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Page 716 – Stanford Medicine X

Academy To Innovation - Innovation to technology, secret life of an academic entrepreneur

Aytac Durmaz aytacd@gmail.com


My aim is to provide a different perspective from another side of the world. How are things working in Turkey? Is it possible to create an innovative technology?

As a 15-year old high school student, my career aim was to create a working system where I can work with hundreds of people and create innovative tools. When I looked up the educational system, I found out the best way to do this was to study Engineering combined with Economics. I was a full scholarship student in one of the top universities in Turkey. Close to graduation, I found out that I was not even close to the point that I wanted to reach to be. I was insecure, not sure what could I do, and without a start-up environment that I can inspire.
With confused feelings, I started my masters of biomedical engineering. During that time, I met with wonderful academics and business people all around the world who had the same dreams as me. With a very small amount of money I had, I started up my technology company about x-ray diagnostic systems.

PieVision has now become a profitable company with more than 60 employees and several unique technologies on x-ray technologies and image processing. We still have a long road ahead of us.

Innovation technology still sounds very cool; however, it is really hard to implement in real life. There are lots of bureaucracy problems, which are hard to adapt on a fast changing technology world. Our technical education is very good; however, we have still problems on combining this education with innovation.
Our market is relatively small on the economical scale and has unique dynamics, which makes hard to test MVP’s for global scale.
On the positive side, there are lots of financial support and grants for seed money and startups, an eco-system creating up, and several hubs where we can meet with potential partners.
Start up culture generally start from the universities. There are lots of medical centers, and clusters with incubation capacities. We are one of the first members of INOVITA, first medical cluster in Turkey.
During that time, I found out the lack of the connection between education and innovation technology business connection. Only a few of my professors were able to understand what I’m trying to do and less of them were able to direct me to a point. On that note, we started a cluster called INOVITA combining with several professors, few start-up owners and some companies that support us.
As a country, we still have a long road ahead of us. We still have political and economic problems, but with young, bright, and genius minds, I hope that we will be able to do more in time. 
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