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Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Eulysis icons - 20 shades of startup

Eulysis started from an invention that stores two separate components of cosmetic products, which was developed by the father of founder Ross Tsakas. Ross managed to apply this technology to pharmaceuticals.

Whether antibiotics, vaccines or insulin treatments, medicines can now be stored in a single vial, which reduces raw material use and production costs.

In 2010, the Royal Society of Edinburgh awarded Ross a grant to start Eulysis and provided mentoring to help him with business development and protecting his IP, which led to full incorporation in 2011. Since then, the company has received various funds from bodies like the Gates Foundation, to sort out necessary regulatory approvals and test their product.

In the coming year, Eulysis will move their discussions with pharmaceutical companies forward and finally secure regulatory approval.

We asked Ross about his experience and reflections on starting up

You received various form of financial support – is it just the money that is useful?

The Gates Foundation gave that leverage and credibility to the company that most startups don’t have. They personally introduced me to the World Health Organisation, a lot of the contacts in the European Medicines Agency, as well as the US’s regulatory authority. So those connections really helped us map out what we needed to do in terms of getting it through regulatory approval.

Eulysis logo

What was your experience of starting in Scotland?

It was even better that Silicon Valley! Finding mentors was very easy. A lot of people, particularly in Scotland, are very willing to help and willing to open their contact list and just help on a pro bono basis. The angel and the venture capital community in Scotland is also thriving, so there wasn’t a shortage of finding the people that I needed to talk to, and Scottish Enterprise actually opened a lot of those doors as well.

What was most challenging in starting up in the medtech sector?

In terms of acquiring customers, that’s been obviously our most difficult challenge to date. The problem is that the majority of these companies aren’t actually based in the UK, or if they are, they’re not their headquarter operations. It’s just a branch location that might be in the UK, and that obviously makes reaching from them to the upper management, who make the decisions, relatively difficult.