Meet our EIRs: George Aliphtiras and Francis Steiner

Published on Thursday, October 27, 2016

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As you come down to the Graham Lee Innovation Centre, you may notice that our welcome board has been graced with two new Entrepreneur-In-Residence profiles. In case you missed it, we are delighted to have George and Francis join us, and now, we have the chance to get to know them a little more.

George, as you join the team of Life Sciences EIRs, along with Sean and Karen, what do you hope to bring to entrepreneurs at e@UBC?

George: I want to bring an additional perspective to commercializing ideas or proof of concepts, particularly for ventures diving into the human health and life sciences space. With experience in running my own startup and building ventures, I want to share my passion with UBC entrepreneurs, and assist in the formation and building of successful teams.

Francis, similar question. You are joining the 11 ventures at HATCH as their Entrepreneur-In-Residence. What do you hope to bring?

Francis: I would say it’s my experience in connecting a MVP to business development opportunities and getting a venture out to the investor network. I would say my specialty is to ask ventures the very questions that they don’t want to ask!

I like to provide ventures with the perspective of the investor – what is the venture about, what is the investor looking for, and aligning the message with the right investor

Complementing that with the customer point-of-view, and anticipating their needs – it’s my hope that the teams I get to mentor will be successful, and customers get what they want.

George, you’re now also serving as the CEO of Sonic Incytes, a UBC venture. Can you provide us with a few highlights from your career that has defined you as an entrepreneur?

George: I think the key strength I bring to e@UBC is my understanding of what it takes to form a new technology or service. The challenges involved in it. I started off as a technical sales rep in the life sciences industry, and then moved into the realm of pharmaceuticals and biotech. I’ve been able to see the journey from the role of a clinical researcher, a scientist, to an entrepreneur.

I oversaw my startup from idea to commercialization. Throughout the journey, you indulge in the peaks, overcome the valleys, experience running out of cash, just to name a few things that stays with you. I cherished my international med tech opportunity that started in Singapore and expanded to USA, Europe and Asia.

Francis, you have been involved in four startups – what are your defining moments?

Francis: Two points or lessons that have shaped me as an entrepreneur. Watch out for your ego and other people’s ego – egos always make bad and illogical decisions. Secondly, find investors who have deep pockets, who understand your industry, who will stay with you through multiple rounds. That was a key learning for me.

Last question – in one sentence, what’s a piece of mentorship advice that has stuck with you?

 George: Building a strong team around you is key.

 Francis: Focus on a market-driven MVP – if I had someone mentoring me and telling me that early in my startup – that would have been amazing guidance.