Meet Day One, startup factory and supporting partner of BLAST 2017
Day One is not only one of the supporting partners of BLAST 2017, but it’s also an high-tech start-up factory, where passionate technology and market specialists nurture the mission to transfer to the market the most promising technologies developed by research centers, universities, and start-ups. That’s why we think it’s important for our attendees, startuppers and aspiring entrepreneurs to learn a little bit more about them through this interview with the CEO Paolo De Stefanis.
Day One was founded in 2013 by Paolo De Stefanis who, after a long-standing experience in technology transfer working with most research centers in Europe, launched this high-tech start-up incubator/accelerator totally focused on customer development and open innovation. Here below his words to explain the goals, mission and work of Day One. Come to BLAST, book your pass now and meet live our great partners: it will be your great chance to growth!
What about the goals of Day One?
Our goal is to nurture visionary researchers and startuppers, who imagine to shape the future with their innovations. There are so many ways to boost the birth and growth of high-tech start-ups, and we have chosen “co-creation” as a way to introduce to researchers a legendary character, too often neglected during the research path: the customer.
Co-creation means involving researchers and startuppers in a path where the product features are defined and validated through a continuous feedback from large industrial customers, which strive to innovate to stay competitive in the global market.
Again, customer is the key word, as these corporates become the first end-users of the product developed by the research team, thus spurring the growth of the nascent start-up company. Differently from other incubation or acceleration programmes, what we do is to engage researchers and PhD students in a long-term development programme, helping them to find solutions to problems experienced by enterprises or the society.
How do you work with the researchers?
If you are a researcher, you don’t need to have a shiny business plan to join us: all you need is a technology which is two steps ahead with respect to the state of the art, and the bravery and boldness to get out of your lab and discover what the world needs, and how to concretely address such needs.
When researchers join us, we work with them to find the so-called “product-market fit”, namely the best application of their research endeavor, by formulating hypotheses that are then validated by one or more large enterprises in our network. When an enterprise “adopts” a researcher, then the codevelopment starts with the objective to develop and test the product with the first large customer.
At the end of this journey, if the product satisfies the users’ needs, the researchers may decide to launch a start-up company: this is when the investors in our network come into play!
So we aim at making research’s results available to the whole society, creating new businesses and employment, and thus fulfill the true meaning of the word ‘innovation’.
How do you make this happen?
We have created ReInVenture, a network that involves the most promising researchers who intend to industrialize technologies focused on 4 business domains: CleanTech, MedTech, FoodTech, and Smart Home Solutions. ReInVenture embodies Day One’s vision and represents a new starting point for us. It brings together the key stakeholders of the innovation eco-system (researchers, businesses and investors) to facilitate technology transfer and create innovative initiatives validated by large companies.
Recently we have been launching a series of meetings among Italian universities to showcase the ReInVenture project to the researchers and explain how it is possible to build up a business journey together. The first goal is to spread a market-oriented approach within the context of the university research, and build a bridge with national and international companies which are constantly looking for innovation. We believe that it is a great opportunity, and the response to the ReInVenture of research centers, businesses, and investors is really enthusiastic and encouraging.