Ylva Ryngebo, Medical Innovation Design, pratar med Stefan Frost, Software Scientifics.

The stories of the entrepreneurs


Five people told five completely different stories about their escapades as entrepreneurs - at the inspiration event arranged by Innovationssluss Västerbotten, Umeå Biotech Incubator, Innovationskontor Norr and Uminova Innovation.

Scroll down for summaries of the presentations.







Ledarskapscentrum, Mikael Östberg

It started out with three friends, and their frustration over the fact that it takes 30 years for psychological theories to reach out to people. Why let this cause anxiety, unmotivated people, and poorly updated business systems?

They asked a couple of hotshot researchers within the field if they wanted to join in? Of course!

So they wrote a book, summarizing current psychological theories in an understandable manner. Someone at the Swedish Counter Terrorist Unit read it, someone that considered management a matter of life or death. And Mikael and his fellow colleagues got their first customer. The rumor spread and people started to call Ledarskapscentrum.

Today, the company has 6 employees and 20 consultants, training in all continents but Africa, a turnover of 9-10 million SEK, and a 15-20% profit.

Mikael recommends everyone who wants to start a company to start with creating the culture. How do we do salaries, recruiting, meetings, policies…

- You can always change a culture, but it’s a tough task. It’s so much smoother to consider these issues from the beginning.

Mikael’s tips for future entrepreneurs:
1. Why bother to believe or not believe it will work, just try it!
2. No matter how good idea – you need to sell!
3. Minimize administration

Wawo, Per Kvarnbrink

Wawo Technology develops algorithms and technologies for high performance face recognition. Their algorithm delivers very high accuracy and high speed recognition rates, suitable for the most demanding applications.

So far Per and his colleagues have:
• A software ready for sales
• Developed prototypes: iPhone app, web search, face recognition entrance system at IKSU
• Participated in the business plan competition Venture cup
• Spent some money
• Participated in entrepreneurship courses at Uminova Innovation

The biometrics market is estimated at 4000 million USD for 2011, and it is expected to grow by 60% every year. Wawo’s biggest challenge at the moment is to earn money.

Major business areas could be surveillance, searching for people in videos and databases, finding lookalikes. And who knows, what future applications might be - Wawo casting, Wawo security, Wawo dating…

SwedClone, Monika Vestling, PhD

When SwedClone was founded, the plan was to produce monoclonal antibodies to diagnose e.g. Alzheimer's disease and ALS. To establish ALS you need to rule out all other so-called neurodegenerative diseases, which takes about a year. A diagnostic kit with antibodies would reduce time until the patient can be given a correct diagnosis, and modifying drugs can be used at an earlier stage.

SwedClone filed the initial patent application, and got proof of concept. However, they decided not to go further with the final patent application. Why? Meanwhile Monika had discovered that antibodies were quite easy to produce. Hence, anyone could do it and the patent would be of no use.

At the moment they are working with upscaling and purification of antibodies, cell banking and other areas. They have customers and are making money.

So Monika, what’s good about running a company?
- I still miss the research, but it´s fun! It´s not always that easy.

Medical Innovation Design, Ylva Ryngebo

A company can start with a prototype made out of a paper plate, some styrofoam and a couple of screws on the kitchen table. That’s where Ylva’s company Medical Innovation Design took off, anyway. Having worked as a radiographer, she had a lot of ideas on how to improve the tools used in radiography.

Ylva learnt the hard way that protecting your business is crucial. Her first self-designed product got ripped off by a company that later went bankrupt. But she did not give up, but kept on inventing practical, effective, easy-to-use radiography equipment, e.g. a compression device, secure labeling when handling breast specimen, and a soft, bendable ruler. The company has earned money and Ylva has reinvested it all in new innovations.

Today Medical Innovation Design has no loans, 10 products and 2 design protections in Europe. The company works with Siemens (“they´re great”), Phillips, and Toshiba just called. Ylva says:
- It’s been a long way, but I have a free life. It’s fun, and when you have something good, don´t give up!

Software Scientifics, Stefan Frost

Scientists developing unique software solutions for scientists, that’s Software Scientifics. This international team address problems that scientists worldwide face on a daily basis, and develop new programs to facilitate procedures and workflows. The company has customers worldwide.

In the process of publishing an article in a scientific journal the author changes articles to be published in scientific journals. The material needs to conform to the specifications of the journal, e.g. figure size, resolution, figure compression
The solution to this is Figure Adapter for Scientific Journals, which allows automatic adaptation of figures, a direct link to author information of journals and provides a database with figure formats of several thousand journals.

The Figure Adapter software is designed in an intuitive graphical user interface. The scientist is 3 clicks away from having all figures in a correct format.
The future for Software Scientifics holds:
• An established customer base
• 2-3 fulltime employees
• An increased product portfolio
• Being known as software developer in the scientific market
• Contracts with local resellers all over the world
• Collaboration agreements with other companies