Jiří Navrátil

Innovation Leader

My passion in life is science, and for this reason I have devoted myself to helping interesting technologies and the results of science and research to find successful application in the real world. And now I am engaged in this work at Direct People. We connect research workers with investors and help them to find a comprehensible language to discuss their research and technologies, as well as to seek commercial utilisation of their discoveries and view the results of their work from the perspective of application and sales results. Our vision is to create a new generation of technological firms.

My journey to Direct People

I studied material engineering at the University of Technology in Brno, and continued at the Academy of Sciences. After a few years in scientific research I found myself in a situation where it was not at all simple to apply my findings in the real life and convert them into something useful. This was not just my problem, but a deficiency of the whole of Czech science. That is something I wanted to change.

I got an inspiration at Imperial Innovations London, where they are probably the best at putting research to the real use. During my studies I became their technological scout and I spent three years coming back for two or three months internships. Every time I returned back home I tried to use acquired know-how and precious experience at my university in Brno. 

First I started a Multimedia Centre in support of education and science commercialization and I also focused on innovation in education at the Faculty of Chemistry. However, I increasingly felt that science and research need more support than they could get from the university alone. That is why I founded SciTech Visual – a company aiming to offer marketing support to research outputs. We worked for three universities but also for other workplaces and created the Czech Idea campaign for the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic. After a while I nevertheless realized that a good marketing alone is not a way to connect scientists and investors and does not lead to commercial use of research. 

That is why I am at Direct People. I know that what they do works form friends and colleagues. On top of that I already knew that university-innovation agency cooperation works from London.

Projects I have enjoyed

One of the most interesting projects I have worked on promoting was Hydal Biotech technology. It transforms used cooking oil, that is hard and difficult to recycle, into biopolymer PHA. This biodegradable plastics has no side effects to the environment and offers a wide range of possibilities for  further use. I am proud that I helped to bring this technology to life. The real magic is that it is a very simple solution with enormous positive impact on society.

A few words about me

My life motivation is to find use for what is invented in science and research, and to ensure that we do not  reinvent what is already here. It is interesting and I believe it can help us solve a lot of big social issues and make the world a better place.

I enjoy architecture and photography, so I take photos of architecture. I play golf to relax. When I get excited for something, I am able to sacrifice everything for it. I study all the available materials to gain the best possible overview. So for example when I photographed cobwebs for friends, I enjoyed it so much that I became the largest breeder of mygalomorphae in the Czech Republic and was on the editorial board of Mygalomorphae magazine. Apparently I’m a renaissance man.

Are you interested in what we do?