- On November 30, 2016
- academic labs, AcademicLabs, founding a startup, startup investments, startup investors, startup programmes, startups, Telenet Kickstart, telenet kickstart programme
AcademicLabs introduces the sharing economy to the world of research
AcademicLabs brings matchmaking to academia and the industry. The online platform where research teams can explore and share their expertise, infrastructure and services to establish collaborations with other research groups and the industry, won the 2014-2015 Battle of Talents competition. The victory earned AcademicLabs a wildcard for Telenet Kickstart, powered by Idealabs. From then on, there was no stopping co-founders Arne Smolders and Jonas Anseeuw: they are now providing consulting services for the likes of Procter & Gamble. Curious to hear all about AcademicLabs’ future plans, Telenet Kickstart got in touch with Arne.
Mapping the academic world
“AcademicLabs is doing great: we have created dozens of matches, identified a new market opportunity in R&D communities, and mapped 80% of Flanders’ research groups, in addition to thousands of Chemistry and Healthy Ageing Research groups worldwide.” Moreover, Wim Vanhaverbeke, a world authority in Open Innovation, has become a member of AcademicLabs’ board of advice. He strongly believes that AcademicLabs can bridge the gap between companies and universities. Arne: “In five years’ time, we want to unite hundreds of thousands of research teams and companies all over the world and be a key player in a much bigger ecosystem.”
The Brewers of Europe and other opportunities
Arne is grateful for the opportunities Telenet Kickstart offered. “We made it through the past year thanks to this financial injection. On top of that, we were able to settle a lot of practical and administrative issues in cooperation with Deloitte and ING.” Through Telenet Kickstart, Arne and Jonas also got plenty of user input and expanded their network. For instance, The Brewers of Europe are interested in joining the platform to bring all European brewers and brewery research teams together in one place to exchange knowledge and start collaborations.
Keep an open mind and think big
Interested in founding a startup yourself? Perk up your ears, because Arne has a few tips he wants to share with you: “Everyone keeps telling you to focus, but I found that it’s more important to start with an open mind and to discuss your ideas as widely as possible. Integrating input from diverse stakeholders right from the start allows you to come up with a concept that is much more complete.”
Arne continues: “In addition, it’s important to get out of your comfort zone as quick as you can. If ‘cold calling’ is not your thing, set yourself a deadline and report to an outsider. Lastly, Pieter Gunst, the co-founder of LawGives in Silicon Valley, taught me that, if you’re looking for investments, you should ask for advice first. Once you’ve impressed your conversation partner, mention that you’re looking for investors. Nine times out of ten, you get a satisfactory answer…”.
PS: AcademicLabs is looking for one more fan or business angel to participate alongside multiple investors in their current seed round…