This interview is part of a series of conversations with the people working at Mimetas. The 'I' in Mimetas focuses on the personal side of the scientists that drive our world. Today we have a chat with Paul Vulto, CEO and co-founder of Mimetas.
What is different in how you thought Mimetas would be and what Mimetas has become?
From the moment we chose to go for 3D cell culture, the concept of Mimetas has not changed too much. In the early days, we wanted to sell hardware, but we quickly found out that ‘just’ selling disposables did not work. Other companies and scientists could and would not develop the unique biology and assays made possible by the OrganoPlate, so we decided to tackle that problem ourselves. As a result, we quickly became a biology company. Frankly, the biggest change in Mimetas is happening now: scientists outside of Mimetas have started innovating on the platform themselves, and we are focusing more on drug development.
What is your favorite pastime?
I love spending time with my kids! Honestly, I don’t do it enough. We own a cottage in the east of the Netherlands, which we visit at least once a month. There we spend time without electronics; it’s always lots of fun and very relaxing! I also play trumpet in a big band and take piano lessons.
What small things in life make you happy?
I love ‘creating’ with other people, although it is not necessarily a small thing! Conceptualizing something non-existing and bringing it to reality gives energy. The moment an idea starts resonating and becomes bigger than the contributions of individuals is magic!
If you could send a message to yourself 20 years ago, what would you tell the younger you?
In the year 2000, I was having the time of my life. I was in Prague, studying history for half a year, which was quite different from my Electrical Engineering studies in the Netherlands. I would say to myself: “Paul, don’t be an idiot. Take that extra delay and stay for the whole year.” I loved studying history, but also experiencing a different culture, learning the language, and meeting new and exciting people. During my first course, we were supposed to read and debate a book about World War 1. I was baffled that discussing a book was something you could get graded for – I was doing that for a hobby all the time!
What is your favorite quote, song, or belief, anything that you live by?
A lyric from a song by Ramses Shaffy, which is also the motto of my PhD thesis. Translated, it reads as follows:
“Your head up high,
your nose in the wind
and don’t let the other decide what to think.
Keep a heart full of warmth
and love within,
but be on your square meter a king!
What you search for, no other can give.
Man, dare to live!”
The song is about the courage to dare do things, that you are at best when being yourself and combine this with love and a passion for the people around you. Ramses Shaffy is an inspiration to me: not just because of his music, but also his lifestyle and how he changed Dutch society by being his exotic self! Leveraging who you are, is the key to making a difference!