Summary of keynotes: 'How to bring inventions to the market and the role of investors - life science investments'

Aarhus Investor Summit | Science Edition, held on May 9th, 2023, focused on bringing inventions to the market and the crucial role of investors in life science investments. The event featured four keynotes that provided valuable insights into the topic.

Thomas Kousholt, Venture Partner at NLC - The European Healthtech Venture Builder, highlighted the disparity between the growing demand for healthcare solutions and the limited access to early-stage risk capital. He shared how NLC works to bridge this gap by attracting co-founders, planning, raising funds, and executing strategies to support researchers and spinouts in accessing capital.

Birgitte Nauntofte, Chairman of the Board of Aarhus University and a prominent figure in research and innovation, emphasized Aarhus University's mission to become a significant contributor to the Danish innovation ecosystem. She explained how the university facilitates the creation of viable companies by translating research-based findings into early startups and spinouts. Aarhus University secures the necessary support, grants, and capital through foundations and incubators, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.

Jan Mousing, Ph.D., and Founder of VPCIR biosciences, provided insights into the role of business angels in supporting early-stage university spinouts. Drawing from personal experience, he emphasized that business angels play a crucial part due to various reasons, including scientific founders' lack of business expertise, the continuous focus on research instead of product development, and the challenges faced by teams in transitioning to the revenue phase. Jan highlighted the benefits of investing in life science spinouts, such as the enormous business potential, contribution to societal challenges, technical competence, solid IP situation, access to university infrastructure, and track record of soft funding.

Vice Dean Brian Vinter of the Faculty of Technical Sciences at Aarhus University discussed future technologies that could create spinouts. He highlighted the availability of significant funding from the European Union for SME-focused projects and Aarhus University's success in attracting EU funding. Vice Dean Vinter emphasized the importance of asking mission-driven questions and adopting a multidisciplinary approach to address complex challenges. He shared examples of potential innovations in energy production, food sustainability, CO2 utilization, and bio-sensors, demonstrating the university's readiness to support spinouts in diverse technical domains.

The keynotes at the Aarhus Investor Summit | Science Edition provided valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities in bringing inventions to the market in the life science sector. The event highlighted the importance of bridging the funding gap, leveraging academic research for startups, engaging business angels, and fostering innovation through a mission-driven approach. The audience gained a deeper understanding of the role of investors and the potential for transformative technologies in the future.

The summit also featured a pitch session with five spinouts from Aarhus University and a panel discussion on the role of business angels in life science investments.

The success of this edition sets the stage for the upcoming Aarhus Investor Summit | Tech Edition, scheduled to take place at Aarhus City Hall on October 5th. If you actively invest in startups, we invite you to sign up here.

19 May 2023

Aarhus Investor Summit 2023 took place May 9 at 13.30-20.00 at INCUBA Navitas.

Aarhus Investor Summit is organised by INCUBA. 

The partner group consists of Aarhus University, Aarhus Municipality, Danske Bank, Danish Business Angels, Danish Export and Investment Fund, Potter Clarkson and DLA Piper.

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