futureSAX: Professor Rohayem, more than ten years ago you founded Riboxx GmbH and took part in the futureSAX ideas competition in 2008. If you look back at that time and compare it with today, what has changed in Saxony’s innovation landscape since then? How do you perceive the innovation ecosystem today?
Professor Rohayem:Riboxx was founded on May 7, 2009 as a spin-off from the Medical Faculty of the TU Dresden. Perhaps as a reminder, 2008 was the year of the global banking crisis caused by the Lehmann Brothers affair. Saxony was also affected, e.g. by the insolvency of Landesbank Sachsen and the resignation of the then finance minister. Starting a business seemed like a high risk in those years and I was advised against it. I did it anyway because I think and act countercyclically. And as an entrepreneur I took the full risk, left the university and took over the management of Riboxx, although as a civil servant I had received a call to a professorship at a renowned university, with very comfortable conditions. The Riboxx turned 12 years old on May 7, 2021.
Why am I telling you this? Because I am convinced that the essence of innovation is the founders. They are the ones who get up one morning and think: I have a solution to this problem – and I want to implement and market it. And for that, I’m willing to take a risk, because I have to believe in this solution and believe that I can solve this problem with it. And help customers solve their problem. And we need to promote these character traits more strongly – we need to support people from the innovation landscape of Saxony to summon up the courage and take the risk. It’s worth it!
futureSAX: What was your incentive to participate in the Ideas Competition (today: Founder’s Award) and what do you recommend to aspiring founders who want to apply for the Founder’s Award today?
Professor Rohayem: I wanted to have my idea reviewed by experts and experienced companies and business people to gain visibility for investors. I was able to do that because that’s how TGFS took notice of me.