Fireside Chat – a new arena to meet and discuss entrepreneurship
12 November 2018
Fireside chat, the premiere event organised by UU Innovation on 25 October, is a new way of giving further insights into being a researcher and an entrepreneur at the same time. The event is part of the programme Mentor4Research, organised by UU Innovation with financial support from EIT Health.
In the fireside chat three invited guests shared the stories about their journey from research and innovation to entrepreneurship. Susanna Eriksson, working with life sciences communication and PR, moderated the event. The audience consisted of this year and former year’s participants in the Mentor4Research programme.
The first entrepreneur on stage was, Håkan Engqvist. Håkan Engqvist is professor in applied material science at Uppsala University and co-founder of the companies Emplicure, OssDsign and Psilox. His work is a combination of research and entrepreneurship. He emphasized the importance of creating separate teams for every company.
“I hate loosing, more than I want winning and maybe that is one reason why my optimal capacity is when it is critical”, stated Håkan Engqvist when asked about his driving force. He added that the most important assets for a successful company are “the money and the people”.
The second guest on stage was Sara Thorslund, CEO of Gradientech AB and former postdoctoral researcher at Uppsala University. Her story had always been associated with a journey that continues in the entrepreneurship.
“I am very much into product development. We have a killer application and we are working on developing a diagnostic system”. She agreed that the biggest issue as an entrepreneur is the struggle to find money. Sara Thorslund advised that a path to success requires commitment such as “researcher has to enjoy working many hours and to have a market approach. It is good to say that the company is a spin-off from the university, but do not talk about the research. This may be a disadvantage because researchers are known to be good at research, but bad at marketing and sales”.
Daniel Löwenborg, researcher at the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History and co-founder of the innovative start-up company Disir Production, was the third and last guest in the fireside chat. Daniel Löwenborg explained that he does not really feel like an entrepreneur, since he is mainly engaged in research. However, there is no doubt that there are researcher involved in the company’s product since they are aiming towards perfectionism and best quality - sometimes too much, maybe, he stated. Their product is an application that reconstructs archaeological sites at their original look. He unveiled that the company is also working on a game about a very realistic ship from the 17th century.
“The journey to entrepreneurship is beyond the dream, and I hope our team will grow and we will be even more successful” finished Daniel Löwenborg.
The entrepreneurs' stories were all very engaging and when the interview session ended, the audience had many questions. Moreover, even though there are similarities between the entrepreneurs it became quite clear that every journey is unique.
About Mentor4Research at Uppsala University
Mentor4Research is a programme that provides an opportunity for researchers to work with mentors from outside the academia in order to gain a deeper insight into, and understanding of the commercialisation process, to increase their links with the business community and to carry out a preliminary evaluation of the commercial potential of their research.