The Booth DC Entrepreneur's Advisory Group will meet on Wednesday, June 15, from 7-9 pm at the offices of Wilson Sonsini at 1700 K street. This month we have two events in one.
(1) Brief on The University of Chicago's Innovation Fund
(2) Our regular discussion, featuring several business plan contestants from the Community Business Partnership's annual competition.
(1) Prior to our regular discussion, we will hear from Alan Thomas, Director ofthe University's Office of Technology and Intellectual Property, who will talk to us about the University of Chicago's Innovation Fund.
The University of Chicago's Innovation Fund is a unique opportunity for individuals, foundations, and corporations to seed the next wave of potentially game-changing innovation.
Discoveries made at US research universities have propelled many of the products that shape the world in which we live. But many don't get the chance to prove themselves, for no better reason than their inventors lack the time and knowledge to convert their bright idea into a product prototype, or because such work falls outside the scope of their research grants. It's called the "valley of death"—the chasm between a promising scientific discovery and a marketable prototype that can attract the external funding needed to bring it to market.
The Innovation Fund is designed expressly to bridge the valley of death by providing a pool of $10 million to $20 million to fund the market studies, product prototyping and regulatory review needed to assess the commercial viability of early-stage discoveries – essential work not covered by traditional academic funding.
Innovation Fund awards, typically between $25,000 and $100,000, will be made to ten or more projects a year by an external panel of reviewers selected for their expertise in assessing early stage technology.
The Innovation Fund is part of an exciting new chapter in the evolution of one of the world's foremost research institutions. It forms a central pillar of Chicago Science, a strategic initiative to cement the University of Chicago's leadership in today's critical scientific fields and address the key challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. Core to this is a commitment to translating groundbreaking scientific discoveries into high impact products. The Fund will serve as a springboard for nanotechnology discoveries to come out of the University's new Institute for Molecular Engineering.
(2) Our regular featured event: Last year one of our most memorable meetings featured entrants in a local business plan contest. This year we will hear from several entrants in this year's contest. These are brand new businesses, in some cases only concepts, and in mini-sessions we will offer the entrepreneurs our usual treatment of an intense discussion filled with our collective insights, ideas, and feedback. Don't miss this meeting.
Please join us for a great discussion and a great chance to meet other Chicago alums and friends who share your interest in entrepreneurship.
Also as always, our gracious host, Mark Fitzgerald at Wilson Sonsini will provide pizza and soft drinks to help sustain our own energy through the evening. I hope to see many of you there.
Don't forget to join our Facebook Group - DC Booth Entrepreneur's Advisory Group.