Scientists working with investors – a mutually beneficial cooperation
A common language and mutually complementary competencies: this is the basis for a successful relationship (at least in the business reality). In our work with startupers, the scientists are the party bringing in their sophisticated knowledge and ideas, while Black Pearls VC contributes with business experience, contacts and investments, creating the environment necessary for productive scientific activity.
Scientists who want to try their hand in business can take their first steps in friendly environment, with various innovation support programmes introduced on state or university levels and quite well developed and dynamic start-up ecosystem in Poland.
But developing commercially oriented research activities in a competitive world, attracting investors and clients is an entirely different story. Commercializing R&D requires entrepreneurial approach, which can only be acquired by learning from business experience. Scientists often need committed business guidance and advice of someone who understands them and the specific nature of their work.
With scientific background of the experts and many years of cooperation with scientists, Black Pearls VC has perfected the procedure of innovative R&D project support. We know what business models work best for given projects from particular field of science and work out an optimum development plan for each case. We are on the same wavelength with scientists and we know what conditions they need for successful development of their projects. Twe two cases below are just samples of our investment portfolio projects showing Black Pearls VC succesful cooperation with scientists..
From Poland to space
Krzysztof Kanawka, Ph.D. Eng., a specialist in space technology, having graduated in Germany, obtained doctorate at Imperial College London, took a postdoctoral training in France, and finally decided to come back to Poland. He wanted to be something more than a cog in a huge corporate machine. Together with his friends, he set up Kosmonauta.net, and the company quickly gained its first contacts. This is when he began his cooperation with Black Pearls VC. As the fund supported some space startups at that time already, a new enterprise was born. Today Krzysztof Kanawka is the president of Blue Dot Solutions, a company dealing mainly with commercial applications of satellite data. The company also won several projects from the European Space Agency and Horizon 2020, which is the largest EU research and innovation financing programme in history. Blue Dot Solutions has been recognised as the most promising enterprise in space business at Disrupt Space, a prestigious conference held in April 2016 in Bremen.
For better life quality
Another priority area for Black Pearls VC are technologies improving life quality (Life Quality Technologies or LQT). In this field, seemingly simple solutions can make a big difference, provided that the problem addressed is well-researched and relevant. Piotr Merks, a scientists-pharmacist, worked in the UK for 10 years studying the problem of improper dosage of medicines. He proved what many of us experience daily: 21% of patients don’t receive any information on how to use their drugs and 52% lose their notes with doctor’s instructions. Piotr Merks came with an idea of special stickers (which he called lekolepka) to be placed on drug packaging. The stickers contain pictograms, which through a system of symbols communicate clear a message about the dosage (e.g. to be taken before sleep), the amount of the medicine, directions and contraindications concerning such issues as interactions with some foods. The project attracted the attention of Black Pearls VC, which used the idea as a foundation for Piktorex and then helped the new company obtain 1 million Polish zloty from BRIdge Alfa, a programme run by the National Centre for Research and Development. Piotr Merks took the post of Piktorex manager and could come back to his country to continue work on lekolepka at Collegium Medicum UMK.