Connecting startups and investors in Ticino
USI Startup Centre
17 February 2023
The second edition of Giornata cantonale delle startup, the Ticino startup day, gathered over 400 participants last week at the Palazzo dei Congressi in Lugano. The event aiming to talk about all things startups, share experiences and network, was organised by the Department of Finance and Economics (DFE) in collaboration with the Agire Foundation and with the participation of USI Startup Centre and other partners from the regional innovation ecosystem.
The event represented a perfect opportunity to facilitate the interaction among different players in the local innovation ecosystem, particularly between innovative entrepreneurs and investors. Thematic talks, presentations and startup pitches enriched the discussion around fundraising and investing in innovative startups from different fields. One of the round tables focused on investments in science-driven innovative projects, typically spinning off from the academic and research environment.
During the panel discussion, curated by USI Startup Centre, Andrea Foglia (Technology Transfer Manager of USI), Silvia Panigone (founder and CEO of ADYA) and Giuseppe Perale (Executive Vice President for Scientific and Clinical Affairs and Co-Founder of I.B.I. SA and Full Professor of Faculty of Biomedical Sciences at USI) covered three key topics: IP management, investment process as well as transfer from research to market and the facilitating role of the ecosystem. The discussion was moderated by Samuele Morales, Incubator Coordinator at USI Startup Centre.
University or research spin-offs are innovative ventures created to bring discoveries and inventions from laboratories to market when these findings have commercial potential. The value that the intellectual property (IP) has in the subsequent development of the startup and its ability to raise funding varies depending on the industry sector. For example, for life science startups, it is fundamental, while in other sectors, the time to market can be more important than a solid IP. However, beyond IP, which impacts the valuation of a startup and its attractiveness to investors, it is important to have a solid team able to build a product through numerous iterations and challenges that can present themselves along the way.
While raising a first financing round is an important milestone, the journey does not stop there. Setting up an appropriate governance structure and building a strong Board of Directors with complementary skills and experience becomes a crucial step in the growth phase of a startup. Discussing all these aspects from three complementary points of view with real-world examples from the current and previous experiences of the speakers provided a holistic understanding of what investing in science-driven startups entails and how to approach it from both the founder and investor perspective.