On November 29, the EADA Annual Meeting (EAM) –including the official closing ceremony for the 2018-2019 academic year– was held at the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya in Barcelona. During the event, experts from a cross section of industries shared their reflections on the future of work, and awards were given out to participants from the class of 2019 from EADA’s International Masters and MBA programmes as well as executive education.
The Best Final Project Award went to Modelling.ms: AI driven lesion detection by Tensormedical, completed by International Master in Management participants Thomas Cambier (Belgium), Maria Duarte da Silva (Portugal), Gilles Laconte (Belgium), Marta Pérez (Spain), Vasco Sanchez (Portugal) and Liesbeth Van Der Bauwhede (Belgium). Members of the winning team highlighted the group’s diversity and commitment. “It was invaluable to have an interdisciplinary team,” says Liesbeth. “Being able to trust team members in their work is key, especially when there are time constraints.”
The objective was to turn the team launching the Modelling.ms software at Tensormedical into a scalable, self-sustaining business that could help patients all over the world. This award-winning technology is capable of automatically comparing and analysing different brain scans from multiple sclerosis patients, creating accurate, reliable results in a shorter timeframe than traditional methods.
The project was part of the Market Assessment Program (MAP), a programme with the mission of bringing research based sci-tech projects to the market. This programme is carried out through a collaboration with ACCIÓ and the EADA Entrepreneurship Centre. The potential consulting projects for the International Masters class of 2019 were presented in December 2018, and the final teams were formed in January 2019.
The group worked as consultants to create the spin-off Tensormedical, helping the lead entrepreneur behind take their first steps into the market. According to Thomas, the team was inspired by the work of Tensormedical. “The enthusiasm of the entrepreneur was contagious and inspired us to keep going whenever we faced difficulties,” he says. “Knowing that he appreciated our work and was going to use it in a real company was the most rewarding part of the whole project.”
The consulting project culminated in July with the presentation of a comprehensive business plan for bringing a new artificial intelligence software, Modelling.ms, to market. Future CEO of Tensormedical Dr Sergi Valverde was impressed by the new perspectives and expertise that EADA participants brought to the project. “As engineers, we love to learn new things everyday, but our understanding on business management is limited,” he says. “The experience at EADA has definitely allowed us to understand the requisites for a business better, define customer needs and identify the best strategies to build a successful startup.”
The business plan included an overall evaluation of the industry, a SWOT analysis, a feasibility study and a proposal of the organisational design of the new spin-off company to be launched together with the Modelling.ms software. According to Gilles, EADA faculty played an important role in putting together the final product. “The faculty were key,” he confirms. “The project included many different steps in the process of business creation, and we could always approach them for new insights when we were stuck.”
While all of EADA final projects are practical in nature, allowing students to apply what they have learned in real companies, the Modelling.ms project was particularly challenging due to the nature of the biotech field and the complexity of the technology involved. This meant that the takeaways for the team were especially valuable. “During the final project, we learned how a business works,” confirms Marta. “This is really important if you want to work in a management environment. I used the communication skills from the final project with clients every day in my current position at Coty.”
All 6 group members were able to attend the awards ceremony last week, where they shared a bit about their experience and expressed special thanks to the Tensormedical entrepreneur and the project tutor, Jaume Bonet. You can read an in-depth interview of the winning team here.
Today, Tensormedical continues to improve and add new features to the software as a result of the increased understanding of customer needs. The startup will be a spin-off of the University of Girona and the Research Institute of the Vall d’Hebron Hospital in Barcelona (VHIR). With the launch of the spin-off planned within the next two years, Dr Valverde and his team are on their way to taking the administrative steps to make the company official and entering into funding rounds to secure investments.