Centre for Entrepreneurship
Centre for Entrepreneurship

Prof. Dr. Dr. Gunter Festel

Gunter Festel is Professor for High-tech & Lifescience Entrepreneurship at the Technische Universität Berlin 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 at the Institute of Information Management. He also gives entrepreneurship lectures at various universities in Europe and in Asia like the Kazan State Technical University, the University of Hong Kong and the National University of Singapore. Previously, he was Head of the Start-up Research Group at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich.

Gunter Festel holds an MA and PhD in chemistry, a BA in business administration and an MA in economics from the University of Bayreuth, a PhD in management & economics from ETH Zürich and an Executive Master and a Master of Advanced Studies in Corporate Finance from the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts.

Besides his academic activities Gunter Festel is founder and CEO of the investment firm Festel Capital, which specializes in the commercialisation of technologies in the areas of energy, environment, health, materials and nutrition. Furthermore, he started the Founding Angels initiative (www.founding-angels.com) and has co-founded numerous technology start-ups. For example, he was founder and CEO of the start-ups TES Triton and Butalco as well as co-founder of Dispendix, all three of which were successfully sold to industrial companies. Within the start-ups Aquarray, Cerefort, DNA Essence, NanoLockin and SenseUp, which he co-founded, he is currently supporting global business development activities.

Prior to Festel Capital, he was a member of the management team and head of the consulting business for the chemical and healthcare industry with Arthur D. Little in Zurich and a consultant with McKinsey in Brussels, Frankfurt and London. He started his career with Bayer, where he held various management positions in R&D and marketing.

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 various 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 Asia Pacific.

He is a member of numerous advisory boards and reviewer for governmental institutions in Austria, Chile, the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland and Switzerland as well as the European Institute of Innovation & Technology. For several years he was chairman of the board of the Association of German Biotechnology Companies.

Gunter Festel 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 - currently supporting students in Myanmar. He lives with his British wife Karen in Central Switzerland at the famous mountain Bürgenstock, located on a peninsula of Lake Lucerne. His passion is travelling and, meanwhile, he has visited around 100 countries on all continents of the world.

Research Interests

The research interest of Gunter Festel is focused on various topics in the context of high-tech and especially lifescience start-ups. The sectoral focus is on the chemical, pharmaceutical, biotech, medical devices and energy industries, and the technological focus is on biotechnology, nanotechnology and energy technologies.

1) Strategic, operational and financial aspects of start-ups

Start-ups are important for the development of new technologies. As a catalyst for the commercial success of new technologies, they are of more and more importance for high-tech areas. To support the foundation of start-ups, strategic, operational and financial aspects have to be better understood by governmental institutions, investors and industry.

2) Technology transfer from universities and research institutions by start-ups

As a rule, a technology transfer gap exists between academic research and the commercialisation of the research results, which, in innovation processes, represents a serious barrier. Start-ups can bridge this gap as they can enable the fast transfer of research results into products due to their flexibility and efficiency. Especially established companies can increase their innovativeness by co-operations with and the acquisition of start-ups.

3) The Founding Angels' concept to foster the foundation of start-ups

Business angels and venture capital companies are normally focused on already founded companies, so they are unable to fill the gap between academic research and market success should insufficient start-ups be founded. Founding angels stand for an innovative business model which could help as a driving force for the foundation of new start-ups. Scientists are supported financially and operationally from the generation of business ideas to the building up of the start-up.

Lectures & Publications

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 regularly publishes in high ranked peer-reviewed scientific journals in natural and social sciences.

Lectures (selection)

Gunter Festel, How Shareholder Value Induces Company Transformations in the European Chemical Industry, 219th American Chemical Society National Meeting, Division of Business Development and Management, Symposium „The Chemical Industry in the New Millenium: Mature or Poised for New Growth“, San Francisco, 27th March 2000

Gunter Festel, Trends in Outsourcing and Collaboration in Pharma R&D – Structural Changes and Impact on R&D Performance, Symposium “Management of Pharmaceutical R&D in Turbulent Times – Perspectives and Trends” Institute for Technology Management of the University of St. Gallen, Zürich, 25th March 2003

Gunter Festel, Consolidation of the Global BR and SBR Business, Annual Meeting of the Inter-national Institute for Synthetic Rubber Producers, Beijing, 24th September 2003

Gunter Festel, Roman Boutellier, Founding angels as a driving force for the creation of new high-tech start-up companies, The R&D Management Conference 2008, Ottawa, 20th June 2008

Gunter Festel, Entrepreneurship – The Founding Angels Concept to Foster Academic Spin-offs, ECTN 4 Final Conference 2009 – Chemistry and the Bologna Process, Dresden, 9th September 2009

Gunter Festel, Importance of Start-ups to Foster Innovation Processes, Lecture at the National University of Singapore, Singapore, 25th October 2010

Gunter Festel, Commercialisation of Yeast Technology for Biofuel and Biochemical Production – Yeast Technology, Biochemicals, Founding Angels, International Conference on Next Generation Technologies for Bioenergy and Biomass Utilisation, Singapore, 3rd August 2012

Gunter Festel, Business and Economic Aspects of Industrial Biotechnology – Markets, Trends, Business Models and Financing, 12th International Conference for Agricultural Biotechnology (ABIC 2012), Rotorua, 5th September 2012

Gunter Festel, Development of Yeast Technology for Biofuel and Biochemical Production – Yeast Technology and Biochemical Markets, German Russian Forum Biotechnology 2012, Kazan, 11th September 2012

Gunter Festel, Commercialisation of New Technologies by Founding Angels – Background, Ap-proach, Examples, Conclusions, Kazan State Technical University, Kazan, 12th September 2012

Gunter Festel, Availability of innovative technologies for the industry by co-operations with angel investors, 6th European Conference of “N.I.C. – Nanotechnology in Chemical Industry”, Milano, 12th December 2012

Gunter Festel, Financing and Investment Models within the Bio-based Industry – Trends, Driv-ers/Barriers, Requirements, Opportunities, CRIBIQ Annual Meeting „Biobased building blocks and opportunities for the chemical industry”, Montreal, 13th February 2013

Gunter Festel, Importance of Private and Financial Investors for the Bioeconomy – Current Situation in Europe and Recommendations, 3rd European Bioeconomy Stakeholders' Conference “From Sectors to System” – From Concept to Reality”, Turin, 8th October 2014

Gunter Festel, Closing the Technology Transfer Gap Through Early-Stage Investments, CLIB 2021 Delegation Tour to China, Qingdao, 22nd April 2015

Gunter Festel, Improving of Innovativeness in Industrial Biotechnology Through Venture Capital Investments – Current Situation in Europe and Recommendations, European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology, Brussels, 29th October 2015

Gunter Festel, Experiences from the Co-operation with a Malaysian Palm Oil Producer, 9th Bio-fuels International Conference & Expo, Gent, September 22nd 2016

Gunter Festel, Closing the Technology Transfer Gap Through Early-Stage Investments by Founding Angels, CLIB 2021 Delegation Tour to China, Nanjing, 9th Novemebr 2016 / Shanghai, 11th November 2016

Peer reviewed articles (selection)

Technology transfer by start-ups/spin-offs

Gunter Festel, Academic spin-offs, corporate spin-outs and company internal start-ups as technology transfer approach, The Journal of Technology Transfer, Vol. 38, No. 4, August 2013, p. 454-470 (DOI 10.1007/s10961-012-9256-9 – first publication online in April 2012)

Gunter Festel, Catalyzing Innovation – Technology transfer models between industrial biotechnology companies and academic spin-offs, Industrial Biotechnology, Vol. 9, No. 5, October 2013, p. 252-257 (DOI 10.1089/ind.2013.1590 – first publication online in August 2013)

Gunter Festel, Technology transfer by new ventures within the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, Journal of Business Chemistry, Vol. 10, No. 3, October 2013, p. 115-130

Gunter Festel, Philipp Rittershaus, Fostering technology transfer in industrial biotechnology by academic spin-offs in Europe, Journal of Commercial Biotechnology, Vol. 20, No. 2, April 2014, p. 5-10

Gunter Festel, Similarities of successful technology transfer through new ventures, International Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 19, No. 2, April 2015, p. 1550025 1-35 (DOI: 10.1142/S1363919 615500255 – first publication online on 25th March 2015)

Gunter Festel, Technology transfer models based on academic spin-offs within the industrial biotechnology sector, International Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 19, No. 4, August 2015, p. 1550031 1-34 (DOI: 10.1142/S1363919615500310 – first publication online on 7th May 2015)

Gunter Festel, Christian Rammer, Fostering Innovation in Industrial Biotechnology Through Venture Capital Investments, Industrial Biotechnology, Vol. 11, No. 3, June 2015, p. 146-150 (DOI: 10.1089/ ind.2015.1509 – first publication online in April 2015)

Founding Angels investment model

Gunter Festel, Alexander Schicker, Roman Boutellier, Importance and Best Practice of Early Stage Nanotechnology Investments, Nanotechnology Law & Business, Vol. 7, No. 1, April 2010, p. 50-67

Gunter Festel, Founding Angels as Early Stage Investment Model to Foster Biotechnology Start-ups, Journal of Commercial Biotechnology, Vol. 17, No. 2, March 2011, p. 165-171

Gunter Festel, Jan Kratzer, The founding angels investment model - Case studies from the field of nanotechnology, Journal of Business Chemistry, Vol. 9, No. 1, February 2012, p. 19-29

Gunter Festel, Sven De Cleyn, Founding angels as an emerging subtype of the angel investment model in high-tech businesses, Venture Capital: An International Journal of Entrepreneurial Finance, Vol. 15, No. 3, July 2013, p. 261-282 (DOI 10.1080/13691066.2013.807059)

Gunter Festel, Sven De Cleyn, Founding Angels as an emerging investment model in high-tech areas, The Journal of Private Equity, Vol. 16, No. 4, Fall 2013, p. 37-45 (DOI 10.3905/jpe.2013.16.4. 037)

Gunter Festel, Pablo Breitenmoser, Martin Würmseher, Jan Kratzer, Early stage technology investments of pre-seed venture capitalists, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, Vol. 7, No. 4, December 2015, p. 370-395

Evaluation of start-up companies

Gunter Festel, Roman Boutellier, Ali Hassan, Peter Asmussen, Bewertung von High Tech-Start-ups in frühen Phasen, M&A Review, August/September 2009, p. 383-389

Gunter Festel, Bewertung von High-Tech-Start-ups durch systematische Anpassung des Betafaktors, Corporate Finance biz, No. 3, April 2010, p. 175-178

Gunter Festel, Martin Würmseher, Giacomo Cattaneo, Valuation of early stage high-tech start-up companies, International Journal of Business, Vol. 18, No. 3, Summer 2013, p. 216-231

Evaluation of biofuel technologies

Gunter Festel, Biokraftstoffe in Deutschland – Produktionskosten und Marktchancen, Chemie Ingenieur Technik, 79, No. 5, May 2007, p. 605-612

Gunter Festel, Biofuels – Which is the Most Economic One?, Chimia, Vol. 61, No. 11, November 2007, p. 744-749

Gunter Festel, Biofuels – Economic Aspects, Chemical Engineering & Technology, Vol. 31, No. 5, May 2008, p. 715-720

Gunter Festel, Martin Würmseher, Christian Rammer, Eckhard Boles, Martin Bellof, Modelling Production Cost Scenarios for Biofuels and Fossil Fuels in Europe, Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 66, 1st March 2013, p. 242-253 (DOI 10.1016/j.jclepro.2013.10.038 – first publication online in November 2013)

Gunter Festel, Martin Würmseher, C. Rammer, Scale and learning effects of biofuel conversion technologies, Energy Technology, Vol. 2, No. 3, July 2014, p. 612-617 (DOI 10.1002/ ente.201400014 – first publication online on 27th May 2014)

Evaluation of company locations

Gunter Festel, Martin Würmseher, Challenges and strategies for chemical/industrial parks in Europe, Journal of Business Chemistry, Vol. 10, No. 2, June 2013, p. 59-66

Gunter Festel, Martin Würmseher, Benchmarking of energy and utility infrastructures in industrial parks, Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 70, 1st May 2014, p. 15-26 (DOI 10.1016/j.jclepro.2014. 01.101 – first publication online on 20th February 2014)

Gunter Festel, Martin Würmseher, Benchmarking of industrial park infrastructures in Germany, Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 21, No. 6, p. 854-883 (DOI 10.1108/BIJ-01-2013-0015 – first publication online on 28th August 2014)

R&D and spin-offs in the pharmaceutical industry

Gunter Festel, Alexander Schicker, Roman Boutellier, Performance Improvement in Pharmaceutical R&D through New Outsourcing Models, Journal of Business Chemistry, Vol. 7, No. 2, May 2010, p. 89-96

Gunter Festel, Sven De Cleyn, Roman Boutellier, Johan Braet, Optimizing the R&D Process Using Spin-Outs: Case Studies from the Pharmaceutical Industry, Research Technology Management, Vol. 54, No. 1, January 2011, p. 32-41

Gunter Festel, Outsourcing chemical synthesis in the drug discovery process, Drug Discovery Today, Vol. 16, No. 5/6, March 2011, p. 237-243

Gunter Festel, Sven De Cleyn, R&D Spin-outs in the Pharmaceutical Industry, Journal of Business Chemistry, Vol. 8, No. 3, September 2011, p. 101-113

Gunter Festel, The nature of outsourced preclinical research – The example of chemical synthesis, Expert Opinion on Drug Discovery, Vol. 8, No. 9, September 2013, p. 1049-1055 (DOI 10.1517/17460441.2013.806909 - first publication online in June 2013)

Gunter Festel, Reasons for corporate research and development spin-outs – the chemical and pharmaceutical industry as example, R&D Management, Vol. 44, No. 4, September 2014, p. 398-408 (DOI 10.1111/radm.12077– first publication online on 31st July 2014)

Book articles (selection)

Gunter Festel, Urs Hofmeier, Outsourcing in der Pharma-Forschung und Entwicklung, in: Axel Wullenkord (Hrsg.), Praxishandbuch Outsourcing, München 2005, p. 173-185

Gunter Festel, Sarai Kölle, Anwendungsbereiche, Marktpotentiale und Erfolgsfaktoren für die industrielle Biotechnologie, in: S. Heiden, H. Zinke (Eds.), Weiße Biotechnologie - Industrie im Aufbruch, Berlin 2006, p. 41-50

Gunter Festel, Finanzmanagement in der Arzneimittelindustrie, in: R. Busse, J. Schreyögg, C. Gericke (Eds.), Management im Gesundheitswesen, Heidelberg 2006, p. 260-266

Gunter Festel, Zielgerichtete Umsetzung von Gründungsprojekten am Beispiel eines Biotech-Start-ups, in: K. Dautzenberg, Gunter Reger (Hrsg.), Risikobewertung und Finanzierung von technologieorientierten Gründerinnen und Gründern, Eul Verlag, Lohmar 2009, p. 105-111

Gunter Festel, Roman Boutellier, Founding Angels als innovatives Geschäftsmodell, in: A. Schicker, K. Wagner, K. Becker, F. Bau (Hrsg.), Spin-offs: vom Brutkasten zum Marktschlager, vdf Hochschulverlag, Zürich 2011, p. 99-104

Gunter Festel, Martin Bellof, Martin Würmseher, Christian Rammer, Eckhard Boles, Calculation of raw material prices and conversion costs for biofuels, in: A.D. Padula, O.I.B. Santos, M.S. dos Santos, D. Borenstein (Eds.), Liquid biofuels – Emergence, Development and Prospects, Lecture Notes in Energy Vol. 27, Springer, London 2014, p. 93-115

Gunter Festel, Festel Capital: Market Structure and Growth Rates of Industrial Biorenewables, in: Pablo Dominguez de Maria (Ed.), Industrial Biorenewables: A practical viewpoint, Hoboken, May 2016, p. 245-254

Georg Dahmen, Peter Haug, Gunter Festel, Axel Kraft, Volker Heil, Aandreas Menne, Christoph Unger, Greasoline: Biofuels from Nonfood materials and Residues, in: Pablo Dominguez de Maria (Ed.), Industrial Biorenewables: A practical viewpoint, Hoboken, May 2016, p. 267-281

Books (selection)

Sven De Cleyn, Gunter Festel (Eds.), Academic Spin-Offs and Technology Transfer in Europe: Best Practices and Breakthrough Models, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, September 2016

Gunter Festel, Gezielte Start-up-Gründungen durch Founding Angels - Kommerzialisierung neuer Technologien durch gezielte Start-up-Gründungen - Chancen und Möglichkeiten, Südwestdeutscher Verlag für Hochschulschriften 2009

Gunter Festel, Andreas Kreimeyer, Udo Oels, Maximilian v. Zedtwitz (Eds.), The Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industry in China - Opportunities and Threats for Foreign Companies, Springer 2005

Thomas Bergmann, Matthias Bode, Gunter Festel, Hermann Hauthal (Eds.), Industrieparks Herausforderungen und Trends in der Chemie- und Pharmaindustrie, Festel Capital, Hünenberg 2004

Harald Pacl, Gunter Festel, Günter Wess (Eds.), The Future of Pharma R&D Challenges and Trends, Festel Capital, Hünenberg 2004

Michael Dröscher, Gunter Festel, Martin Jager (Eds.), The Power of Innovation - How Innovation can Energize the Chemical Industry, Festel Capital, Huenenberg 2003

Gunter Festel, Dirk Schiereck (Eds.), Die Alchemie von Buyouts - Management Buyouts in der Chemie- und Pharma-Industrie, Shaker-Verlag, Aachen 2003

Gunter Festel, Ali Hassan, Jens Leker, Pol Bamelis (Eds.), Betriebswirtschaftslehre für Chemiker - Eine praxisorientierte Einführung, Springer, October 2001

Gunter Festel, F. Söllner, P. Bamelis (Eds.), Volkswirtschaftslehre für Chemiker - Eine praxisorientierte Einführung, Springer, February 2001