the spin-off. “BeAble has been a catalyst for the creation of the company. From the very beginning, they have been involved in the strategic definition and have provided the necessary capital to implement the development plan. Working with them has allowed us to see several aspects related to the application of technology that are not usually addressed at the university, such as the definition of the business model,” points out the researcher Adrià Huguet.
Thirty minutes before twelve investors
One of the main advantages of the Science + Partners event is its dynamic format, which allows the researchers of each of the five selected projects thirty minutes to present their work and to answer the questions of a panel of twelve experts and investors. This exchange helps researchers to better understand market demands and the strengths and weaknesses of their project. “For us it has been a very valuable opportunity to hear different opinions about our project. In some cases they have surprised us by highlighting important features that we had not identified, and in others they have confirmed the potential of our project, but from perspectives far removed from those we are used to,” says Elisabet Romeu, from Impetux, a spin-off of the UB, who participated in the first edition of the programme.
This dialogue also benefits the participating investors, who are granted privileged access to the best projects available within the UB group. “Science + Partners is a very profitable event where the business world can find a great source of interesting projects to invest in,” commented Alberto Henere, from Inveready, one of the participants in the meetings. The consolidation of the initiative over the years is an important step towards ensuring that scientific research does not remain in the laboratory but reaches the market and therefore benefits both the end user and society as a whole.