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Prof. Dr. Dr. Gunter Festel

Gunter Festel, born in Germany with German and Swiss nationality, is founder and CEO of the investment firm FESTEL CAPITAL located in Switzerland. His company specialises in the commercialisation of technologies in the areas of energy, environment, health, materials and nutrition.

He has developed the Founding Angels investment model (www.founding-angels.com) and (co-) founded, as Founding Angel, various technology start-ups in Germany and Switzerland. For example, he was founder and CEO of the waste water treatment company TES Triton Environmental Solutions, which was sold to Triton Water in Germany in 2009. Gunter Festel was also co-founder and CEO of the biotechnology company Butalco, which was sold to the French company Lesaffre in 2014, and co-founder and non-executive director of the laboratory equipment company Dispendix, which was sold to the Swedish company Cellink in 2018. Currently he is co-founder and non-executive director of numerous technology start-ups like Aquarray (www.aquarray.com), DNA Essence (www.dna-essence.com), NanoLockin (www.nanolockin.com) and Sense Up (www.senseup.de).

Prior to that, he was a member of the management team and head of the consulting business for the chemical and healthcare industry with Arthur D. Little as well as co-head of the global chemicals and healthcare business. He was also a consultant with McKinsey & Company and held various management positions within Bayer as head of a R&D laboratory, assistant to a member of Bayer's board of directors and product manager with responsibility for a 150 million Euro business.

Gunter Festel holds various degrees in natural and social sciences, i.e a MA and PhD in chemistry with focus on polymer chemistry and physics, a BA in business administration and a MA in economics from the German University of Bayreuth as well as a PhD in management & economics with focus on technology and innovation management from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich. Furthermore, he has an Executive Master of Corporate Finance and Master of Advanced Studies in Corporate Finance from the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland.

At the ETH Zurich he headed the Start-up Research Group within the Chair of Technology & Innovation Management from 2009 until 2015. Currently, he is Professor for high-tech and lifescience entrepreneurship at the Technische Universität (TU) Berlin/Berlin Institute of Technology as well as lecturer and research fellow at the University of Basel within the Chair of Financial Management. At the University of St. Gallen, he gives entrepreneurship lectures within the Institute of Technology Management and change/process management lectures within the Institute of Information Management. He also gives entrepreneurship lectures at various universities in Europe, like the ETH Zurich, the TU Berlin and the University Dusseldorf as well as at various universities in Asia, like the Kazan State Technical University, the University of Hong Kong and the National University of Singapore. Within the Putra Business School located at the Universiti Putra Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur he participates in the mentor programme for students looking to found their own company

Gunter Festel is co-founder of the Association for Chemistry and Economics, co-founder and member of the executive council of the China Association for Management of Technology and member of the advisory board of the Institute of Chemistry and Biological Chemistry at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences. He is a member of the Society for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology (DECHEMA) in Germany and was from 2013 to 2016 chairman of the board of the Association of German Biotechnology Companies. Previously he was also a member of the Swiss Chemical Society within the Medical Chemistry Division, the German Society for Petroleum and Coal Science and Technology and the Licensing Executives Society.

Regularly he has been engaged as a consultant to the OECD to help create a strategy for the bio-based economy. Within this area he is accepted as an international expert with regular discussions and presentations at different committees within the European Commission. He has been invited as a well-known expert for business aspects of the bio-based economy to give presentations at numerous conferences in Europe, the Americas and especially Asia.

Gunter Festel is reviewer for various governmental institutions like the Swiss National Science Foundation, the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, the Czech Science Foundation, the Polish National Science Centre and the Chilean National Science and Technology Commission. For the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy he sits on the reviewer board of the pre-seed and seed financing programmes for high-tech start-ups and for the German Federal Government of North Rhine-Westphalia in the reviewer board to evaluate spin-offs from universities and research organisations.  Previously he was an expert within the Deutscher Gründerpreis and reviewer of various business plan competitions (e.g. Science4Life).

He is author and editor of numerous books and author of more than 300 practice oriented publications on various topics, such as industry trends in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, corporate finance, innovation management, biotechnology and nanotechnology. Besides this, he also publishes regularly in high ranked peer-reviewed scientific journals in natural and social sciences. For numerous scientific journals he acts as scientific reviewer.

Gunter Festel lives with his British wife Karen in Central Switzerland at the famous Buergenstock Mountain, located on a peninsula in the middle of Lake Lucerne. He is member of the Swiss political party FDP.The Liberals and served for several years as an executive board member of the party responsible for finance within his local community.

He is founder and chairman of the Umbrella Kids Foundation (www.umbrella-kids.ch) with the aim to improve access to education for young people from low-income background, especially from developing countries.

His passion is travelling and, meanwhile, he has visited around 100 countries on all continents of the world.

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