How do I start my own business?

From lab coat to business suit: Get a glimpse inside Lipid Legends’ startup journey

The founders (from left to right: Lena Grabner, Marc Pignitter, András Gregor) from the University of Vienna

Spin-Off “Lipid Legends” analyzing the optimized flaxseed oil.

Starting a business is never an easy choice, whether as a master’s student, a PhD student, or a professor. Successfully launching a company is always linked to challenges. But how do I overcome these hurdles and start a business successfully? Guest author Lena Grabner shares her experiences with us about starting a company. 

How did the story of Lipid Legends start?

The groundwork for Lipid Legends began many years ago at the Institute of Physiological Chemistry in the Faculty of Chemistry at the University of Vienna. Marc Pignitter conducted research on the shelf life of vegetable oils. The breakthrough came with flaxseed oil, which is typically characterized by its short shelf life and bitter taste. Through a modification in the pressing method, currently patent pending, it was achieved that the omega-3-rich oil does not only have a longer shelf life but is also particularly rich in polyphenols, which are believed to have health-promoting effects, and tastes exceptionally flavorful.

The company, a spin-off of the University of Vienna, was founded in May last year by Marc Pignitter, András Gregor, and Lena Grabner.

Out of the lab into the business world – how do you navigate this change?

The transition from a lab coat to a business outfit is not an easy one. Establishing a company is not only time- and cost-intensive but also demands a lot of ambition and determination. Coming from a scientific background, we initially faced numerous questions at the start:

• What exactly do we want to sell?

• Where do we want to offer our products?

• Who is our target group?

• Who produces our oils?

• What makes Lipid Legends stand out?

• How can we sell our oils?

The last question is likely the most challenging to answer. Today, where we are bombarded with information every day, reaching people is particularly difficult. Ultimately, we decided to do what we do best: make science understandable. On our website and on our social media channels (@lipidlegends_de), we share our revolutionary invention, the optimized flaxseed oil, and its health benefits with our followers every day. 

Is founding a company the right thing for me?

If you're considering starting a company, you should ask yourself three important questions:

1. Why do I want to become self-employed?

2. What opportunities and risks will I face?

3. What are my professional and personal goals in life?

If you can answer these questions with ease, and if the responses align with your business model, you are most likely ready to start your business. As a business owner, I believe that launching a startup is an exciting and educational experience that should not be missed.

Since we started our business venture, we have been cooperating with restaurants, shops, health professionals, pharmaceutical companies, research facilities and other small businesses. If you want to learn more about the University of Vienna Spin-off Lipid Legends you can visit our LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook account. We look forward to connecting with you!

 Author: Lena Grabner

Lena Grabner is a former master's student at the University of Vienna. Together with her colleagues from the Faculty of Chemistry she co-founded the company Lipid Legends. In addition, she works as a dietitian, specializing in the field of the gut microbiome.

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