Beginner's Mind
Beginner's Mind
Jul 27, 2022
#82: Irene Fialka - Inspiring Stories from 20 Years of Bringing Academic Innovation Into Business
Play • 1 hr 23 min

Happy Birthday, Inits. Today 20 years ago – July 27, 2002 – Inits – Vienna’s most important high Tech Incubation Program was created.

In this episode, I am talking with Irene Fialka, CEO of Inits. In 20 years, Inits has supported over 300 high-tech #startups with the necessary tools for a successful and sustainable market entry.

Dr. Irene Fialka is CEO of INiTS, Vienna’s University Business Incubator (UBI), supporting entrepreneurs with R&D-based business ideas serving all academic institutions in Vienna. She has a genetics/molecular biology background and has worked with deep-tech startups since 2004.

Under her leadership, INiTS was awarded three times by UBI Globalas, one of the TOP ranked UBIs in the world. INiTS’ startups have proven to be extremely successful in raising funds (12 x the average UBI-supported startup according to UBI Global) and finding strategic partners. She worked with the founders of, e.g., Apeptico, Blue Danube Robotics, Lexogen, Lithoz, Marinomed, mySugr, and many more. Marinomed is the first of over 300 companies that went public in 2019 (IPO on the Vienna Stock exchange).

In collaboration with partners such as Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer, and Uniqa, Dr. Fialka and her team launched the HealthHubVienna ( in 2018, an acceleration program for international health startups to drive innovation and change in the healthcare industry in Europe.

In this episode, we are talking about:

  • Success Story of Inits from 2002 to 2022
  • Development of the Startup Eco-System in Europe
  • 3 Major Developments of Inits in the last 20 years
  • Inits Vision for the coming two decades 
  • Female Founders and
  • Much more

Youtube Video

I wish the team of Inits all the best for their birthday celebration. Keep up your great work – it has a huge positive impact on the startup ecosystem in Europe

🕛 Timestamps
(00:00) Kick Off
(03:00) Birthday Wishes
(04:00) When Did Inits Start?
(05:30) From 2002 to 2022 – How Did the Eco-System in Vienna Evolve?
(07:40) Early Days of Life Science in Austria – Intercell in 1997, Alexander von Gabain, Werner Lanthaler, Max Birnstiel
(08:25) What was Inits Starting Point in 2002?
(09:20) Tech Transfer in Austria Early 2000 – The Days of the “Ausseninsitut”
(12:32) Business Models of Academic StartUps and Their Challenges – from 2002 to 2022
(15:20) Impressive KPIs of Inits
(19:00) Companies are About Making Revenues
(21:16) Inits For Academic Startups in 2022
(26:35) Public Funding in Austria
(27:32) How the Campus in St. Marx Developed since 2006 – Vienna Bio Center, Start-Up Labs, Inits. 
(29:45) INits Support in 2004
(31:00) Coaching, Mentoring, and Advising for Startups
(32:30) The 3 Major Developments at INITS Since 2002
(38:20) INiTs StartUps In Africa
(43:20) Challenges and Opportunities in the Global StartUp Eco-System
(45:05) StartUp Success Stories from the Inits Universe – MySugr, Shpock, Zoho, Marinomed, Origimm, Lithos, Ecop
(52:05) Consistency between Strategy and Action – Aligning Interests
(55:05) 3 Avoidable Mistakes in Startups  

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