Xavier Olba is a restless innovation consultant, startup mentor and thought leader in the Health sector. Olba holds a wide expertise in a number of levels (business development, finance, sales, etc.) due to over 10-year experience in the corporate side. With this knowledge, he now leads digital strategy and open innovation plans with a number of clients, including from early-stage startups to big corporations. At The Collider, he is highly valued as hands-on mentor, repeating for the second time.
Meet the Colliders!
Why did you decide to change the corporate world for the startup scene?
It is a personal question but I will answer it. I always thought that all of us come to this world to offer something special to improve the world. Working for a corporate I had the opportunity to discover that I loved to help organizations to innovate in their business model. I found out that I would like to help small (but smart) organizations (like start-ups) to access the market and bring their value proposition to their potential users. Working for a corporate, you work (sometimes) on internal marketing (administration issues and internal process) and 2 years ago I decided to invest all of my time to help companies innovate from the inside. Currently, I help companies innovate on the internal (employees) or external level (students, suppliers, customers, engineers, economists…). One of the greatest sources of innovation for corporations is collaborating with startups and I have the chance to connect the 2 worlds that I know best.
What traits and attitude characterises an entrepreneur, in your opinion?
An entrepreneur? They are what life expects from a human. Entrepreneur is someone who puts their time (the most valuable resource) into developping a solution to solve a challenge. They are the ones who are in love with a problem or opportunity; from then onwards, their life, their daily motivation and their reason-why is to solve it. They give their best talent to develop an idea and to transform it in a real innovative solution for people who need it. Entrepreneur is a person who does not think in the money. They are the ones who strive to offer a new solution to society. The best recognition that we can offer to an entrepreneur is to help them bring their ideas to the market.
Your expertise is in the Health sector; which would you say are the greatest challenges and advantages for early-stage Health startups?
The Health sector is one of the markets where you can innovate the most. But it is also possibly one of the most difficult to get into due to its specific characteristics. All potential innovative projects under development must not only solve unmet needs but also demonstrate their benefits following health institutions’ rules. Health startups normally are burnt due to the fact that their technology is focussed on offering solutions to health issues whereas the real objective is to find the real need or challenge to be solved by applying this technology. They must demonstrate in clinical trials with real patients or real healthcare professionals the practical benefits. While demonstrating their value proposition, they must also find a business model, spot who is going to pay for their solution and moreover, define how to access the market; it could be a B2B business, a B2C business model or a B2Administration solution. All these processes require a high amount of resources (partners, personal and money) and time. And these 2 assets are what entrepreneurs should learn how to manage.
On the last edition, you mentored The Collider’s RheoDx, now a successful year-old startup. Could you tell us a little about your journey together?
RheoDx is a real example of all activities and skills that a start-ups need to develop to become a successful solution for a market. I am lucky to enjoy the definition, implementation and follow-up of their road-map:
- to assure the technology benefits.
- to discover a market’s potential hole.
- to demostrare (for professionals and patients) the benefit of the solution.
- to discover a market opportunity
- to develop MVP to define approval road-map.
- to build a motivated and well-organized team. They are the real players for an start-up.
- to define the best communication plan.
- to manage personal expectatives of all start-ups members. We need to align personal and start-ups challenges.
On the current edition, you are repeating as a mentor. Which growth and future roadmap do you foresee for The Collider?
The Collider is a program that our market needs. The majority of corporations and entreprises that have access to the market, require innovation to improve their value proposition and improve their competitive advantage against their competitors. One of the key successful sources to bring onboard innovation into business is to seek new solutions within Universities. Universities have strong talent and an efficient methodology to kick off and develop disruptive projects. Authorities and corporates should support initiatives like the Collider to facilitate that innovative solutions reach the assessment of market stakeholders, to call-their-attention and to study potential ways of collaboration. The first two editions of The Collider show the results of the programme. Now, it is the duty of all of us involved to introduce the initiative to our partners (like Corporates) and convince them to collaborate. And ultimately, the goal is to seek further opportunities by bringing this program to other territories.