IMAGINE IF! Accelerator 2017 For Science Ventures!

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Published on 11 July 2017
10 min. read


Join the global IMAGINE IF! network of innovators.  The IMAGINE IF! is the first truly global competition and accelerator program for science-based ventures*.

The participation is FREE, don’t miss this opportunity and apply now until the 28th of July 2017!

The accelerator provides to early stage science startups extensive opportunities: the potential to secure non-dilutive capital, free advice from leading professional services companies, free lab space, and rapid networking across the Innovation Forum platform.

The program is composed of two phases: local and global.

* startups based on genuine, novel scientific idea which has a significant impact on improving human or animal wellbeing as loosely defined by the 17 UN Sustainable Development GOALS  (e.g. new medicines, medical devices, new materials or engineering solutions helping to preserve the natural environment in a balanced state)

Why Apply?

  • Global cash prize (minimum $10k , final amount to be announced by the 15th of November 2017)
  • Swiss cash prize of CHF 2.5k after the Lausanne finals
  • Mentoring by local and international leaders in entrepreneurship and science ventures
  • Free lab space for the life science winner sponsored by Startlab
  • Series of workshops by venturelab for the runner-up of the Swiss Finals
  • Access to an international network
  • FREE ticket to participate in Innovation Forum 2017 – Leaders Conference (for the Top 20 startups)
  • Possibility of video submission for three runner-ups of the Swiss Finals with chance of securing additional spot in the Leaders Conference, Oxford


After the application deadline closes on the 28th of July the top ten teams will be selected to participate at the IMAGINE IF! Swiss finals taking place at EPFL, Lausanne on the 3rd of October 2017. A distinguished team of experts will judge the local Swiss finalist and the winners will receive a cash prize, in-kind contributions, support and a ‘free pass’ to the Innovation Forum 2017 (IF2017, Oxford, 3rd-4th December 2017), the annual summit of all Innovation Forum’s associates from around the world.

Participation in the IMAGINE IF! Accelerator is free, and we do not take any equity stake in your company. Furthermore we will introduce selected teams to venture capital firms, multinational companies and other key stakeholders to enable the rapid acceleration of their business.

Mentors and Jury members

MentorsMauro Lattuada, Technology Transfer Manager, EPFL
Mauro is a technology transfer manager at EPFL dealing mainly with ICT technologies. Communication engineer with a PhD in signal processing he has been a co-founder of a startup in 2001 for media production systems. Since 2005 he joins a semiconductor company for digital security and convergent media systems. Since 2013 he manages contracts, patents and licenses at the Technology Transfer Office of EPFL. He is passionate about new technologies and business creation.
Jonas Van Hove, Chair of Entrepreneurship, ETH Zürich
Jonas Van Hove is a research associate at the chair of Entrepreneurship at D-MTEC, ETH Zurich. He conducts research on academic entrepreneurship and the impact of incubation models on venture evolution. Over the years, he has developed a deep understanding of the European scene of accelerators, its good practices and has launched a unique platform for academic entrepreneurs to navigate the overall startup ecosystem (backed by Imperial College London). Besides his research activities, he works on various tech transfer projects and designs experiential programmes to equip STEM students, academics and executives with an entrepreneurial mind set (equally relevant to starting-up, scaling-up or steady state organisations). He holds an MSc in Biotechnology and Biochemistry from Ghent University and the Flemish Institute of Biotechnology. 

Pedro Paiva, SDS/IoT Partners Program Manager, HP Inc
Pedro has 20+ years professional experience across Technology Solutions & Services, in particular in Networks and Telecoms, balancing strategy, business and technology skills, in international roles and multi-cultural environments. 
He is currently SDS/IoT Partners Program Manager at HP Inc. and has held diverse leadership roles, like Global Client Advisor at Oracle, responsible for client accounts’ strategy, innovation and transformation initiatives in several industries, Global Client Services Manager at Stefanini TechTeam, responsible for the P&Ls of IT helpdesk outsourcing multinationals, OSS Business Manager at HP (Hewlett-Packard), responsible for the worldwide Service Management business done with Vodafone Group, driving teams towards complex business objectives, and Chief Technologist, EMEA at UUNET, worldwide Internet Service Provider belonging to WorldCom, where he had the responsibility of evolution of Internet services.
He has an MSc. in Computer Engineering & Telecommunications form the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL-Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) and completed the first year of the Executive MBA of the iimt-International Institute of Management in Technology in Fribourg, both in Switzerland.

Alain has over 25 years’ business experience, of which over 20 years on-and-off but almost constant involvement with Start-ups. Over the years, he acted as a Co-Founder, Angel Investor, Consultant, Interim CFO, Non-Executive Director to various Start-ups in various sectors and in several countries (Germany, France, UK, Switzerland) – and now as a Mentor within the CTI Training Initiative at EPFL (Lausanne, Switzerland). In his free time during all those years, he also enjoyed acting as a Partner with EY (Ernst & Young), a Managing Director in Investment Banking in the City of London, a European Managing Partner for US- and UK-based listed financial consultancies, a CFO in industry, a Private Equity professional, a Strategy Consultant with The Boston Consulting Group and a Factory Manager turning around troubled industrial plants. He lived and worked in roughly equal proportions in France, Germany, UK and now Switzerland where his current pastime is to act as President of AlpahaConsulting, a boutique he founded in 2010 and which focuses on Special Situations Advisory and CRO (Chief Restructuring Officer) roles – albeit not so much for Start-ups.

Adam Swetloff, Technology Transfer Manager, TTO EPFL

Adam joined the EPFL Technology transfer office in December 2013 specialising in the life science area (IP management, licensing and contract negotiations with industry). Adam graduated as a biochemist at the University of Bristol and worked as an R&D scientist at Abbott Diagnostics. After undertaking at the University College London (UCL) a PhD in biochemistry with a particular emphasis on neuroscience, he continued with a post-doctoral position at the University of Geneva. Before joining EPFL, he managed a journal published by Elsevier (Journal of Hepatology) that resulted in its successful revamp. Before joining the  EPFL-TTO, Adam  worked for the EPFL Grants Office where he managed a large portfolio of research contracts.

Nettra Pan, Doctoral Assistant EPFL

Nettra holds an M.A. from the Institute of Political Studies in Paris (Sciences Po) and a B.A. from Columbia University where she studied International Public Management and Political Science. She is currently completing her PhD thesis at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), where she is focusing on investor decision-making and new ways of organizing. Nettra has worked with a number of organizations on how to design business initiatives which aim to address the world’s most pressing challenges. She is also passionate about the role of media and technology in research and education. Nettra grew up in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and has lived in San Diego, New York City, Paris and Lausanne. She has completed three half-marathons in Geneva, Lausanne, and Paris in support of UNICEF, The Harpswell Foundation, and the Against Malaria Foundation.Joana Casaca Lemos, Consultant

Joana is a Design Strategist with a practice that overarches communications, co-creation and applied research. She run a location independent practice and supports ventures to articulate and amplify their sustainability impact.

Jury members
Peter Böhni, Managing Director EPFL Innovation Satellite, Bühler AG

  Jordi Montserrat, Co-managing Director,
 André Delafontaine, Associate Professor at BSL and COO, Go Beyond

Jean-Philippe Lallemant, Managing Director,
 Nasri Nahas, CEO,
Marta Gehring,

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