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  • Writer's pictureDimitris Rigas

Young Greeks take over Boston, MA

Updated: Dec 21, 2022

Enabling young people to become more involved with entrepreneurship has been the vision of Mindspace since its founding back in 2015 by Dimitris Messinis, and the very core of its existence has been to give to all those young people, all the necessary stimuli, in order to become active and vital members of society. One of the ways Mindspace does that is via the annual "Adventurers Trip". The Adventurers Trip, is a trip to the US aimed for young people who want to become entrepreneurs or are interested in learning more about the US culture, talk to important and successful people, expand their network, pitch their ideas and, therefore, figure out what they want to do in the future.

This year's trip to Boston, Massachusetts was a long anticipated one. Two years of COVID-19 had halted all international travels until this year that we could finally make it happen. Sixteen "adventurous" Greeks travelled to the US for 10 days to explore new potentials and possibilities for their future careers. Below you will have the opportunity to peek into all the meetings.

Stavros Papadopoulos, CEO of TileDB

TileDB is a revolutionary Database which overcomes the constraints of columnar tables, flat files, and SQL-only tools, handling all data with a multi-dimensional array engine and extreme interoperability across the data science ecosystem. During our conversation with Mr. Papadopoulos we had the opportunity to learn more about his career path, talk about launching a startup, closing deals with investors and potential clients, he gave us insights on how it is to start a business and walked us through its evolution and growth path. Last but not least, he pointed out the importance of choosing the right team in order to make your vision a reality.

With Stavros Papadopoulos at CIC

Meeting at IBM Research Centre (Cambridge, MA)

IBM is a well known multinational technology and its activities vary anywhere from hardware to software. During our time at IMB Research Centre we had the opportunity to talk about all the technological innovation they're working on and their immense societal impact. We focused on the many uses and advantages of developing Artificial Inteligence (AI) Technology that can transform sectors like healthcare, cybersecurity and more.

Mr. Werner Geyer, Senior Manager & Principal Research Staff Member - AI Interaction, talked us about Human Centred AI.

Mr. Jim Cadden, Research Staff Member at IBM & Technical Assistant to the CTO at Red Hat, talked us about the Hybrid Cloud.

Mr. Constantinos Evangelinos, Research Staff Member at IBM Research, explained Codesign.

Mr. Kenney Ng, Senior Manager at the Centre of Computational Health, talked to us about the benefits of AI in Healthcare.

Mr. Derek Leist, Innovation Strategist at IBM Research, walked us through the benefits of AI in Business Innovation

Last but not least, Mr. Kirk Jordan, Distinguished Engineer & Chief Science Officer at IBM Research UK, talked about the Discovery Accelerator and Lab Collaboration.

With Constantinos Evangelinos at IBM Research

Tour of the Cambridge Innovation Centre & Venture Café

The Cambridge Innovation Centre (CIC) has been located in the famous Kendall Sq. since 1999. It's a place that houses startups, corporations, investors, accelerators, and nonprofits where anyone with an idea can go grow their business while they take care of the rest. At CIC you can rent a desk, a small space or a bigger space to house your company while you have access to the rest of the facilities, like, meeting rooms, networking spaces and events, legal support, unlimited snacks and coffee. During the tour, our guides, explained the idea and the philosophy behind CIC and how impactful it has been since its founding but also during the difficult times of COVID-19.

After our tour, we had the opportunity to attend the Venture Café. The Venture Café is a networking event, hosted at the CIC space, where people with business ideas can go and meet new people, potential future business partners etc.

At Cambridge Innovation Centre

Manolis Kellis, Professor of Computer Science at MIT (Computational Biology)

We met with Professor Kellis at his office at MIT CSAIL. CSAIL stands for Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. It's the largest research laboratory at MIT and one of the world's most important centres of innovation. We discussed with Mr. Kellis about all the research he and his team are doing at MIT on genetics and different kind of alterations they can do at the human cell. Then, he explained to us, how these alterations can influence and cure different kinds of diseases. His main points were how computers can help us ananlyse huge amounts of data, fast and accurately in order to work on such difficult and complex methods and areas of research.

With Manolis Kellis at MIT

Katerina Bagiati, Research Scientist at MIT

Mrs. Bagiati has been working on the evolution of educational methods. Her key-point is that, as many other things evolve through the decades, educational methods have stayed the same. Herself and her colleagues at MIT, are looking for different kinds of educational methods that different people can use in order to learn more effectively rather than using the traditional ones which prove to be less and less effective.

With Katerina Bagiati at MIT Open Learning

MIT Tour

Thanks to Korina and Giannis, from MIT's Hellenic Community we had a tour of the campus of MIT. We learned about the history, the legends, discovered libraries, amphitheaters and all the different buildings of the campus.

With Korina & Giannis at MIT

Michail Bletsas, Director of Computing & Research Scientist at MIT Media Lab

The MIT Media Lab is an andiciplinary research laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology growing out of MIT's Architecture Machine Group in the School of Architecture. Its research does not restrict to fixed academic disciplines, but draws from school, media, science, art and design. Mr. Bletsas showed us around the facilities and all the cool stuff they're working on including test products on neurobiology, biologically inspired fabrication, socially engaging robots, emotive computing, bionics and hyperinstruments.

With Michail Bletsas at MIT Media Lab

TUFTS Launchpad Biolabs

TUFTS Launchpad is a place where biotechnology startups can be offered flexible and fully equipped co-working labs and office spaces. Launching a company is often not an easy task so TUFTS Launchpad offers a unique solution to those who need it. Touring the facilities we saw 25 early-stage companies who work towards their goal in a welcoming and fully equipped space. These companies often have opportunities of funding via multiple financial supporters who collaborate with TUFTS Launchpad.

John Cosmopoulos and Suresh Annavarapu at TUFTS Tech Transfer

Mr. John Cosmopoulos, Innovation Manager and Senior Associate Director at TUFTS University & Mr. Suresh Annavarapu, Senior Licencing Associate met as at their offices and had a conversation with us about facilitating the transfer of TUFTS technology for public use and benefit. They explained how they develop technologies for commercial use, how they identify potential markets and needs, and last but not least how they file patents and negotiate license agreements with industry partners.

With John Cosmopoulos & Suresh Annavarapu at TUFTS Tech Transfer

Marina Hatsopoulos, Entrepreneur, Investor, Writer & Speaker

Marina Hatsopoulos welcomed us to her apartment for a casual lunch. Mrs. Hatsopoulos is a Greek-American entrepreneur, investor, writer and TEDx speaker actively involved in the Greek-American community of Boston. Some of the people in our group pitched their ideas and areas of interest while also asking for some tips. We got to know each other better and discuss potential opportunities and growing areas of investment. We also got to learn more about Mrs. Hatsopoulos and her successful journey so far, but, also some of her future plans.

With Marina Hatsopoulos at her Penthouse in Boston

Anna Protopapas, President & CEO of Mersana Therapeutics

Mersana Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the discovery and development of antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) therapies to treat patients fighting cancer. Mrs. Protopapas gave us a presentation of how this method works, shared some insights about their research, potentials and shared her passion for advancing therapies that make significal impact in the lives of people living with cancer. The meeting was very insightful as we talked about the struggles and the journey of newly founded companies as well as topics and questions about investors.

With Anna Protopapas at Mersana Therapeutics

Drake G. Behrakis, President at Marwick Associates

Mr. Behrakis is a Greek-American businessman, medical researcher, retired pharmacist and philanthropist. He met us at Maliotis Cultural Center. We talked with Mr. Behrakis about the opportunities of investments in Greece, his experience in real estate and he gave us some tips based on his life-long experience.

With Drake G. Behrakis at Maliotis Cultural Centre

Stratos Efthymiou, Consul General of Greece

Mr. Efthymiou has been the Consul General of Greece in Boston for the past 5 years. His work until now has been unstoppable. We had the pleasure to learn about all the activities the Consulate of Greece has organised to strengthen the relationship between Greek-Americans and their heritage. Mr. Efthymiou has really changed the scene of Greek representation in the area of Boston in the last 5 years. From renovating the building which is as he says "the face of Greece to foreigners", to keeping all the Greek-American people engaged with Greece and his initiative for launching the direct flight of Delta Airlines from Boston to Athens, Greek presence is for sure vibrant in the area of Boston, MA.

With Stratos Efthymiou at Consulate General of Greece in Boston

Hellenic Innovation Network

Our last stop in Boston was the Hellenic Innovation Network. It featured two Greeks in life sciences Vounatsos (CEO of Biogen) and Galakatos (Blackstone), and startuppers in life sciences. George Behrakis, entrepreneur and philanthropist, was honoured in this event and was given an award by Stratos Efthymiou. The Hellenic Innovation Network was also a networking event where anyone could meet the people who was interested in and pitch their ideas or discuss future plans.

At Mindspace, we believe at young people, that's why we follow our vision every day through our activities. The "Adventurers Trip" to Boston was an initiative we hope fulfilled all the expectations of our participants and gave them a more clear perspective and view of what they want to do in the future. We, also, want to thank all of the people who dedicated their time to talk to us and we hope to see them again soon.

Stay in touch with Mindspace and all its activities through Instagram, Facebook & LinkedIn.

The Adventurers Trip to Boston is supported by the Public Affairs of the US Embassy in Athens.



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