Academia-Industry Training Brazil 2019 Review

On November 8th, nearby the Sugar Loaf mountain in Rio de Janeiro, 20 startups presented their business at the Final Pitching Session of the Academia-Industry Training (AIT), in an event that marked the end of the Brazilian leg of the program. AIT is an initiative of swissnex Brazil and the University of St. Gallen that aims to connect promising researchers-entrepreneurs with the industry in order to develop a market application of their high-level research. On its sixth edition, the AIT took place in both Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in an intensive week where our scientrepreneurs engaged in workshops, business mentoring, networking events, pitch training and Brazilian cultural events with old-school samba. 

This edition’s startups featured opportunities in healthcare, there were medical devices and wearable solutions, as well as components for the pharmaceutical and data management markets. The agribusiness field featured solutions in intelligent crop monitoring systems, biological pesticides for pest containment and animal health care elements. As for edibles, there were new plant-based foods and biotechnology solutions.

During the Final Pitch Session, the top three startups were chosen and awarded. First place was given to Samantha Fynn and Bardiya Valizadeh with the startup DePoly from EPFL. Their solution is based on chemically recycling PET plastic back to its main chemical components – a market that is very big in Brazil and the startup connected with Petrobrás and Braskem during the program. Second place was awarded to Loulia Kasem and Erick Antonia Garcia Cordero with the startup REA, also from EPFL. REA is the first non-invasive test for pregnant women to diagnose risk of preterm birth whenever and wherever they want. Brazil has one of the highest rates of preterm birth in the world, and through the AIT program, REA was able to connect with two major hospitals: Albert Einstein and Instituto D’or where they will conduct clinical trials. Third place went to a Brazilian participant, Caio Guimarães with the startup beone from UFPE. Beone developed a new, low-cost, noninvasive, rapid and highly effective treatment for diabetic foot ulcers and hard to heal wounds using photobiomodulation.

Among the partners involved in this edition of the programme are Roche, Fiap, Firjan, FCR Law, Dannemann Siemsen, Vox Capital, Instituto D’or, UFRJ Innovation Agency, Puc-Rio Innovation Agency, IAG Business School, Brazilian Micro and Small Enterprises’ Support Service (SEBRAE) and the Istituto Europeo di Design (IED Rio).

All AIT alumni are masters, doctoral or postdoctoral researchers from Brazil and Switzerland and in 2020 they will meet again, this time in Switzerland, for the second week and final stage of the AIT program of entrepreneurship, innovation, and international scientific cooperation.

Click here and get to know our 2019 AIT Alumni and their startups.

Here are some pictures of our alumni at a training session in Brazil.