Have you met... Daniela Couto?

Daniela Couto never believed science was limited to the lab! Scientist, businesswoman and a mom…Daniela uses her passion and coffee as fuel.

Daniela Couto.

Daniela did her Ph.D. in Bioengineering at MIT and her goal was to optimize the clinical trials model. Always eager to try different approaches to science, Daniela co-founded her first start-up – Cell2B- while finishing her Ph.D. thesis. Given her recent experience in embryonic companies, she was offered the place of Managing Director at Staten Biotechnology, at the Netherlands. Right now, Daniela is a principal VC at Biogeneration Ventures.

In your opinion, what is the most important skill set young scientists should have?
First, the person should have an honest and professional personality. Second, having the ability to be useful for the team while being autonomous and independent. Third, a person with a developed soft skill set.

Do you have a guess of what will be the major breakthrough in science in the next 20 years?
I think cancer will be a manageable disease and medicine, in general, will be more personalized. We will have personalized treatments for a sub-group of individuals instead of a treatment equal to all. The genetic pool of the sub-groups of patients will be a key factor for therapy decision instead of just their symptoms/disease.
If you weren’t a VC, what would you be doing instead?
I would be working on the other side – at the company!

Now, you are a VC but do you plan on going back to “the other side” soon and start a new company?
I don’t really feel I left that side yet, just “seconds” ago I was at Staten. I don’t miss it yet, but further down the line I know I will miss the thrill.

When you have a bad day at work, what is your strategy to boost your mood?
COFFEE! (laughs)

After the Ph.D., how someone can make the transition from academia to VC?
The soft skills are the most important part. If you never started a company before or contacted with business before it is not the end of the road for you. If we like your personality and you have the eagerness to learn the hard skills needed, we don’t have a problem at giving you a shot. The only difficulty will be to find an open position. 

Sorry for the delay between the first post of 2019 and this one! We have been very engaged in our Ph.D. projects, traveling to go to courses or to collect samples - Check our Instagram page @om_science to know more about it 😃

This interview with Daniela occurred last summer when R. was in vacations in Amsterdam! It was really a pleasure to spend a couple of hours with her in a park, in a very relaxed environment and try to absorb/learn as much as possible through her experience! 
Vondelpark @ Amsterdam.

Hope you can learn a lot from Daniela's path, too! 😉 

As always, stay tuned for more!


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