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Miguel Molina Romero followed an extraordinary path. Today he is the CTO and Co-founder of Orbem, a successful German tech company with a focus on the food industry, but his journey started as a telecommunication engineer in Spain.

The GFVP programme helped Miguel move in a completely different direction. 

04 Jun 2024

Can you tell us a bit more about your professional background?



Miguel: ‘I’m from Spain, where I studied telecommunications engineering

Before graduation, I started developing apps for a big telco company in Spain. I was mainly involved in the development of contactless payment processes back in 2009. That was interesting; I learned about software engineering and compliance, but I wanted to make a different impact on society.

I then decided to combine my job with a Masters in Telemedicine and Bioengineering. That’s how I got in touch with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), a highly sophisticated and exciting technology used in hospitals to take pictures from inside the body. It was a real discovery for me, and I subsequently decided to switch gears to contribute to the development of MRI.’



Exciting! What was your next step?

‘I applied for a PhD position at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in Computer Sciences with a focus on neuroimaging. With my research, I helped to understand the microstructural information in the brain using MRI scans. Back then, in 2014, AI was gaining momentum and its combination with MRI technology was very promising.’

How did you make the move from the research world to industrial food systems?

‘MRI is extremely versatile, one can see different features from inside objects, and in combination with AI it becomes fast and accurate. 

We harnessed this potential and developed the first AI-powered industrial MRI

Unlike traditional MRI used in hospitals, these systems are designed for faster and automated analysis, making it ideal for industrial applications

The food industry, for example, produces millions of objects that can be scanned and classified with MRI. We help them to be more sustainable by gaining information from inside these objects.’

Was that the moment you applied for the GFVP programme?

‘Exactly! Together with Pedro Gómez and Maria Laparidou, my two co-founders, we did the research but we didn’t have a product yet

We were eager to deliver value with our ideas, and that’s exactly what the GFVP Programme is enabling.

I was an engineer and a scientist, but never an entrepreneur. The Global Food Venture Programme gave me the opportunity to discover the reach we could have.’

How has the programme influenced your perspective on entrepreneurship?

‘We came into contact with other start-ups and entrepreneurs, showing us how they made the transition from lab to business

I also learned how to balance the triangle of product design, customer needs and business model. It was all very interesting, with a lot of workshops about the go-to-market strategy. Exactly the skills that I was lacking – and that are still useful for me today.’

‘Another crucial topic was learning how to build a team. I particularly remember the workshop in San Francisco about company values

I would advise any entrepreneur to conceive a strong company culture based on well-defined core values from the very beginning. Common core values are extremely important in order to successfully work together. I’m convinced this approach is one of the keys to Orbem’s success. Even if profiles like data scientists are hard to find, we don’t compromise on company values - everyone must fit in the team.’

To what extent have GFVP and EIT Food supported the early stages of your start-up?

GFVP, and in a later stage Seedbed, were fundamental in my journey as an entrepreneur. 

In 2019 – the year Orbem was founded - we also won the EIT Food Accelerator Network Programme.

EIT Food has also helped us find the sources we needed to hire our first team members. But most of all, they paved my transition from an engineering and scientific to a managerial and leadership mindset. While making good friends in the network along the way.’


What is the current stage of your start-up and what are your future plans?

‘Today – June 2024 - we have more than 100 employees. 

2023 was a pivotal year : we went into production and we landed a €30 Million funding round. So we are all geared up for further growth. The plan is to scale our applications. Today, we are delivering on poultry and looking beyond.’

How are you making a sustainable impact?

‘We believe sustainability is not optional. Now I know that I am making the impact that I was missing at the start of my career

At Orbem, we are developing technology for the mutual benefit of society, the environment and the economy.

Our first product, the Genus Focus for in-ovo sexing is a groundbreaking product that enables hatcheries to determine the sex of an egg in a completely contactless and non-invasive manner, delivering results in just one second per egg. 

This makes us the most sustainable and efficient option on the market. It eliminates the controversial practice of male chick culling, ensuring compliance with the latest regulations in Germany and France. We work with convinced leading producers in the poultry industry, and already helped them scan more than 45 million eggs.’


Note from the Editor - Source : AI-powered imaging for object scanning and classification | Orbem

Billions of day-old male-layer chicks are culled because they are of no value to the poultry industry. The Genus can non-invasively detect the sex in-ovo for any breed on day 12 of incubation. Hatchability is not affected and male embryos remain fully intact, so they can be further processed into biogas for energy generation, animal feed, or for vaccine production.

Orbem's Impact on Society, Environment & Economy

People How is Orbem impacting our Society?

Orbem is feeding the world through accurate sorting in food processing. In the poultry industry, they can prevent the waste of more than 10 billion unfertilized eggs, enough to feed an egg per day to more than 28 million people for a year.

Orbem created over 100 jobs.

Planet How is Orbem impacting our Environment?


Orbem is reducing waste and energy consumption through early fault detection. In the seed breeding industry, they can detect viable seeds at an early stage, reducing the energy intake per viable plant by up to 90%.

Profit How is Orbem impacting our Economy?

Orbem is building the food production line of the future by creating new revenue streams and increasing production efficiency. In the nut industry, they detect defects in nuts before shell removal, saving costs down the line by reducing the risk of contamination.

Square Miguel Orbem
“The Global Food Venture Programme paved my transition from an engineering and scientific to a managerial and leadership mindset.I also learned how to balance the triangle of product design, customer needs and business model. It was all very interesting, with a lot of workshops about the go-to-market strategy. Exactly the skills that I was lacking – and that are still useful for me today.”
Miguel Molina Romero, CTO & Co-founder Orbem, GFVP Alumnus