From researchers to entrepreneurs: the first challenge won by GenoGra

The world of scientific research is fascinating and full of challenges. However, unfortunately, too often, researchers still fail to see their work find a practical application in reality. Avoid ending up in this “cauldron of dissatisfaction” was precisely one of the main reasons that led to the birth of GenoGra, an innovative startup that aims to make genomic analysis simpler, faster, and more accessible.

Like many other colleagues, we – founders of GenoGra, four university researchers, and a professor from the Politecnico di Milano, wanted to see the fruits of our research have a real and tangible impact. Founding a company to bring the result of our work to the market seemed like the best choice to us. However, the transition from research to entrepreneurship is a long and complex path that requires a radical change of mentality. Precisely for this reason, we decided to participate in the Switch2Product (S2P) 2021 Innovation Challenge, with the aim of learning how to transform our ideas into a sustainable business.

Switch2Product: The Innovation Challenge

Switch2Product is the innovation program of PoliHub, Technology Transfer Office of the Politecnico di Milano, and Officine Innovazione of Deloitte, created to support the birth of innovative startups, enhancing the fruits of research activity and promoting entrepreneurship. The Innovation Challenge offers startups the opportunity to access the acceleration path offered by PoliHub for free. In particular, the program is made up of different selection phases for which both the ability to present the business idea and the completeness and correctness of various instruments that are crucial to the development of the startup, such as Business Model, Business Plan, Value Proposition and, more generally, Market Analysis.

GenoGra passed all stages of the competition and was selected as one of the 45 semi-finalists who participated in the Innovation Boost Program, a pre-acceleration program of 6 weeks. Then, we were chosen as one of the 25 finalists who obtained access to the acceleration program. The S2P jury also decided to award our team one of the five grants of 30 thousand euros offered by the Politecnico di Milano to manage the initial costs and for the advancement of the TRL.

The Acceleration Program of S2P

The acceleration program offered by PoliHub provided us with all the necessary tools to be able to transform what, initially, was just a technological innovation into a real business idea. Participation in the program allowed us to validate our ideas directly with potential customers, both from the world of research and diagnostics. At the same time, S2P helped us expand our network with important contacts that have great value, both in terms of fundraising and opportunities for future collaborations.

GenoGra’s path in the acceleration program can undoubtedly be an inspiration for many young aspiring entrepreneurs. We joined S2P as a team of researchers united by a strong passion for technology and the desire to fully exploit their efforts; we emerged as a startup with a well-defined corporate vision and a clear business strategy. What are the ingredients for such a change? The precious support of PoliHub and our determination which allows us to face any challenge with enthusiasm!