Alberto NORONHA

Founder & CEO at Nium

Portuguese 

 

Going from research to starting a company is a very difficult exercise with a lot of uncertainty. It is also the most rewarding and educational experience I have had.

 

Originally from Portugal, where I worked before, I came to Luxembourg in 2014 to start my PhD studies at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) at the University of Luxembourg. I live in Belval, Luxembourg and speak 3 languages: Portuguese, English and some French. I am currently the CEO of Nium, a spin-off of the University of Luxembourg. As in any startup I wear many hats, but most of my time is spent on strategy, product, and fundraising.

What do you like most about your job?

The fact that I am involved in a project that means a lot to me and that I have some autonomy to decide where we can take the project.

What does a typical day look for you?

My allocation of time has evolved since we have founded the company. When before, there was a bigger focus on developing software now it is more occupied with management tasks. Mostly writing, which is a key skill nowadays – even more so during the COVID pandemic. Most of my time is spent working on documentation related to the company’s projects, strategy, and presentations. I also spend quite some time on presentations (and their preparation). It is important that we keep improving how we communicate our goals and vision so we can attract the needed investment.

 

What makes doing research in Luxembourg special?

The first impact for me was to see that it was quite easy for a foreigner to come here and do research. Luxembourg is very international, and you can see that in the research institutions. Another very important aspect is the commitment from the government to research and to developing important strategic fields both in research and innovation.

Which is your favorite place in Luxembourg?

When I joined in 2014 I was also looking to socialize and meet new people – my favorite spots in the city were the area of the palace and the Grund where you have very nice scenery and great bars to hang out.

What would you miss most when leaving Luxembourg?

The international environment and the excitement around innovation.

What’s your advice for a newcomer to Luxembourg?

Meeting new people is not as easy as in other (bigger) cities. If that is what you are looking for it will require some effort. It usually pays off.

What are your key objectives in your work?

Establish Nium as a reference company in the health and nutrition space.

What was the most rewarding experience in your job so far?

Going from research to starting a company is a very difficult exercise with a lot of uncertainty. It is also the most rewarding and educational experience I have had.