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Valentini Konstantinidou: "Health & Bio Team Dating is a great incubator for contacts, that has yielded unexpected results"
Konstantinidou, founder and CEO of DNANutricoach, is one of the success stories to come out of this event that brings together scientists from the health and life sciences arena and business people
Health & Bio Team Dating was launched in 2015 based on the fact that Catalonia has a rich ecosystem of great scientists, entrepreneurs, investors and institution but lacks collaborations among these groups. So, on one hand there are many scientific projects that could be taken to market by new start-ups if only they had someone to take care of setting up a business plan and raising funds. On the other hand, there are many experts in business administration and management that want to set out on their own and find new projects in the healthcare and life sciences sector but don't know where to look for them.
These events, which are moving into their second edition this year, were created out of the need to pair scientific research of excellence with expertise in business development. The first edition, held in 2015, brought together 60 projects and executives to hold more than 200 meetings. Of these, 6 teams have reached some sort of agreement or collaboration. One of these teams is the one made up of Valentini Konstantinidou and Chenghan Yang who, as a result of their meeting at Health & Bio Team Dating, signed an agreement through which IESE MBA students can collaborate with Konstantinidou’s start-up: DNANutricoach. We spoke to them about their experience at the first edition of Health & Bio Team Dating.
What did you get out of participating in this speed dating event?
Valentini Konstantinidou: It was the first event of this type I'd ever attended and I went with the idea of looking for synergies (ideas, knowledge of the sector, etc.) but I found tons of interesting contacts that opened my eyes to new perspectives. Thanks to the event, I signed a collaboration agreement with IESE to have their MBA students do summer internships in my company, giving me a more business-oriented view that has helped me learn a lot and grow the company.
Chenghan Yang: I met with many different start-ups and closed collaboration agreements with two of them to allow students to do internships there.
What stage is your business project at now?
V. K: We are in the development phase, but we are starting to find our first clients and, as we don't yet have any external funding, we’re growing organically: the first sales will allow us to make our first investments.
Creating a science/business tandem has been key to:
V. K: Provide all of the knowledge that, as a scientist, I don't have. An MBA student contributes knowledge on finance, marketing, business development, etc. and it's not just theory, we are putting it in practice to grow the company. When the company is more consolidated, I will be able to have this type of employee on staff.
What advice would you give those participating in the second edition?
V. K: To leave any shame at home and take advantage to speak with as many people as possible, because it is a great incubator of contacts that yields unexpected results.
C.Y: The IESE MBA students have four or five years of professional experience before starting the program, some in the healthcare sector, so they can be a good source of ideas and help to develop projects jointly with start-ups.