Imperial College London

Scientist-turned-entrepreneur to help guide entrepreneurship support

by

Letizia Gionfrida

Arthonica founder Letizia Gionfrida

Letizia Gionfrida, Imperial PhD student turned startup founder, has become the newest board member at the Imperial Venture Mentoring Service (IVMS).

In this capacity, she will help to develop the entrepreneurship support offered at Imperial, in turn helping other students and staff to emulate the entrepreneurial success she has had since founding her medtech venture Arthronica.

Med tech accelerator

Letizia began her entrepreneurial journey as a participant in the MedTech SuperConnector (MTSC), an Imperial-led accelerator programme that gives postdocs and postgraduate students training, financial support and access to a supportive community to launch medical technology ventures based on ideas arising from their research. Beyond commercialisation of technology, MTSC aims to help individuals develop and build institutional capacity in partner institutions. Through the knowledge exchange programme, it empowers its entrepreneurs to inspire and to aid future entrepreneurs.

AI for monitoring musculoskeletal disorders

Building on her PhD research, Letizia used her time as an MTSC cohort member to develop Arthronica, an all-in-one AI-powered platform that can diagnose and monitor musculoskeletal disorders through computer vision. The system uses a camera on a laptop or phone combined with software to measure mobility, functionality and swelling of joints to remotely assess chronic arthritis and provide evidence on the effectiveness of treatment. She has since won support from Entrepreneur First and the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center, and recently secured £200,000 funding from Versus Arthritis as trials of the technology begin at NHS sites in London and Leeds.

Passing on learning

Letizia will now use her experience to improve support for other entrepreneurs in her role at IVMS, a flagship programme in Imperial College London’s suite of programmes and services designed to support academic, student and staff entrepreneurship. She said: “In joining the IVMS Board, I’m honoured to be able to learn and provide feedback on my journey to support the next generation of deep healthtech entrepreneurs. For Arthronica everything started because of the MTSC, and for me, being able to support other students in this amazing journey is really fundamental.” When asked about what she is excited to share, she said: “Patience, truth and diligence are the key ingredients to deliver a good product/service, particularly in medtech where clinical trials involve long and detailed procedures.”

Victoria Nicholl, Entrepreneurship Development Manager at Imperial said: “Letizia’s wealth of experience with different types of mentorship, including the prestigious MedTech SuperConnector and Entrepreneur First programmes, and other Imperial Enterprise Lab [programmes] such as Experts-in-Residence have provided her with unique perspective to advise the IVMS Board on how to provide most value to founders. Given her success in raising Venture Capital, charity and grant funding, growing her team and building a hugely ambitious technology startup, she is well placed to help IVMS innovate and iterate our practice, preparing us to scale further, increasing the number of Imperial students and staff we can assist on their entrepreneurial journeys.”

Discover entrepreneurial journeys at the MTSC showcase on 19 September

Registration is now open for the MTSC showcase. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet the accelerator’s cohort members and learn about their technologies and their entrepreneurial journeys as participants in the accelerator. The event will also offer an opportunity for those working in entrepreneurship support and higher education to learn about the accelerator, which was launched with a remit to experiment with programme design and share its learnings with the wider community. 

Register through Eventbrite.

Entrepreneurial ecosystem

Imperial offers a variety of programmes that support staff and student entrepreneurship and help apply academic expertise to real-world business challenges. More information is available through the Enterprise web pages and the Review of Enterprising Activity.

Reporter

Rachael Katz

Rachael Katz
Enterprise

Tags:

Postdoctoral-researchers, Student-entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship, Enterprise, Comms-strategy-Entrepreneurial-ecosystem, White-City-Campus
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