We help founders find, clarify and amplify their mission.

We talk the language of scientist and investor which makes us a unique partner to fuel founders’ deep tech ideas and help them to build exciting, scalable companies. We have a deep understanding of academic spin-offs and the deep tech founders landscape, we have the ability to view, recognise, analyse and propel companies to the next stage. We encourage the cross-fertilisation of startups to inspire new discoveries, we learn and profit from each other.

We connect ideas to opportunities.

xista consists of people embedded in science and business. We are excited about all science: from bits, molecules, and cells to circuits, devices, and systems. Benefiting from exposure to different disciplines, we are able to identify potential early on and help founders realize their vision.

We join forces for the future.

What drives us is the transformative power of science and innovation. We crave ambitious ideas. The bigger the ambition, the bigger the risk, this is what deep tech is all about. Deep tech is an endurance game, and we’re in it for the long term, supporting founders not only with funding but passion and expertise. We make this all possible because our team crosses multiple disciplines with different personalities, experiences and attributes. We are your asset. We have practical knowledge of managing companies and startups in the science and technology field so we can mentor your startup to the next level. Only when science and research are combined with the right ethos can progress in society be possible.

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Markus Wanko
Following a career in principal investment and strategy consulting spanning almost two decades and upon returning to Austria, Markus joined ISTA to build the team that is now driving the development of xista, the ecosystem to translate scientific findings into innovative products and services.  With a broad exposure to natural sciences and technology at MIT ranging from molecular biology to electrical engineering, he gained experience in venture capital investing with Safeguard Scientifics and the European Investment Fund, strategy consulting with the Boston Consulting Group, and principal investment with QIA, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds. Markus is a managing partner of xista science ventures as well as MD of our science park and the tech transfer arm. He serves on the board of AUTM, the US tech transfer association, as well as Cutanos and Ribbon Biolabs.  He holds an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School, an MSc from TU Vienna, and an MIM from WU Vienna and HEC Paris.
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Ingrid Kelly
Ingrid has a life sciences background and is our resident intellectual property expert. After completing a PhD in molecular biology at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, she started her training in patent law in London. Subsequently she assumed a number of different roles within Corporate IP at Novartis in Basel, while qualifying as a European and UK Patent Attorney. In 2012, Ingrid made a career switch into technology transfer, initially at the University of Vienna,  and later at ISTA. She is a registered technology transfer professional (RTTP).  xista science ventures welcomed Ingrid into the investment team in 2018, and promoted her to Partner in 2022. Ingrid is a member of the Board at Brainhero and also supports Brightmind.AI, G.ST Antivirals and Cutanos.
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Alexander Schwartz
Alexander is partner of xista science ventures. He is a trained chemist with a broad interest in the natural sciences and deep experience in consulting. Previous to joining xista science ventures, Alexander has worked for more than 15 years as a consultant, focusing on innovation, business development and strategy. For eight years he was part of McKinsey’s strategy practice, chemicals practice, and was a core member of the industrial biotechnology practitioner group. During this time, he served clients in the pharma, biotech, agriculture, chemical, and the basic materials industry. Alexander holds a PhD in chemistry, was a research fellow at ETH Zurich and a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University with George M Whitesides. Additionally, he pursued his research interest in agriculture as a research fellow at the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) while working as a consultant. Alexander is jury member of the Houska Prize for applied science in Austria, member of the supervisory board of stock listed SW Umwelttechnik, and board member of the Harvard Club of Austria.
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Florian Resch
Florian is a seasoned venture capital professional with experience throughout the lifecycle from sourcing to exits. After several years in mid-market M&A and some time in operational roles as co-founder and business development lead in early-stage companies, Florian worked as an investment manager with aws founders fund. There he led investments and served on the board of companies like Themis Bioscience, PlanRadar or ToolSense. Florian was involved in over 15 transactions in life science and tech startups during that time and was responsible for managing several exits. Florian is a managing partner of xista science ventures and serves on the board of Sarcura, CellEctric and prewave. Florian holds an LL.M. degree in Business & Law from the University of Vienna and was a Visiting Research Fellow at Stanford University under the TTLF Program.
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Bernhard Petermeier
Bernhard is an entrepreneur at heart with a record of accomplishments in science, business and entrepreneurship. Before joining ISTA, Bernhard co-founded a computer science spin-off from research of École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and served as the company’s CEO. Prior to that, Bernhard was appointed to lead the Technology Pioneers program of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and their Global Agenda Council on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. Bernhard also worked for ABB Switzerland both as a scientist and as a technology expert in their venture capital arm ABB Technology Ventures (ATV). Bernhard holds a PhD in mechatronics from Vienna University of Technology, an MBA from INSEAD, and an Executive Master in Global Leadership from WEF, where he is also a Global Leadership Fellow.
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Valentina Caradonio
As a fund controller, Valentina is our senior expert for diligently ensuring the accuracy of our fund’s and our portfolio companies’ financials. She is familiar with high tech startups, working previously as a finance manager for the Viennese health tech company, but also with the Private Equity sector given the decennal experience gained through financial due diligence and M&A projects in Kpmg and PwC Milan.  She gained international experience working as financial  consultant for 2 years for the New York-based accounting firm Funaro & Co. Valentina has a Bachelor in Business Administration as well as a Master in Administration Finance and Controlling from the Bocconi University Milan.
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Sonja Bechyna
Sonja joined the Life Sciences department as an analyst in September 2022. She provides research and analysis on individual companies in the healthcare industry and supports the team with her medical knowledge and clinical experience. Prior to joining xista science ventures, she worked as an intern with us from April 2021 alongside her medical studies in Austria, supporting the team with a focus on life sciences and the healthcare sector. Sonja holds a BSc in Health Sciences and received her Dr. med. univ. in Human Sciences from Karl Landsteiner University in June 2022.
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Alexander Fischl
Alex joined ISTA in 2016. At xista science ventures he is responsible for the fund’s IT operations and acts as a community manager, taking care of the manifold communications channels and organizing regular events. In addition, he acts as an advisor for business development, startup financing, and public grants in the computer science space. After working for 8 years as a Senior Marketing and Product Manager in Austria’s B2B telco industry, he studied Business Informatics and founded his own IT consultancy. Through his consulting projects, he became deeply immersed in the Viennese startup ecosystem, successfully acquiring numerous research and go-to market project grants for several of Austria’s top-ranked IT startups. Further, he is a full-stack software engineer, having developed innovative Web applications with a focus on geographic information systems for his own startup, as well as client projects. Alex holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Business Informatics from the Vienna University of Technology, as well as an Innovation diploma supplement from the Informatics Innovation Center (i2c).
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Melanie Leisser
Melanie joined ISTA in February 2020 and is responsible for all administrative and organizational matters in Executive Affairs and Technology Transfer. In this role she also supports the tenants of xista science park as well as the administration of the xista science ventures seed fund. Melanie graduated from the commercial academy in Bruck/Leitha with distinction and has 8 years of professional experience in financial administration.

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