Dr Michalis Papadakis is the CEO and co-founder of Brainomix, a University of Oxford spinout company which has developed medical imaging software (e-ASPECTS) to automate the assessment of stroke damage on CT scans, which can improve patient outcomes.
So what would you say are the top skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
The most important skills are resilience and having a vision. You need to be able to bounce back, through any circumstances. Entrepreneurship is an exciting, but bumpy ride, so you need to be able to use the criticism constructively. Be confident, never give up, and believe in yourself and your team.
Seeing your vision materializing. It’s kind of like bringing up a baby; you set the foundations and then watch it grow and develop, directing the process as you go. Building a team of people around you, who share your vision and support you, is also very important.
Where has your funding come from?
We have received over £9.7 million of investment from Parkwalk Advisors, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, the University of Oxford Innovation Fund, Chimera Partners, and private investors. We have also received over £1.5 million of grant funding from Innovate UK and Horizon2020. When we started we also had great support from the University of Oxford Startup Incubator.
What is your biggest success to date, and what have you learned from it?
The biggest success has been creating a product that can be both commercially profitable and deliver healthcare benefits. To achieve this you need to be driven, and believe in the product, so you can raise funds and build a team who can make your vision a success.
What is your biggest mistake so far, and what have you learned from it?
Biggest mistake would be almost giving up, and losing faith. We have to learn and grow, and always try to do bigger and better things.
What individual, company or organization inspires you most?
Richard Branson – he started from scratch and had both the vision and aspirations to become successful. Yet he seems to still be approachable, and people love working for and with him. Having people around you who share your vision and believe in what you are doing is invaluable.
If you were to ask one question to Richard Branson, what would it be? What is your answer to that question?
“What would you have done differently?” It is always good to reflect back on the past and think about things in hindsight. Even if there are no obvious things you would have done differently. For me, I would have started earlier as we could probably have made an impact sooner.
What do you like about being an entrepreneur in Oxford? What could be improved?
Oxford has such a great mix of outstanding academic research and startup community, plus Isis, with their established experience and guidance, is a great support. Within the academic community though, there needs to be a much greater emphasis put on entrepreneurship, with more opportunities and active encouragement for academics to get involved.
What would be your advice to anyone looking to get involved in entrepreneurship?
Do not hesitate to do it. Even if you fail, it’s okay. Work hard, and face obstacles and failure head on. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Believe in yourself. It is all well worth it!