• Date: October 04, 2017

José Luis Cabero was a mentor in CaixaImpulse 2016 and he is a mentor again this year. He is also a consultant, advisor, the interim CEO at Aelix Therapeutics and director at Symbiokraft. Taking advantage of the Selection Panel event on 6-7 June we talked to him to find out more about his role in the programme and his experience with the participants he has mentored so far.

How do you think the last two editions of the programme have gone?

I think it’s moving forward in a very positive way. CaixaImpulse is definitely fulfilling a need in the pre-seed and seed phases of tech transfer, and doing it very well.

How is it fulfilling that need?

By motivating promoters in hospitals, universities and research centres to think about all the elements needed to start transferring innovations, either to buyers through licenses, or to investors by founding a start-up.

What is your main role as a mentor?

It’s a guidance role, and a supporting one, especially in two specific aspects. On the one hand, we help participants identify how to reach from A to B and then to C, and tell them what they will need in the process. On the other hand, we also support them by offering contacts, relevant providers and consultancy, so that they can get help during the process or further down the line.

What strengths do you see among participants?

In terms of the people I’ve had the opportunity to work with, I think they definitely have the makings of entrepreneurs. They genuinely want to create a company or license an asset to be sold, and that’s great because I really do like helping them achieve that.

And what is a common weakness?

Compared with a few years ago, there’s definitely a much greater sense of biocreation and market awareness. Nonetheless, we are still a long way from the market awareness we would like to see. So it’s still a weakness, but I think we are progressing and maturing slowly by surely.

Do you think we need to change our research culture to improve innovation figures?

Yes, and a very important aspect is that we need to understand the standards needed to compete on an international level. We need to know what quality of data would be required by a global company when buying a start-up or licensing a technology, and how reliable the data would need to be. Also, since we are competing on a global scale, we need to have a global awareness of the competitive landscape, so that we can pitch an offer that makes us stand out.

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