“It’s like Google Maps for the brain.” This is how Paulo Rodrigues defines his own start-up Mint Labs. This young entrepreneur created cloud-based analysis software that converts neuroimaging into 3D maps of the brain that can be manipulated in real time. The platform, called CloundN, processes these cerebral images captured using various magnetic resonance techniques and helps specialists provide better diagnosis and treatment for patients with brain diseases.
Mint Labs, with offices in Barcelona and Boston, was a finalist for the 2015 EmprenedorXXI Awards and was selected as one of the four start-ups to participate in the first edition of Grants4Apps Coworking Barcelona by Bayer. This program gave entrepreneurs access to personalized mentoring and coaching sessions.
I have always been in between academia and industry, but never quite fitting in either place. While doing the PhD, we were building great algorithms to map and visualize the brain, but these were not getting to users and doctors fast enough. The idea came then, and together with Vesna Prchkovska, my co-founder, who had the same frustrations, we created Mint Labs with the goal of accelerating research.
I would say it was to have a bigger presence in the US. Although what we do is innovative and has great potential, investors in Catalonia (and Europe) are more reticent to big ideas. Things have been slow in that respect around here, but in the US there's a different mindset, and yes, also a bigger pool of investors.
I think the best mindset is to keep on pushing (but not be inflexible).
The short-term goal is to get more key research centers using our platform. With it we expect to grow our database from 200,000 brain scans to 1 million in less than one year.