A chat with our team: Vittoria Pavoncello

March 22, 2024

A chat with our team: Vittoria Pavoncello

Vittoria is a biotechnologist and neuroscientist by training, applying her expertise in life sciences to the dynamic startup scene. She is currently serving as a Technology Scouting and Investment Specialist at Zcube, Zambon Research Venture. Vittoria has been responsible for analyzing investment opportunities in the biotech sector, advancing investments, monitoring the performance of portfolio companies, and overseeing their exit processes, including research collaborations, asset licensing, and acquisitions. 

Let’s get to know her better!  


  1. According to you, what is the added value that Open Accelerator could provide to the startups of the Life Sciences industry? 

Open Accelerator provides a crucial pathway with all the essential elements to offer tangible support to participating startups. Beyond financial backing, the program grants access to classes on vital topics for life sciences startups, including intellectual property protection, patient identification, market access and go-to-market strategies, reimbursement, regulatory pathways. Focusing on a specific subject allows the creation of a genuine international network of both past and future entrepreneurs in women's health, offering advice, gathering experience, and potentially entering partnership with an expanding international pharmaceutical company like Zambon. 

Additionally, our team is committed to identifying the right mentors for the participating startups. Rather than relying on a predefined list, we adopt a tailored approach, ensuring that each startup receives personalized guidance and support that precisely matches its needs and objectives. This tailor-made mentoring is a cornerstone of our program, enhancing the value we provide and ensuring that startups have the resources and expertise they need to succeed. 

  1. The 2024 edition of Open Accelerator focuses on women’s health and femtech: what specific challenges and opportunities do you foresee in these fields?  

We are experiencing a historic moment in women's health, marked by increasing awareness and a market more attentive to its importance and potential. This renewed interest is promoting basic research, leading to a new wave of innovation. 

The main challenges involve bridging the knowledge gaps that have accumulated over time. Many women-specific health conditions remain understudied, resulting in a scenario where the lack of understanding translates into perceived high risk for some investors and significant opportunities for others. Personally, I see the women's health sector as a field rich with potential, with a strong medical need and an urgent requirement for new solutions. Our mission is to turn these challenges into opportunities

  1. What aspects of your work do you find most stimulating and rewarding? 

This is a great question. I find every single aspect of this job fulfilling. From discovering and analyzing new projects from a scientific perspective to meeting the entrepreneurs behind these initiatives and seeing their determination to make a difference, create something useful and impactful, without giving up. 

Every day offers a chance to learn something new, not just from the projects themselves but also from interactions with mentors, KOLs, funds, accelerators, and associations focused on women's health. The dynamism and determination that animate this sector today make every aspect of my work extremely stimulating and satisfying. 

  1. What are some of the most important lessons you have learnt during your career working and partnering with startups? 

During my years in the life sciences investment sector, I've learned the unmatched importance of building a solid network. This network not only facilitates mutual learning but also significantly accelerates personal and professional growth. Although many believe that "Money is King," my experience has taught me that the true capital of value is human capital. The wealth and diversity of skills, visions, and experiences that come from the team, investors, and partners create a unique ecosystem capable of turning obstacles into launchpads for success. In this context, each individual contributes significantly to collective success, proving that human capital is indeed the most valuable asset. 

  1. What’s Open Innovation for you?  

Isaac Newton once said, "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." This quote perfectly reflects the essence of Open Innovation for startups. They have the unique opportunity to leverage the experience of established companies to significantly accelerate their growth, development, and success path, bypassing the hurdles and mistakes that can slow those starting from scratch. 

On the other side, Open Innovation allows established companies the privilege of introducing a "fresh nose into the room," enabling the entry of fresh ideas and innovative visions. This process not only fosters creativity and innovation but also allows for exploring new solutions and opportunities that might not have been previously considered. In this reciprocal exchange, startups can benefit from the market knowledge and resources of companies, while the latter are enriched with new stimuli and approaches, showing that Open Innovation is a true catalyst for progress and transformation. 


Thanks Vittoria, we wish you a successful and fulfilling experience in this new edition of 2024!