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6 CEE Female Scientists Turned Entrepreneurs

6 CEE Female Scientists Turned Entrepreneurs,
Image credit: Canva

Over the years, women in science have encountered various challenges, especially those who pursue entrepreneurship within the scientific realm. According to а PitchBook report, although startups founded exclusively by women received only a small portion of the total venture capital investment, their share is on the rise. In 2022, they represented 0.9% of the total capital invested, a figure that increased to 1.6% in 2023.

Women are steadily overcoming obstacles to make meaningful impact in their respective fields, serving as inspirations for future generations. As Marie Curie once said, “One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.”

Let’s draw inspiration from the journeys of 6 female scientists turned entrepreneurs!


Milena Georgieva

With extensive knowledge in molecular biology, genetics, and epigenetics, Milena Georgieva is a professor at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. She is also a co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer at the startup company EPIX.AI, which deploys AI and ML algorithms, to decode genetic triggers and organize and utilize effectively the abundance of health data. Her focus also involves advocating for a common language to bridge the gap between the scientific, business, and governmental sectors.


Maria Chatzou Dunford

The Greek founder and CEO of Lifebit is a life sciences scientist, holding a PhD in Biomedicine from Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Lifebit, an intelligent genomics and bioinformatics platform, was born when Maria and her Co-Founder Pablo, struggled with big data analysis. Dr. Dunford previously founded Innovation Forum Barcelona and worked as a researcher on big biomedical data at the Centre for Genomic Regulation, in Barcelona, Spain.


Uliana Dorofeyeva

With a complex experience in assisted reproductive technology related procedures, such as artificial insemination, Uliana is a pioneer for mitochondrial donation to treat infertility. In 2020 she founded Slavakian Ovogene, an AI egg donor bank. Ukrainian-born Uliana holds a M.D. in obstetrics and gynecology from Lviv Danylo Halytsky National Medical University. 

Read more:  10 years later, 10 ways for the Bulgarian VC ecosystem to mature


Liina Joller-Vahter 

Liina plays a pivotal role as the co-founder of Estonian POWER ALGAE, a vertically integrated biotechnology company developing technologies for microalgae valorization. She has extensive background in innovation management, with a Ph.D. from the University of Tartu, currently a researcher and a lecturer there. Liina actively works on business models, which enable environmentally sustainable solutions to become financially viable. With her academic and policy advisory expertise, Liina promotes the adoption of eco-innovations, such as electric cars and bioeconomy value chains. 


Aiste Balciunaitiene 

Aiste is a postdoctoral researcher at the Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry. In her work she recognized the demand for natural products and the use of medicinal plants, and in 2018 Aiste founded her company Biofita, a Lithuanian biotech startup offering research, experimental development, project development, and consulting for the pharmaceutical and medical industry.


Magda Kordon-Kiszala

With passion and devotion not only to science, but also to music and the violin, Magda is a founder and CEO of Polish-based intoDNA, a company, offering an end-to-end process for DNA break detection. She has a vast research background in biophysics, cell biology and the fields of biology of cell nucleus, chromatin structure, DNA damage repair and CRISPR-Cas biology. She is also an inventor on a patent describing the highly sensitive technique of detection of free ends of DNA in situ in cells. 


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Teodora Atanasova is a News Editor at The Recursive. She covers everything around funding rounds, exits, startups expanding to international markets, big tech opening R&D in CEE, meaningful for the ecosystem partnerships.