“Startuppers of the world, unite! And hire researchers!”
Most of people look at academia and startups as two completely different worlds; one concerning with universities labs, conferences and papers, while the other thriving with exits, marketing and pitches.
Apparently one far from the other: nothing could be more wrong.
They are both wild (as not homologated), young (more and more millennials in these last years) and free (creativity driven). But on the sides of the barricades cannons are always pointed and loaded; instead of perceiving as two possible good partners.
There are at least five motives that startups should care for.
Knowledge & Network
Researchers can obviously have a perception of the next technological steps of a certain sector; moreover, their network of professors, other PhDs and universities spinoffs can lead to partnership opportunities, for hiring skilled people. Finally, the list of contacts can reach an international dimension because of the dozens of meetings, challenges and missions they attend every year.
But there’s also another kind of network: standing to the Triple Helix concept universities are changing their role, being (especially at a regional and local level) at the heart of innovation; Governments and industry will pivot on them because of the links they can create in the ecosystem of knowledge.
Choosing to continue spending days in the academic buildings requires an intense reflection; You’re deciding the routine of several years, as well as when startuppers resign from their former job to open their laptop in a Starbucks’ table (definitely not a 9-to-5 job): You can feel their passion in what they are doing. Because they know they’re doing something that will be useful for the entire society.
With only 7 EU countries spending more than 2% of GDP on research, academia started looking around themselves, seeing startups not more riskier than working for universities. In some cases the spending amount was so low that they do more research now during their new job, than in the past in campuses. Moving on, both worlds share little number of workers, so the acclimatisation will be softer, compared to a big firm.
Overnight brainstorming can lead to good solutions and to disruptive ideas, but without development You can easily run out of fuel. EU and other nations started public rounds of financing for SME and startups; can You guess which sector has the richer amount of funds? Exactly: R&D! And who better than our fellow scientists know the best procedure in order to maximizing the outcomes?
Methodology & results’ hunger
What makes research meaningful is the will of progress advancement; so to have results for approving or not the former hypothesis or to reach the completion of an object, project, analysis,… Until the checkered flag, researcher’s attitude is oriented to give the very best of himself, trying to go for it. Getting deeply, the methodology required is the same: formulating a good idea, executing it and selling/publishing its results.
In the end…
…what impressed me is the absolute determination and love these people put in their daily work, an ideal voyage for seeking sapientia as long as they feed the needs of their enterprise.