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Top tips for (successful) entrepreneurs in health at Tech Spirit Barcelona 2022

Biocat hosted a session titled “Hidden tips for success in healthcare” at the event, featuring a selection of CEOs from startups that are helping scale up the life sciences and healthcare ecosystem in Barcelona. 

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01.12.2022

Tech Spirit Barcelona was back on 30 November and 1 December. This benchmark event for the entrepreneurial and technology community in Barcelona brings together a multitude of experts and professionals with ties to the city for multi-sector content and networking. It featured a solid program of sessions and various growth and dynamization activities for the entrepreneurial community that attracted a record +8,000 participants to Casa Llotja de Mar in Barcelona, where it was held for the third year in a row. 

In order to raise awareness of the quality of entrepreneurial talent, some of the successful business ventures, and to inspire and open up the health sector to the community, Biocat hosted a session on the program called “Hidden tips for success in healthcare”, featuring Neuroelectrics CEO and co-founder Ana Maiques, ONA Therapeutics CEO and co-founder Valerie Vanhooren, Doctomatic CEO and co-founder Frederic Llordachs, Minoryx Therapeutics CEO and co-founder Marc Martinell, MethinksAI CEO Pau Rodríguez and MOWOOT CEO and co-founder Markus Wilhems. Biocat Director of Science Policy and Internationalization Montserrat Daban moderated the discussion.

Diversity in the areas of research, products/services, phases and types of startup (biotechnology, medical technology and digital health) encouraged the exchange of different visions and perspectives on business milestones, the success/failure binomial, key career moments, business strategies and goals, and interesting confessions that marked their respective personal experiences, among others. 

“Everything you do today will affect your future success” began Anna Maiques. “Startups are a rollercoaster,” continued Valerie. “This isn’t a marathon, in the sense of continuity, it’s more like a triathlon, with different phases and milestones you have to understand, learn about and tackle differently,” added Pau Rodríquez. And all three agreed on the importance of following your gut and dreaming big when you’re starting off a business project. 

The importance of talent and teams was another point of consensus and similar views. Frederic Llordachs highlighted that you have to surround yourself with people who will help you go far and believe in your project, while Pau Rodríguez focused on the importance of finding profiles that complement your skills, and not necessarily for senior positions. Finding talent in artificial intelligence, which is a growing field that is still being regulated, is one of the challenges Pau also mentioned. For his part, Marc Martinell emphasized the importance of judging your team as people and in terms of trust, even above their professional qualifications.

One of the topics where the participants had different approaches was failure, with differing opinions on whether you learn more from failure or from success. According to Ana Maiques, entrepreneurs abhor failure and avoid it at all costs. In fact, she believes it is “overrated”. For Markus Wilhems, though, you learn more and get more information from your failures than your successes. Both, however, agreed with Marc Martinell that you can always learn from the little victories, which help keep you going.

In the final moments of the conversation, a recurring topic among startups and entrepreneurs came up: “Where is the money?”, asked Fredi, and everyone took advantage to stress the need for proper funding and investment for good projects. 

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