Turning Ideas into Business: SEP Investors Forum

NET FUTURES hosts a session managed by SEP Investors Forum focused on bridging the gaps between research projects/early stage ideas and business application. The session will target researchers/scientists-wannabe-entrepreneurs, i.e. people working in universities/research units/SMEs that want to understand if their research has a business potential and will explain them how to turn their research project into a successful start-up/spin-off company.

Participants to the session have the chance to understand the criteria investors use in choosing companies to invest into. A selected group of 4 projects has the opportunity to pitch their projects in front of a group of investors and get mentored (“Gym” session, with the goal not to select the best projects rather to educate and provide constructive critique). Pitching session is open to the public, so the researchers and wannabe-entrepreneurs in the audience will benefit from the discussion.

Selection Process and Awards

To apply to the Gym session of SEP Investors Forum as part of Net Futures Conference in Brussels and pitching their solution in front of a group of investors, start-ups have to be based in Europe and are required to submit a proposal by February 10th 2015. It is expected that applicants submit a concrete and specific proposal that describes their solution, the potential market to be addressed, and the team. 10 projects will be selected by the SEP Investors Forum Coordination Team and will be coached by professionals to effectively communicate their value proposition orally and in writing via a short value statement and a 5-min slide presentation to an audience of peers, mentors and investors. Out of these 10, 4 final candidates will be selected which will get the opportunity to pitch at the Gym session of SEP Investors Forum.

Mind the Bridge Foundation will sponsor (dollar value of $5,000) the participation to the Mind the Bridge Startup School, a 3 week acceleration program in San Francisco (http://school.mindthebridge.org), for the best project presented during the Gym session. Mind the Bridge will also offer a partial grant to cover the participation in the Startup School (dollar value of $2,500 each) to the other three selected projects.


The submission for proposals ended February 10. Many thanks to all participants.

The selected SMEs will be invited to the first instruction call by February 20 and to participate to a tailored Webinar (“Pitching Clinique”)  run by Mind the Bridge mentors.

Selected Startup Projects:


March 26th, 2015

10:00.   Introduction

10:05.   Investors Key criteria to evaluate startups

  • Claudio Giuliano – CEO, Innogest
  • Luc Kindt – CEO, Leeward
  • Muriel Uytterhagen – Principal, Gimv

10:20.   Panel discussion

  • Discussion about issues in turning research into business and evaluating research projects
  • Q&A with the audience

10:45.   GYM session

  • Four startups (CLOUDESIRE, Healthcare Futurists, OJOO and OPENTELLY) have the opportunity to give a pitch of 5 min, followed by a Q&A and feedback of approximately 20 min with the VC’s

12:20    Wrap-up

  • Alberto Onetti – SEP Investors Forum

Session speakers

Thomas Dupuydt
Thomas DupuydtVenture Portfolio Manager @ iMinds
Thomas Depuydt is Venture Portfolio Manager at iMinds, in this role he oversees the companies that have graduated from iMinds’ incubation program and supports them in their growth & fundraising efforts. Thomas also represents iMinds in the EIT ICT Labs Access to Finance team.
Before joining iMinds, Thomas was active in management consulting at Accenture & Bain & Company, where he advised investment funds and corporates on strategic and operational matters.
Thomas studied economics at KULeuven and computer sciences at the University of Ghent and also obtained an MBA at Columbia University. In his spare time, he enjoys playing music and reading.
Claudio Giuliano
Claudio GiulianoVenture Capital Entrepreneur / Founder and CEO of Innogest SGR
From 2007 Claudio is Managing Partner at Innogest SGR, the leading VC firm in Italy.
Claudio is the founder of the Italian VC Hub that federates 24 domestic and international Venture Capital funds to foster co-investments. He serves as chairman of the VC Committee at the Italian VC and PE association (AIFI) and is part of several private and public bodies involved in start-up and entrepreneurship development.
Prior to Innogest, Claudio was Associate Director at The Carlyle Group (London), Strategy consultant at Bain&Co (Italy) and Supply Chain Manager at Hewlett-Packard (California and France).
Claudio holds a Summa cum Laude Master of Science in Electronic Engineering from Polytechnic University in Turin, a Summa cum Laude Diplôme d’études approfondies in Microelectronics from l’Institute Nationale Polytecnique in Grenoble (France) and an MBA from INSEAD (Dean’s List), in Fontainebleau (France).
Muriel Uytterhaegen
Muriel UytterhaegenPrincipal at Gimv
Muriel Uytterhaegen holds a master’s degree in Business Economics from the University of Ghent and an MBA from the Vlerick Leuven Ghent Management School. Muriel is currently responsible for the Arkiv fund of Gimv. Gimv Arkiv Tech FundII has an investment focus on innovative early stage companies active in ICT and Cleantech.
She has over 15 years of experience in innovation management, technology transfer, venture capital and the growth of high-tech startups. She started her career as a consultant for BDO before joining the Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School in 1997. There she was responsible for several projects related to innovation and financing spin-offs and one of the initiators of Vlerick Venture Coaching, an initiative to coach young start-ups. In 2000 she was involved in the creation of Octalis, a spin-off from the UCL, active in Security and Audio-Visual Data Traffic Management. Before joining Gimv in 2013 she worked for the Flemish Innovation Fund (VINNOF), a seed capital fund that invests in young innovative companies in Flanders. As Senior Investment Manager she was responsible for ICT and board member of the portfolio companies in that sector (Caliopa, CMOSIS, Dacentec, NMDG, Oxynade, ..).
Luc Kindt
Luc KindtManaging Principal /CEO at Leeward Luxembourg
Luc Kindt is currently Managing Principal and CEO of the private equity group Leeward in Luxemburg, after having been for 6 years the Executive Board & Managing Partner of the venture capital and private equity QAT group, also in Luxemburg. Prior to his engagements in the private equity world, Luc has been a Group Senior Vice President of Barco NV, where he has held several positions, among others, President Global Sales & Services and CEO of Barco Projection Systems. Luc is an independent board member and advisor in various high-tech companies, is a member of IMEC’s Scientific Advisory Board, is an advisor for eHealth to Agoria and is Chairman of the Board of the RVO Society Foundation.
Luc holds a Master in Electronics Engineering from the University of Leuven, Belgium and an MBA from the Vlerick Management School of Ghent, Belgium.
Alberto Onetti
Alberto Onetti Chairman at Mind The Bridge Foundation & Coordinator Startup Europe Partnership
Forward-looking, dividing his time between Italy and the United States, Alberto works on bridging technology to business.

Alberto Onetti is a seasoned serial entrepreneur with core competences in corporate strategy and finance. Among the others, he founded, together with Fabrizio Capobianco, Funambol, Inc., a mobile personal cloud company based in Silicon Valley with R&D in Europe.

Alberto is Professor of Business Administration and Entrepreneurship. In 2009 he has been appointed as Chairman of the Californian Mind the Bridge Foundation, its mission is to inspire, educate and stimulate a new generation of young European entrepreneurs and create startups inspired by the methods and successes achieved in the Silicon Valley. Through the seed venture fund Mind the Seed, whose he is Partner, Alberto concretely invests in the best startups to create successful international ventures.

Since 2014 Alberto has been selected by European Commission to help drive the Startup Europe Partnership (SEP), the first integrated platform to support growth and sustainability of European companies.

Alberto Onetti has authored and co-authored insofar over 100 publications, regularly blogs and writes for some important newspapers, and frequently tweets (@aonetti).