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The startup journey begins with the search for disruption

Interview with Dr. André Catana, Head of Startup Unit at EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne).

Co-founder of the EPFL Technology Transfer Office (in 1992, the first in Switzerland) and currently Head of the Startup Unit at EPFL, Dr. André Catana helps guide and motivate entrepreneurs through the startup process.

What’s your favorite part about your job?

The promise of potential. I love it when I see that spark – that different way of approaching a problem, that search for disruption. I’m lucky enough to experience it every day as I guide and motivate entrepreneurs through the first steps of their startup journey.

What part of your role in the EPFL eco-system are you most proud of?

The Startup Unit is a first point of call for exceptional minds who want to make a difference through new ideas. I help drive that change through my passion, meaningful support, and insightful feedback. Seeing people succeed is such a reward.

What is a question you would like to answer, but no one asks?

The move to the startup journey is not always natural for a lot of researchers. However, they should remember that startups begin their journey simply as people with ideas - leaders obsessed by providing a better solution to customers, disrupting an existing market or building a completely new one. They need be audacious, think differently, work as a team, and most importantly, put their customer at the focus of their work.


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