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5 Biopôle members in the new cohort of LeadiNNG to Scale-Up 2024

An increasing number of innovative firms have been chosen for the third edition of the LeadiNNg to Scale-Up program, which started on January 23, 2024. Among them, 5 are part of the Biopôle community: Aspivix, Limula, Genknowme, Roumai medical and Volumina. A great turnout that we can only be proud of!

IMD and Innovaud have been supporting startups for many years through initiatives such as the IMD Startup Competition and Scale Up Vaud programs. In 2022, the longtime partner institutions decided to launch the LeadiNNg to Scale Up program to fill a gap in Switzerland’s innovation support ecosystem.

“After getting their business off the ground and completing their all-important first funding round, tech startup founders need targeted support to kick-start the scale-up process, recruit talent, and get their company ready to grow fast,” explained Patrick Barbey, Innovaud Director.

Thanks to targeted support and courses by IMD professors and serial entrepreneurs, IMD and Innovaud are aiming to propel startups to scale-ups with even better support. Since the first edition, already 26 companies have gone through the program. The program has brought numerous benefits to entrepreneurs in order to meet these challenges as explains Frank Bonnet, co-founder and CEO of Bionomous: “It’s a great way to avoid key mistakes and have better chances to have great success in your company”.

LeadiNNg to Scale-Up 2024

The 3rd cohort of LeadiNNG to Scale-up was launched on 23 January 2024. 16 companies represented by their CEOs and co-founders gathered for the first session on the IMD campus.

We are proud to attract talents from across Switzerland, and we are also pleased to observe a growing participation of women CEOs

Patrick Barbey, Innovaud Director

Liesbeth Ceelen, PhD, CEO of BioLizard, elaborated: “André’s impressive history of accomplishments in pharma, biotech, and consulting, together with his demonstrated success in company expansion, clearly establishes him as the ideal candidate for the Chairman of the Board role. I am greatly looking forward to the chance to continue working alongside him. Having recently announced our Swiss subsidiary, alongside our presence in the US, the Netherlands, and Belgium, André’s appointment to Chair of the BioLizard Board of Directors comes at an ideal time to support our ongoing international expansion, and our service commitment to partners and clients across borders.”

André van de Sande said: “In my capacity as external advisor, I got to know BioLizard in the past three years as a very dynamic and rapidly growing consultancy company in the bioinformatics, data analytics, and data governance space. I am impressed by the quality of the team and by what has already been achieved. I look forward to contributing my knowledge and experience as Chairman to help bring BioLizard to the next phase of their development.”

5 Biopôle members for LeadiNNG to Scale-up 2024

The first lesson was different with the addition of a team building afternoon outside the IMD classroom to spend time together and get to know each other from the start. Fostering a trustful connection between the participants is key and is developing over the course of the 6-month program. Innovaud also organizes special meetups for CEOs such as the MastermiNNd to keep and develop the connection.

“With the kick-off session behind us in this 3rd edition, my sense is that Innovaud and IMD are honing our skills at finding, choosing and building relationships with companies that may be the future of Switzerland. I was very pleased with the depth of the conversations in our first session”, develops Jim Pulcrano, Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship and Management at IMD.

The 10 sessions, spread over 6 months, cover key topics with contributions from experienced entrepreneurs. Some examples :

· Scaling for customers: understanding the value proposition that your current and future target customers are seeking, with the scaleup expert Roland Siebelink from the Silicon Valley
· Your team and scaling: how to build and incent a scalable organization, with Michel Jaccard from id est avocats and Jean-Marc Wismer, former COO Mindmaze
· Change leadership: understanding the psychology and process of change management, with Javier Bello, former CEO Imverse

For startups, the benefits are numerous: they learn about how to scale from leading entrepreneurship professors at IMD, gain access to a network of successful scale-ups and entrepreneurs, become part of a community of ambitious founders facing similar challenges, and receive a certificate of completion recognized by IMD and Innovaud.

By founders, for founders

Founding and scaling a startup can be a lonely process, and it can be helpful for founders to know that their peers are facing the same challenges. “We did a lot of research to try to understand what these scaleups needed,” explained Pulcrano. “We looked at the data we had from more than two decades of running the IMD Startup Competition and interviewed founders who were already successfully scaling.

A crucial aspect as explains Eugenia Balysheva, CEO Dotphoton and participant of LeadiNNg to Scale-Up 2024: “I am happy to be part of a course specifically designed for founders at the scale up stage. It’s like having a navigation system on the challenging journey of business growth. The LeadiNNg to Scale Up course not only provides the necessary toolkit to manage rapid expansion, but also offers invaluable insights from those who’ve successfully navigated similar paths. It’s an opportunity to learn, network and prepare for the unique challenges of scaling a business. It’s about empowering startup founders to turn their vision into a sustainable and thriving enterprise”.

“From what we’ve seen, in Switzerland there are many programs for early-stage companies, often teaching the fundamentals of pitching and fundraising, but we found few were targeted at ventures that had already raised money and had a product in the market with multiple clients and seemed poised for fast growth on a global scale,” concludes Jim Pulcrano.

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