Covid-19: first-hand experiences from entrepreneurs

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Entrepreneurs have learnt that it is possible to keep working in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic .

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic that is hitting many countries has clearly affected the medical start-up and spin-off ecosystem. After talking to some of the companies we support we have seen that it has not been easy for the entrepreneurs but the pandemic has also brought some positive changes. In this article they share their first-hand experience.

Marta Barrachina, CEO and founder at Admit Therapeutics

The months of confinement have confirmed the importance of having a contingency plan in place and that digitisation is key to companies. Having a VPN connection allowed us to keep up with our research. Using teleconference has reduced our mobility and we have gained time that we have used to apply for European and national funding opportunities. In this period we have also closed an important investment with the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation.

The R&D team has been forced to slow down the lab work and they have focused on optimising the experimental and bioinformatic design that we are developing to obtain a predictive algorithm for Alzheimer.

The negative point has been that we have not been able to recruit new patients for our clinical study. And the patients already participating in the study have had to be monitored on the phone

Jordi Martorell, CEO and founder at Aortyx

The worse have been having to stop the studies with animals in the lab for nearly three months. This has delayed some technical advances of the project. At the same time, paralysing the studies have been useful to focus on the business and regulatory plan. That puts us in a better position for our talks with investors.

In conclusion, we are seriously thinking about planning a one-month “confinement” every year to slow down on our work and prioritise areas that we can not approach in our every day work.

Andreu Climent, CEO and founder at Corify

From the perspective of a biotech start-up like Corify, the pandemic has had negative and positive consequences. The clinical validation phase has been delayed as the hospitals could not follow the planned procedures. On the other hand, the development work has been fully functioning maybe even faster than in the “past normality” as regulatory issues have advanced at a quicker pace.

The organisation of home office has worked perfectly from the beginning contributing to a more agile and flexible way of working. Luckily, we have been able to process a CDTI loan with less bureaucracy than usual that have allow us to enrol new staff during the peak of the pandemic.

Pere del Campo, CEO and founder at Cornea

Not being able to leave the house has meant that my wife and daughter have lived my work concerns more closely. At the same time, I have learnt to keep more calm, to be more disciplined and to optimise the company resources as well. The confinement has also brought the team together.

Adrià Maceira, CEO and founder at Renalyse

Covid-19 pandemic proves how weak we are as a species and how mentally fragile we are. Economic instability worries me as many entrepreneurs will have to go ahead with even less resources. Really good projects might not see the light because of the investors’ fear. From the personal point of view, we have been affected by the hard impact that the disease has had in many families.

The one positive achievement is that we have realised that home office is perfectly possible -except for the lab work. Pandemic has been an opportunity to reinvent us as a company and to prove that it is possible to work remotely without social contact, despite is a thing I miss.

Agnès Arbat, CEO and founder at Oxolife

The pandemic has confirmed us that, despite the challenging environment, entrepreneurship is worth it. Keep working has helped to normalise a bit the difficult situation and we have seen that explaining our goals with our staff helps them to share our enthusiasm. The crisis has helped us to advance and to value our colleagues even more.

As a negative point, having to work with uncertainty (“is the environment going to respond?”) but at the end of the day this is the entrepreneur daily life.

*Related news: Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 dictionary