Team Spotlight - Dr. Ania Sergeenko

By our Head of Story, Leah Sarich


Dr. Ania Tersakian Sergeenko is the newest member of the Funding Catalyst team.


And, she’s the latest scientist to join the team. Ania has a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry from Simon Fraser University. She was also a post doctoral fellow with Applied Quantum Materials where she led a team developing sensors for explosives detection. It was working for this startup that built a product with real world application that ignited her interest in startups.



“There were all kinds of opportunities to work with clients and develop project scopes,” explains Ania. “It wasn't just working in a lab. It also introduced me to real life grant writing, running a business and the startup world.”


After her fellowship, Ania worked at the National Research Council but she had been bitten by the startup bug.


“I really missed working in industry,” admits Ania. “I liked the pace, where things were changing constantly and you go after whatever sticks.”


So Ania chose to join the Funding Catalyst team where she works directly with founders as they grow their startups.


“It can make the difference between a venture surviving or closing the doors.”---Dr. Ania Sergeenko, on the Funding Catalyst service

“I work with ventures to try and help them apply for funding opportunities that are the best fit for them and what they need at the time,” says Ania. “For example, if they’re looking to bring someone on as a hire, we look at wage subsidies or we help them with other non-dilutive funding.”


Ania loves seeing the impact she and the Funding Catalyst team has on the growth of these startups. “It can make the difference between a venture surviving or closing the doors,” she says. “A lot of these companies are early-stage, even pre-revenue and we’re trying to help them get stabilized and give them, through these programs, the opportunity to get to the next stage of revenue.”


She explains that founder empathy is at the heart of how the FC team and Thin Air Labs as a whole, engages with founders.


“You have to understand what these founders are going through everyday just trying to keep the lights on. They’re under a lot of pressure and we’re there to support them." ---Dr. Ania Sergeenko, Funding Catalyst

“You have to understand what these founders are going through everyday just trying to keep the lights on. They’re under a lot of pressure and we’re there to support them. And I think as Funding Catalysts we have such a unique opportunity to help them, help them grow their business and grow the economy in Alberta which is our goal.”


And we’ll grow the economy by supporting founders building companies with an eye to the future… who are #BuildingWhatsNext.


Ania admits that slogan really resonates with her. It attracted her to Thin Air Labs.


“What I always wanted out of chemistry and research was to make something that would actually be used somewhere,” says Ania. “I loved seeing things that came from our lab become commercialized and used by the community.”


And as a Funding Catalyst, she ensures many more products and platforms get commercialized and into the community. Just a few months in, and Ania is already seeing the support she’s providing for early stage founders translate into their ventures making it to the next stage of growth…allowing them to continue on their path to global human #impact.


 

To learn more about how Ania and the Funding Catalyst team support startup growth, go here.


In the meantime, something you might be surprised to learn about Ania:


“I love to paint, I love art. As a scientist it doesn’t seem to fit, but there’s a lot of beauty in science. For example, I love taking pictures of crystals, some have even been published in journals. But some are just pretty and colourful. I love looking at them under the microscope.” (photo credit: Ania Sergeenko)