Journey from CERN to entrepreneurship

Thanks to CERN Venture Connect, a new program that helps launch startups at CERN, ideas can thrive and shape the future of technology

In an ever-changing entrepreneurial landscape, there is a deep belief in the transformative power of collaboration. This belief is true at CERN, where cutting-edge technologies for accelerators, detectors and computing are developed through international collaboration. CERN’s unique environment creates an atmosphere in which talented individuals collaborate, ideas flourish and technologies are born that can revolutionize the world.

It was in this extraordinary environment that extraordinary stories took place, such as that of Andrea Apollonio, former coordinator for the launch of the LHC equipment. While at CERN, Andrea immersed himself in the complex world of fault tracking, risk and reliability analysis, data management, machine learning, and performance monitoring of the CERN accelerator complex. After ten years at CERN, his entrepreneurial spirit led him to imagine creating a venture centered around the cutting-edge Accelerator Fault Tracker (AFT) technology developed at CERN.

Thus, srl was born from Andreas’ vision to use AI-based risk analysis to create robust, reliable systems for a variety of applications. Working with co-founder Thomas Cartier-Michaud, another CERN alumnus, Andrea embarked on a transformational journey to secure funding for the development of a key prototype and gain access to advanced computing infrastructure and artificial intelligence services.

A key element of this journey was the newly established CERN Venture Connect (CVC) program, launched in 2023, which aims to connect startups with top entrepreneurship operators, venture capitalists, corporate partners, incubators and mentors. CVC establishes streamlined and standardized licensing agreements, optimized for rapid execution, through an innovative transaction structure. 2% royalties payable only when the startup achieves sales of 1 MCHF.

In creating the CVC, the CERN entrepreneurship team began discussions with Microsoft with the goal of better leveraging the Microsoft for StartupsFounders Hub within the CVC program and, most importantly, bringing Reshape.systemss.rl to Microsoft. The partnership between Microsoft and CVC proved groundbreaking for Andreas’ startup, which initiated a formal application to Founders Hub. By qualifying for the Microsoft for Startups program, now has access to industry-leading AI services, expert advice and the essential technology needed to build a future-proof startup.

Working with Andrea to transform fault tracking for the CERN accelerator complex resulted in significantly improved operational visibility and high strategic value. Now, thanks to srl, other organizations can also benefit from working with Andrea to increase their own value streams, says Chris Roderick, Group Leader of Controls Software and Services in the Beams Division at CERN.

Andrea Apollonios’ journey from CERN to entrepreneurship is a testament to the limitless opportunities that emerge when passion, expertise and the spirit of innovation converge and are supported by visionary organizations like CERN. CERN Venture Connect (CVC) aims to support such ambitions, empower the next generation of scientist-entrepreneurs and shape the future through technology, says Ash Ravikumar of the CERN Entrepreneurship Team in the CERN Knowledge Transfer Group.

If you want to learn more about CERN Venture Connect, hear how Microsoft is supporting startups, and listen to Andreas’ journey, come to the Venture Connect event at CERN on October 30 or join online via Zoom. To register, visit:

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