“The largest challenge is to get investors on board.”
Every year on 8 November, 20 science based start-ups present outstanding scientific research and its entrepreneurial potential at Falling Walls Venture in Berlin. Nominated by leading academic institutions and venture capitalists each start-up has five minutes to convince a high-ranking jury of their innovative business.
The call for applications for this year’s competition has just started – a good opportunity to talk to the winner of Falling Walls Venture 2014, Dietrich Wolf from c. In the interview he speaks about what it takes to convince the jury and how wining the competition enabled him to raise funds.
1. Can you shortly explain the business idea of Eye Tech Care?
EYE TECH CARE is a medical device company in ophthalmology based on an innovative ultrasound technology to treat glaucoma, the second largest cause for blindness in the world.
2. How did you start your business and how did you get your first investors?
The idea for this technology was researched in cooperation with INSERM, the major French Research Institution in Medicine. Based on the promising results the company was created in 2008 to develop the product and take it through clinical testing. The first investors were attracted by the innovative technology and the great market potential.
3. What was the biggest challenge when setting up a company?
In general, the largest challenge is to get investors on board. On the other hand, there is excellent support in France for start-up companies such as setting up the infrastructure for the company, getting in touch with potential partners for research and development or help on international market access.
4. You won the Falling Walls Venture competition in 2014 and were awarded the title “Science Start-Up of the Year”. How did you convince the jury?
I am convinced that it was the breakthrough character of our technology and the large potential impact on patient quality of life in combination with the market potential.
5. How did you get the attention of this investor you met at Falling Walls?
A representative of the investor listened to my plenary presentation and I spoke to him at the conference dinner. He passed my contact on to a partner of his fund who is working on life science projects. This was how the ball got rolling.
6. Where does your company stand today?
We have attracted another important investor recently and have the funds to develop our commercial structure on an international scale.
7. Do you have any advice for the start-ups that would like to participate in the next edition of Falling Walls Venture?
Keep the pitch simple as there might be any experts from your particular field in the audience. Focus on the key points: market potential, how your product makes a difference, where you stand and what you plan to do.
For the first time this year, qualifying rounds will take place in different institutions worldwide that send their winners to the Finale in Berlin. Nominations for the Falling Walls Venture Finale in Berlin and applications for the qualifying rounds in Edmonton, Kyiv and Sendai are now open.
Dietrich Wolf’s presentation at Falling Walls 2014