LBG Innovator’s Road Programme
The Innovator’s Road Programme focuses on the specific issues of start-ups from the academic environment. During the programme, founders with scientific backgrounds will acquire the entrepreneurial knowledge and skills necessary for founding and scaling new businesses. The overall focus lies on the Austrian-wide group composition and a strong integration of international mentor and expert know-how. All costs for participants (excluding travel expenses) are covered by the University of Graz. The time commitment is approx. 20 hours/month.
Technology patents and spin-offs coming out of university research have a significant impact on regional and social development. Compared to international highly recognized universities, Austria’s spin-off figures have not yet reached the same level by far. Studies show that one major success factor for spin-offs out …
Technology patents and spin-offs coming out of university research have a significant impact on regional and social development. Compared to international highly recognized universities, Austria’s spin-off figures have not yet reached the same level by far.
Studies show that one major success factor for spin-offs out of universities is the entrepreneurial knowledge of the founder. Most of the times scientists have insufficient market knowledge to develop a proficient roadmap until market entry.
Based on the overall aim to support scientists in becoming successful entrepreneurs, the Innovator’s Road Programme first kicked off in 2019. The Innovator’s Road Programme intends to expand the instruments in the direction of an entrepreneurial skillset in science focussing on Austrian-wide projects and a strong international connection.
Within ten months the founders are mentored and trained according to a proven method from the Cambridge cluster, which was further developed and adapted by the programme partners. A range of training sessions build the framework of the programme, allowing to zoom out regularly and see the big picture of the whole …
Within ten months the founders are mentored and trained according to a proven method from the Cambridge cluster, which was further developed and adapted by the programme partners. A range of training sessions build the framework of the programme, allowing to zoom out regularly and see the big picture of the whole start-up journey. Thirty-five hours of individual mentoring sessions with a dedicated team of mentors provide a solid foundation in order to work with the founders on their challenges. Through the vast network of the programme partners the founders gain access to experts, investors and corporates across the UK-DACH region and have the possibility to establish resourceful relationships. Building on the advantages of a strong peer-to-peer connection diverse initiatives take place.
The Target Group
The Innovator’s Road was developed for (university) spin-offs, mainly from the STEM field, that are dealing with the opportunities and risks of commercializing research-based projects. The goal is to help entrepreneurs successfully make the transition from prototype to early product or service with a sustainable business model …
The Target Group
The Innovator’s Road was developed for (university) spin-offs, mainly from the STEM field, that are dealing with the opportunities and risks of commercializing research-based projects. The goal is to help entrepreneurs successfully make the transition from prototype to early product or service with a sustainable business model. The target group of the program is scientific staff or founders related to an Austrian university and non-university research institutions who have developed a prototype (lab-environment) and want to take the step towards a product with a business model. The maturity level of the projects develops around cTRL 4-6. Founders do not necessarily have to already have a team or a formally established company.
- Mature projects from Technology/Communication Readiness Level (TRL/CRL) 4-6. This means that the product, service or technology is in the testing and refinement phase, already proven, or even already deployed with early customers in real commercial environments. The aim of the programme is to get to TRL/CRL 7, which means that the product or service is ready for testing in real user environment.
- Connection to an Austrian research institution
Voices from the Ecosystem
The programme offers high quality input from serveral experts from the UK and D-A-CH region for university spin-offs. It closes an important gap for researchers in Austria who want to learn how to make a transition from academia to business successfully. A significant amount of the innovation a country produces is created by means of university research. Spin-offs are of great importance for the entrepreneurial ecosystem and therefore also of great interest for investors who should all welcome programmes like the IRP.
We initiated this programme because we want to strengthen the link between research and the economy. Researchers usually have some catching up to do in terms of entrepreneurial knowledge and access to relevant contacts. That is why it was important to us to not only provide these aspiring entrepreneurs with tailored support, but to also give them access to a huge network: Through IECT and NVS, the LBG Innovator‘s Road offers access to international experts, investors and companies. The programme brings together like-minded people from different research institutions and gives them an advantage that can make the difference between success or failure in business.
LBG Innovator`s Road has a clear focus – finding best practice models for academic spin-offs. I was highly impressed about the quality of the selected projects with ambitious and well informed founder teams. The fact that founders from different academic institutions located across Austria team up and share their experience contributes great value to the projects. Moreover, the structured program and roadmap deliver high-end practical knowledge and guidance for spin-offs which is key for academic researchers.
Lamin Ben Hamdane
A lot of innovations that impact Infineon´s business in the hardware space in general and semiconductor technologies in particular are driven by deep tech startups. These companies emerge after years of research in universities and other institutions. Infineon supports scientists with entrepreneurial spirit through organizations and programmes like the Innovator`s Road to bring their innovations to market and to cooperate with them!
The structure applied in the Innovator’s Road Programme is based on the Triple Chasms Principle, a scientific method from the Cambridge cluster and further developed by the programme partners. This method provides a powerful tool to identify the key challenges that need to be in the focus of the founder’s attention at certain levels along the commercialization journey.
Design and Structure
- Systematic approach based on 12 vectors and their relevance depending on the maturity level of the project.
- The modules and tools enable the participants to build up strong social capital as well as to foster entrepreneurial capability building and provide a longlastig methodological sparring tool.
- The authors Uday Phadke and Shailandra Vykarnam are playing an active role within the LBG Innovator’s Road programme.
Designed to impart knowledge
in an interactive way
(not expected to be held online)
- Market Space
- Customer Definition
- Corporate & Start-up Cooperation
- Business Model
- Marketing & Sales
- Organizational Structure
Dates and content subject to change.
1-to-1 sessions for individual support > 30hrs
Several expert workshops within the programme
period depending on the participants' needs
Connect with relevant players in the ecosystem
over the course of the programme
Opportunity to exchange and share
knowledge and experience
At a Glance
- Individual evaluation of a start-up including the creation of a roadmap for the further process
- Tailor-made (virtual) workshops that use state-of-the-art start-up methods
- Individually tailored 1-to-1 coaching and mentorings including a key contact person
- Participation in events, access to markets, financing and expertise as well as concrete matchings with established companies
- Peer-2-Peer Learning within the cohort and with other founders
- LBG, NVS and I.E.C.T. are embedded in the scientific and economic environment and thus offer the advantages of both worlds
- Comprehensive support for start-ups on the way to marketability
- The programme requires a high level of commitment from the participants. Expect to spend approx. 20 hours a month on your entrepreneurial journey.
Experts & Workshop Coaches
The LBG Innovator’s Road Programme developed by I.E.C.T. With the I.E.C.T. – Hermann Hauser and New Venture Scouting aims to expand “Entrepreneurial Skills” in science.
Within the programme, mentors and experts address the particularities of start-ups from the academic environment. This way tailor-made content and individual support enables the development of the founder and his start-up idea at the right time.
At the end of the programme the projects should reach TRL / CRL 5 or respectively should have moved forward at least one mTRL / cTRL based on their starting point. (Test setup is described in environment)
Investment and Cooperation Readiness
Start-ups should be able to secure funding or start a relevant partnership that is necessary to launch the product on the market, respectively to reach the next milestone.
The application is open for all projects that have a connection to an Austrian university or research institution, have a working prototype, and want to enter the market.
- Fill out our application form
Please be prepared to answer the following questions and upload these documents.
- Letter of Motivation
- Pitch Deck (if available)
- Business Model
- Product Proposition
- IP and Funding
- Application Interviews:
Will be Online. More dates tba.
- Jury Session
You will get an official confirmation at the beginning of June 2023.
The programme is free of charge for the participants (excl. travel expenses, accommodation and meals) and is financed by the funds of the University of Graz.
participants batch 2
The 10 participants of the second cohort show a broad variety of different institutional backgrounds from the scientific environment as well as different fields of research. This compilation allowed all involved players to benefit from a highly interactive learning environment and fostered a steep learning curve.
Climate change is no longer a debate but a real urgency. City planners, developers, architects and municipalities need to understand the impact of our buildings on the environment and make resilient plans for the future. However, environmental simulations are very complex, time consuming and not accessible. InFraReD is a platform for resilient city planning based on Artificial Intelligence. It uses state of the art machine learning models to provide real-time simulation prediction on complex environmental simulations, such as wind, solar radiation and thermal comfort. InFraReD’s models are trained on large simulation data sets to be able to give instant feedback on design decisions, minimizing the complexity and resources required and making advanced environmental simulations accessible to all. InFraReD introduces a “Simulation As A Service” model, as it provides simulation results to end users (through its web app), CAD software (through CAD integration) as well as other web platforms, creating an open integration model that expands its accessibility.
„InFraReD – An Intelligent Framework for Resilient Design“
gnista.io - empowering people to work with IoT Data in order to improve processes.
Working with IoT Data is complex, inefficient and takes highly skilled data scientists and developers and therefore often doesn’t pay off. This results in only 20% of already existing data currently being used to improve processes. With the amount of data produced growing fast, less talent available and the increasing need for constant efficiency improvement this problem becomes extremely pressing for energy providers, manufacturers etc. gnista.io empowers non-data scientists to get valuable insights from sensor data in a production environment with the ultimate goal to reduce emissions and costs as well as increase control. Semantic ontologies keep data organised and make it available for any data driven solutions customers want to implement. This makes gnista.io the foundation of working efficiently with IoT Data and scaling data driven use cases in the industry. The SaaS is currently working as closed-beta. The beta version will be published in autumn this year. Curious minds can already sign up to our waitlist. These sign ups are currently growing by 20% each month.
„gnista.io- empowering people to work with IoT Data in order to constantly improve processes and reduce emissions.“
The invention of the patented OF2i® technology – a revolutionary method to characterize particles and samples in the nanometer range on-line and continuously based on microfluidics and photonics – led to the foundation of the deep tech university spin-off BRAVE Analytics in 2020 in Graz.
The main target of the start-up is the translation of the patented OF2i® technology into sensor platforms which are able of automated on-line, real time, 24/7 continuous, statistically relevant, number-based nano particle characterization directly integrable into the manufacturing processes. OF2i® offers much deeper and representative live insights into the nano world compared to conventional reference measurement methods: Being still a bottleneck in production processes, the measurement and characterization of nanoparticles in real-time drastically gains relevance.Pharmaceutical, biotech & medical products, cosmetics, paper, paints, surface coatings, lubricants and many more can radically be optimized by applying nano principles. BRAVE Analytics provides hardware and software solutions as well as servicing and license models.
Unveil new biophysical insights to improve products in life sciences and beyond.
Tissue engineering human organs is the ultimate frontier in medicine. These tissues are fabricated using 3D bioprinting, whereby biocompatible materials and cells are deposited layer by layer. Increasing initiatives in the past years have given rise to a broad range of such tissue models, such as skin, bone, cartilage, liver and kidney. However, the lack of full automation in 3D bioprinting processes impacts the consistency of the process, including batch-to-batch variation and machine-to-machine variation. Together with an unclear regulatory path, the adoption of using 3D bioprinted constructs by pharmaceutical companies is hindered. Biomotion offers 3D bioprinters with real-time process monitoring that minimize process variation. This in-line quality management system reduces the amount of failed prints and enables the validation of such constructs against future regulatory guidelines.
Tissue manufacturers benefit from a data-based decision making process enabling the repeatable fabrication of human tissues.
We enable consistent 3D bioprinting to repeatably produce high-quality human tissue models, accelerating the uptake of bioprinting in research and clinical applications.
Invasive pests such as the Asian fruitfly Drosophila suzukii constitute a big problem for viticulture as they infest young grapes and can cause crop damages by more than 80%. Our start-up project, LinoEx, aims to develop and commercialize botanical pesticides against various pest insects as an alternative to synthetic pesticides. The use of synthetic pesticides is problematic as they are harmful for humans and can cause severe environmental problems. Our main customers are organic winegrowers. Our botanical pesticides are based on natural oils that are effective against specific target organisms but harmless for the environment.The current market potential for biological pesticides within Austria and the EU is very high, due to the steady increase in organic agriculture and the high awareness of customers for sustainable pest control. We aim to cooperate B2B with distributors to supply organic farmers with our products for a safe and sustainable agriculture.
Botanical pesticides for a safe and sustainable agriculture
Traditional large-scale surfactants rely on either fossil fuel or virgin imported feedstocks such as palm oil or coconut oil. A paradigm shift is on the horizon, as manufacturers are now seeking to use renewable resources, with sustainability being the major market driver in Europe and NA. We at RenSurf envision to introduce a novel concept of superior performing scalable bio-based surfactants fully derived from local waste streams. The approach starts from a bottom-up disruptive design combined with fundamental catalysis and green chemistry to achieve better reactivity, less chemical waste, and better performance compared to the commercially available competitors. It is of utmost importance that our technology is focusing on neglected waste streams, while successfully competing with fossilfuel-based surfactants. Our future customers are surfactant manufacturers and product formulators in field of personal care, detergents, and agrochemicals. Hence, the primary revenue stream will come from contracted-/collaborative research and generating/selling IPs.
Superior performance – clean conscience
Can our smartphone smell?
BEAR technologies offer a new technology to enable electronical devices such as smartphones to perceive odorants in their environment and enables a totally new field of applications. From lifestyle products to industrial fabrication - odorants are omnipresent but we do not utilize them yet.
Our developed fabrication method paired with machine learning and edge computing on an IoT device mimics the mechanism of the human nose in a reliable, fast and low-priced way. The goal is to achieve the first odorant database and a globally spread sensor network to allow for tailor made solutions for our partners in food-, lifestyle-, logistics-, automotive- & health industries as well as security aspects. A concept of replaceable and scale-able sensor-units together with the odorant database and unprecedent knowledge in odorant sensing guarantees a continuous revenue and binds business partners to BEAR technologies – be part of the art of smell sensing.
new challenges create new solutions and create new markets
Epoxy resins are incredibly versatile plastics. Boat building, automotive and aerospace industries, construction companies, there is hardly a trade that can do without this curing plastic. Usually, the plastic consists of two components. They must be mixed in an additional working step in a precisely specified ratio and then have only a very small processing window. SpeedPox® offers ready-mixed epoxy resins that can be used immediately and have an unlimited pot life. Upon a heat or UV stimulus on demand, a patented self-propagating mechanism is triggered which helps to save time, energy and costs. The curing technology is applicable on every common epoxy resin on the market and the transfer to it is easily obtainable. Conventional curing in large industrial ovens can thus be bypassed completely. The SpeedPox® systems can also be used for composite materials and even under water.
We are currently executing numerous development contracts with strategic customers. Our future business model should be based on the development, adaptation, production and sale of special epoxy resins.
SpeedPox® offers innovative and ultra-fast curing epoxy systems with unlimited pot life which helps to save time, energy and costs.
Hot water is the main source of heat consumption for newly built or renovated houses. Every day, more than 22,000,000 m3 of still hot water is sent to the sewage system in European households alone. The key role play showers, accounting for about 70 % of the total hot water demand. This changes with the SOPHIE smart shower, which integrates a heat exchanger that transfers the heat of the warm outflowing water (35°C) to the cold inflowing fresh water (10°C). SOPHIE also integrates its own heater so that the module operates without connection to an otherwise inefficient central hot water system. SOPHIE is designed to fit into every bathroom, allowing the pre-installed technology to disappear in a wall-integrated shower unit. Designed for easy planning and quick installation under one hour, SOPHIE significantly increases the work efficiency. SOPHIE sets new standards for hotels, sports facilities (payback in 1st year) or households (payback 5-7 years) by saving up to 80% of hot water energy costs and thus CO² emissions without sacrificing comfort.
participants batch 1
In the first batch 2019 / 20 ten projects from various Austrian institutions and Universities were part of it. Find out about their experiences:
Autism & Epilepsy are devastating genetic neurodevelopmental disorders affecting 2% of thepopulation. Understanding the roots of each patient’s disorder is exceptionally challengingand treatment options are very limited. By analyzing the patient’s own derived brain cells ournovel approach allows precisely diagnosing the disorder type as well as generating in-vitrodisorder models to develop personalized medicines. The resulting comprehensive datasetspermit advanced computational analytics to identify novel molecular drug targets and thecorresponding patient-specific disorder models enable high-throughput drug screening.Precision disorder diagnostics combined with personalized drug development creates anoptimistic future for patients with Autism & Epilepsy.
„Together with the mentors we created a business concept and devised a plan to put it intopractice.“
Many drugs have to be administered to patients via injections. NovoArc’s technology makesit possible to deliver many of those drugs orally via a pill and makes existing pills muchmore efficient. NovoArc developed and patented a biotechnological production process forspecial lipids, for encapsulating drugs, which protects the drugs from acid and enzymes inthe stomach and allows efficient uptake in the colon. NovArc already has a potential customerand their prototype will be ready by the end of 2020. They are currently incorporated in TUWien, have funding until 2021 and will found the spin-off NovoArc GmbH next year.
„In numerous 1:1 sessions with experts from the field, we learned to focus on the importantthings for starting a deeptech spin-off, which allowed us to boost our technology readinesslevel. Entering the big network of the LBG, IECT and NVS is a great asset and it was also veryuseful to get to know peers, who are at a similar stage and who face similar challenges. Thisprogram really helps scientist to bring the technology to the market and to learn necessaryskills, which are not taught at university, but are vital to founding a successful spin-offcompany.“
THT Biomaterials GmbH, a spin off from LBI Trauma, creates an affordable, personalizedmedicine! NOW is the time to switch from unprecise and unethical animal-materials in TissueEngineering and Regenerative Medicine (TERM) to more efficient and safer human-materialbased biomaterials from placenta, that is globally available in consistent quality, without anyethical issues! THT Biomaterials GmbH will launch its first two products around July 2020at the Vienna Biocenter Startup Labs (Vienna): hpS and COL-1/3, with many applicationsfor TERM (2D/3D/tissue ink/Lab-on-Chip/IVD/MPs). This novel Platform Technology willsoon make cell culture research more ethical, more precisely, and accelerate TERM! Humanplacenta: a “first aid kit”, rather than „medical waste“.
„Great program, 110 % fit to my current situation! Helped me through my pre-seed phase alot! Great network, although not listed/reflected yet for the participants. Great mentoring –power hours! Great support from IECT and NVS. All milestones reached: funding (FFG Basis+ small grants). Company foundation planned! Next milestone: product launch summer 2020.Most valuable thing: combination of the programme partners culture: focus & agile. I amalready missing it, how will we stay in contact after July 2020?“
PreGenerate uses our base technology of microfluidics, to offer platform solutions in arthritis(Organ-on-Chip) and viral detection (Lab-on-Chip). We believe that these diseases can bestbe disrupted by focusing on the individual patients, in a scalable and relevant way.
„In this program, we were so fortunate to work with amazing facilitators and gain access totheir outstanding networks in life science and entrepreneurship. We‘ve been able to expandour asset portfolio as a company and collaborate with corporate partners much faster thanwe ever imagined! “
CellEctric Biotech aims to advance invention into an innovative, high-throughputprototype, termed smart electrodynamic filter (smartEDF), which is suitable for industrial implementation. The first application for this smartEDF will be the fully automated, fast,and cost-effective isolation of pathogens from blood. This development, considered by the diagnostics industry as a „key enabling technology“, is to become the basis for an AITspin-off. Further patented applications, which have already been tested within the laboratory setting, will be transferred to the smartEDF, thus enabling future diversification strategies. The CellEctric Biotech project is envisioned to act as the trigger for a new generation of electrodynamic applications in biotechnology.
„The tremendous and highly professional approach of the Innovator‘s Road program helped meto get a clear picture of my path ahead. In-depth seminars, inspirational peer discussions andproductive 1-on-1 mentor sessions in combination with the relaxed atmosphere have provento be invaluable support when tackling the translational process from science to business.My biggest take-aways are the results gained by reflection with others, to know whom toask when help is needed and to get my business plan locked and loaded!“
Novasign supports pharma corporates to speed up the process development process of bothnew drugs and biosimilars. A hybrid modeling approach is chosen which combines state ofthe art machine learning tools with engineering process knowledge. As a result, the processdevelopment timelines and costs are significantly reduced while consistent manufacturingquality is granted.
„Realization how others deal with the same hurdles to overcome“
Evolve is a chip-level AI start-up specialized in machine learning, audio and acoustics. Bycombining AI with low resource computations, we have created powerful technology suitedfor the consumer electronic-, health- and automobile sector. Evolve is technology leader inacoustic noise cancellation. By learning acoustic sound landscapes, we remove unwantedbackground noise, enabling a crystal-clear sound experience when using your mobile, tablet,hearing-aid or when driving a car. In particular, traffic-, and other environmental noisesources, as well as radio and overlapping speech are filtered in real time. Our technologyadds a new value proposition – crystal clear communication - to your product. We helpcustomers worldwide boosting their revenue streams, designing communication to be moreeffective and efficient. In particular, our cloud, edge and upcoming chip-level solutionshelp customers to create noise robust and echo-free consumer electronic devices enablingnoise robust communication and noise robust speech recognition in adverse environments.Located in Graz, Austria/Europe, Evolve wants to position itself as market leader in noisecancellation, speech synthesis and edge ASR audio technology.
„The Innovator`s Road programme helped us to turn our vision into a realizable business case.“
The company designs softwares that allow autonomous drone swarm path planning, avoidingdeadlocks and collisions.
„I have learnt a lot about business planning. With the help of my mentors I was able tofurther clarify my idea. My mentors provided a large network of contacts in the marketwhich was also very valuable. I was able to meneuver through the problem of lack of marketinterest by deciding to perform consulting jobs for the companies of interest. So far, I havebeen successful to acquire one such job. I am still looking for a possibility for market entry.“
Gathered around professionals with decades of experience in engineering, innovation andtunnel maintenance, we are making sure to deliver high quality, automated, robotic solutionsfor tunnel drainage maintenance. Our first product is a novel automated system that allowsfor more efficient and safer maintenance of tunnel drainage. It uses a combination of severalnovel technologies to reduce the hazard to the employees, passengers and transported goodswhile reducing the costs related to drainage maintenance to railway, highway and infrastructureoperators. Our vision is to enable more efficient, safer and more environment-friendlymaintenance of tunnels through innovative, technology-based and sustainable solutions.
„Innovator‘s Road equipped us with tools and network to better manage our company DrainBotthrough the soon anticipated growth phase. As the programme shows a strong focus on thefounder`s needs I could gain input as well on CartiScaff, another project I am involved with.“
AutoMold increases the productivity of industrial manufacturing with an intelligentconstruction software for molds. Through automated design of different types of molds,AutoMold significantly reduces both cost and time of mold design – an otherwise laboriousmanual process. It not only increases the financial viability of small series productionand prototyping but also enables a new class of individualized products. AutoMold is aprotected invention by computer science researchers at IST Austria. It is currently developedinto a professional software solution together with international partners in mold-basedmanufacturing for various industrial sectors.
„Especially for a small technically oriented team, the program offers guidance on many aspectsof startup creation. Together with the mentoring by diverse experts, this helps greatly withfocusing efforts towards the things that matter.“
Here you find a social media kit and an info sheet with the most important information about the programme to download. Please feel free to use these materials to spread the word about the LBG Innovator’s Road Programme!
You want to learn more about the programme? You are interested in getting to know the start-ups or want to share your experience with the founders? Feel free to get in touch with the LBG Innovator's Road Team.firstname.lastname@example.org