Experoment, an early stage London-based startup won the Innovation Award in Reload Greece’s 2017/18 Young Entrepreneurs Programme (RG YEP). Their prize consisted of a 5-day tour in the startup ecosystem of Greece, powered by the Corallia Clusters Initiative. In today’s blog we caught up with the co-founders of Experoment to hear how winning the RG YEP Innovation tour helped them to build new connections and progress their startup forward.
Experoment is an innovative startup which aims to harness software cloud technologies and laboratory automation to provide a realistic approach for the development of a fully automated cloud-lab for biotech experiments. We first met the co-founders of Experoment, Anastasios Andronidis (MRes Computer Sci) and Dr. Ioanna Mylonaki (PhD Pharm) back in October 2017 when they participated in the RG YEP Ignite workshop at Imperial College London. After taking part in workshops to develop their idea alongside Reload Greece mentors, the startup (then known as Biobot but since re-named Experoment) was selected to progress to the Accelerate phase of the programme. At the RG YEP matching event in January 2018, Experoment met their dedicated mentor Kyriakos Konstantinidis, Global Director at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. Kyriakos’s extensive experience in the pharmaceutical and entrepreneurship sectors was a good fit with Experoment’s idea, stage and needs. Over the next 6 weeks the team worked together to develop Experoment’s business model and perfect their pitch and at the RG YEP final pitch event in March 2018, the startup won the Innovation Award powered by Corallia.
During the Corallia tour in Greece, Anastasios and Ioanna held 21 meetings with creative biotech startups, flourishing pharma-industry players, experienced early-stage investors and open-minded academics. The team said “We were thrilled to find out that following the EquiFund initiative (public-private partnership that has gathered >€300M), the venture capital and private equity activity is building solid ground to boost Small and Medium Enterprises in Greece. Early stage investors showed interest for Experoment and gave us the motivation to establish a subsidiary company in Greece. This would ideally accelerate the development of our minimum viable product, in conjunction with public funding (Horizon 2020, Cancer Research UK). Given this progress, Experoment would be interested to use the great potential of young computer scientists in Greece and establish a software development branch in the country. In fact, the two software engineers that are currently engaged with Experoment, are based in Athens and Thessaloniki.”
While on the innovation tour, Experoment also interacted with academics from the mechanical engineering department of the National Technical University of Athens and the Biomedical Research Foundation Academy of Athens. They said “We met researchers with brilliant experience and impressive record from the best institutions around Europe and the USA. These people returned to Greece during the period 2005-2010 and have efficiently developed technologies and sustained a high level of education in the country, despite the financial difficulties. Most importantly they are eager to support the efforts for industrial innovation. They actively participate in Horizon 2020 grants that embrace industrial partners from around Europe and are interested to involve Experoment in their proposals. We were also delighted to discover that the National Centre of Scientific Research – Demokritos, is a hub for highly innovative startups targeting European markets. State-of-the-art technologies that were inspired from research projects in Greek biotech-research institutions, have led to the development of growing startups on medical diagnostic tools.”
During the tour, Experoment found out that pharmaceutical companies in Greece focus their research in traditional pharmaceutical development (small molecules, galenics), and have established their role as major European players in the generics market. Experoment aims to become a contract research organisation for cell-based experimental assays for immune-oncology treatments. This type of research currently takes place in multi-national pharmaceutical companies and is of little importance for the Greek market. Nevertheless, biologicals (antibobies, proteins etc) will inevitably become of interest for Greek companies in the next decade.
On reflecting on their Reload Greece and Corallia experience Ioanna said “thanks to Corallia and Reload Greece, Experoment established a solid network of major players of the Greek startup ecosystem. Discussions are currently taking place to establish the roadmap and the framework to launch the development of Experoment’s minimum viable product.”
Since they took part in the Corallia tour, Experoment have been working hard to develop their startup from their base in London. It was great to see the team at our recent annual conference RG Connect18. The team had a stand at the event so they could easily introduce their startup and network with attendees and alongside nine other RG alumni startups, they pitched to an audience and a team of representatives from four of the Greek Funds. They were very positive about how invaluable the day had been in connecting with other entrepreneurs and investors and learning from the many sessions held on the day.
We look forward to following Experoment’s entrepreneurial journey and continuing to support their progress. If you have an early stage idea and you’ve been inspired by Experoment’s RG YEP story, we hope you can join us at one of our upcoming RG YEP events. We kick off the RG YEP Ignite workshops next week with a workshop at The University of Birmingham. Over the following month the programme will be visiting several leading UK Universities – Imperial College London, University of Manchester, London Business School, University of Oxford, University College London and Warwick Business School. Between November and January we will then be running RG YEP Ignite events in Berlin, Munich, Rotterdam, Heraklion, Ioannia, Xanthi, Thessaloniki and New York. We welcome all ideas but we are particularly keen to meet ideas coming from the MedTech, AgriTech, GreenTech, FinTech and Tourism sectors. We look forward to meeting many more aspiring young entrepreneurs and supporting them to develop their business ideas! Hear more about RG YEP and register your free place at an RG YEP Ignite workshop here.