Marcos Valdes – Executive Master in Technology and Innovation Management

8 November 2021

From the passion for Research to a love of popularizing science through innovation, university, and business. The story of Marcos Valdes, BBS Alumnus, researcher, popularizer, and entrepreneur, now at the helm of VIS srl, shows how commitment, vision and continuous training are the basis of a successful journey.

From research to outreach, always looking ahead

I graduated in Physics at the University of Florence in 2004, and then did my PhD at SISSA in Trieste, in astrophysics, theoretical cosmology in particular. Since then, I started a research career, with a first research contract at Tokyo University, and a second one at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa. I have been interested in the dissemination of science for several years now and so I give many public lectures and speeches in support of public engagement. Rather than doing research in a very circumscribed area, I increasingly liked the idea of doing high-level dissemination on a wide range of topics. And so it was that, again at the Scuola Normale Superiore (SNS), I participated in the presentation of a structured outreach project that obtained substantial funding from the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR).

From 2014 to 2018, I coordinated over 50 SNS professors and researchers in a series of outreach activities that were a huge success with the public, leading us to become a reference in Tuscany for science dissemination. For the first time, the SNS opened up to the public and explained the lives of researchers and the latest achievements in science. As a culmination of this effort, in 2015 I was awarded the outreach prize of the Italian Physics Society. From this experience I developed the conviction that there was a market generated by the widespread fascination with science and the need, also felt at institutional level, to communicate and disseminate increasingly complex scientific content. I also thought from the outset that there might be a demand for popularized content from companies that do high-level research but have difficulty in communicating their results.


From scientist to entrepreneur: when a Master’s degree can make the difference

This entrepreneurial idea led me to co-found, in 2019, VIS srl, the first spinoff of SNS, winner in 2020 of the National Geographic award at MIA and the Lamborghini award for the Borsa della Ricerca Awards. Today VIS, of which I am CEO, is a well-established company, with international clients, and pursues its goal of popularizing science through documentaries, short- and medium-length videos of different types, interactive new media such as VR/AR, and innovative training.

When, around 2017, the idea of founding a spinoff of SNS for the production of multimedia content for scientific dissemination of excellence was born, I felt the need to acquire entrepreneurial skills and I researched the offer of Executive masters in Italy and abroad. After attending an Open day at the Bologna Business School, I chose EMTIM – Executive Master in Technology and Innovation Management. The Master’s was a highly formative experience that gave me essential elements to undertake an entrepreneurial path within an institution like SNS that had never given birth to startups or spinoffs. VIS was born in 2019 and, to some extent, paved the way, as two more have been founded to date.

Today I can say, without exaggeration, that the EMTIM has been instrumental in the establishment of VIS srl. I had the fortune to be part of a closely-knit group of colleagues in the beautiful edition of EMTIM IX, and all the courses, thanks also to the excellent level of the instructors, have left me something important. Probably the part related to Cost Management and the final Project Work have been the fundamental elements. Together with the colleagues of the “Manduca” group (from the name of our startup idea for the final project work) we developed projects for startups and business plans that were then for me the starting point for the drafting of the VIS project.

VIS srl was born a little more than two years ago, and the growth opportunities are remarkable. We have entered different markets and experimented with different business models, from short, animated videos for research institutions such as the Helsinki University and Turku University, to medium-length documentaries for high-tech and innovative companies or institutes such as the Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya, in Barcelona, or the Centro Fermi in Rome. Thanks to the latter, we were able to access the National Laboratories of Gran Sasso to document a revolutionary experiment, and this work earned us the National Geographic award at the International Audiovisual Market in Rome in 2020. We also created a virtual reality game for M9 – Museo del ‘900 in Venice, to give everyone the chance to live the experience of the Apollo XI moon landing. 

A future of growth and new challenges, to be faced also with the support of the BBS Community

Since my appointment as CEO in March 2021, I’ve focused on the one hand on building on the excellent goals we’ve already achieved by expanding our network of clients and partnerships, and on the other hand working with partners to get to the point of making our first full-length documentary for Broadcast players and on-demand video services like Netflix. 

We have several projects in the works, and I hope that within a few months we will be able to launch a first major production on the topic of quantum computers. I would also like to boost the production of immersive and interactive applications, which in themselves are highly scalable. In this sense we are lucky to have as associate and industrial partner ETT S.p.A., one of the leaders at national level for new digital technologies, and in particular new media and experience design.

At BBS, I was able to become part of a network of people of the highest competence, and with many of these people a friendship was established. I think that represents the essence of networking. I know that when I need advice, a professional opinion, a contact, or some expertise, with the BBS Community I have a very high probability of finding what I am looking for.

That’s why today I would recommend living this experience to the fullest, without sparing yourself, even if it will require a significant commitment and some sacrifices. Of course, each of us has a job, family commitments, but investing time and work in an Executive Master’s is something from which you will have important and lasting benefits.


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