Elena Timofeeva and Grace Conyers

Journey from Hesitant Science Student to Science Business

Editor’s note: This post has been updated and broken links removed. Please see our policy on broken hyperlinks for more.

Meet Elena Timofeeva, who is the Co-founder, COO and Director of R&D at Influit Energy, LLC and Research Associate Professor at Illinois Institute of Technology. She explores nanotechnology and materials to create ways that surfaces can be modified to store electrical charge — making more efficient batteries.

In this interview, Elena shares with us her experiences from her journey from a hesitant science student to one that owns her own business.

0:41: What drew you to science?
4:50: Explore science!
7:05: What is it like working in both academia and business?
9:36: Elena’s journey to her current reality
11:00: The difference between Russian and Argonne National Lab
11:28: How to find your way in science
13:02: Lighting the entrepreneurial fire
16:26: Lab realities
18:20: Making decisions in business versus research lab on materials
21:26: Most challenging part of her work
22:22: Legal matters; learning the ropes
25:15: Legal matters; navigating intellectual properties
29:30: A tale of international protection gone awry
31:00: Hurdles to getting money — relationships are everything
33:00: Networking 101 — don’t do it all.
33:50: Teamwork
34:30: Work life balance — it’s all about the planning
39:00: Reminders, and just a half hour is needed
41:15: Advice from Elena

Important links:
These are also internships opportunities from the Department of Energy:

This is the link to Argonne National Lab Internships (you found one from Los Alamos too – each of 17 national labs have such programs).

Steve Blank – the author of Stanford University course on entrepreneurship

Clean Tech Open – another accelerator I went through – Silicon Valley based

I-Corps from NSF
https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_repo… (Dead link, so you’ll have to pop I-Corps into DuckDuckGo and see what their most recent page is.)

Small Business Innovation Research grants (SBIR)
sbir.gov – you can search for different opportunities there.

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