Midwest Deep Technology Teams Featured at Venture Conference

An upcoming virtual conference hosted by the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will showcase over a dozen companies that got their start at local I-Corps programs in the Midwest. Many have also benefited from participating in the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps Teams program where participants complete 100 customer discovery interviews in a 7-week period. 

Taking place April 20-22, 2021, the three-day DeepTechU conference will feature multiple panels and keynotes, and showcase new ventures in the following industry tracks: energy, hardware/software, industrial, and life sciences. It offers a chance for deep tech VC investors and industry scouts to see what’s emerging from the Midwest’s innovation pipeline.

Six companies that started at the University of Minnesota will be showcased at the event, but before they got to this point, they went through the local I-Corps program, MIN-Corps. “We are excited to help research-based innovators apply the I-Corps process and leverage our entrepreneurial ecosystem to build investible ventures,” said Carla Pavone, MIN-Corps Program Director. 

In addition, there are 4 teams who will be showcased that got their start at Purdue University and 2 teams from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Adipo Therapeutics went through the Purdue University I-Corps program as well as the NSF I-Corps Teams program. They have previously talked about their company and how I-Corps helped them accelerate their progress on the Angel Invest Boston podcast. The University of Chicago, which is hosting the event, also has 4 teams who went through their local I-Corps program pitching at the event. 

Keynote speakers include Alec Gallimore, Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan as well as Andrea Belz, Division Director of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at the National Science Foundation. Registration for the conference is available by visiting https://www.deeptechu.com/

About the Midwest I-Corps Node
As part of the NSF National Innovation Network, the Midwest I-Corps Node is a joint initiative of the University of Michigan, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Purdue University, and the University of Toledo with a shared commitment to transforming traditional university research. The Midwest Node encourages faculty, students, and staff to interface directly with potential stakeholders and users of their technology. From one-on-one mentoring in ideation to full de-risking and funding support, we have a nationally recognized staff of instructors, trainers, and mentors that make the transition from lab to market a smooth, efficient, and valuable process for participants. Learn more at greatlakesicorps.org.

About the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation applies world-class expertise from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business to bring new ideas and breakthrough innovation to market. Through education, partnerships, and venture support, the Polsky Center advances the knowledge and practice of entrepreneurship and accelerates the commercialization of research. Among its offerings is Polsky’s nationally-ranked accelerator program, the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge, which is where companies like Grubhub and Braintree/Venmo got their start. Since 1996, the New Venture Challenge has helped launch more than 330 companies worldwide that have gone on to achieve more than $7.5 billion in mergers and exits and raised over $1 billion in funding. The Polsky Center helps students, faculty, staff, alumni, researchers and local entrepreneurs navigate the complex process of creating and growing a startup. Its resources include a 34,000 square-foot, multi-disciplinary co-working space called the Polsky Exchange; an Innovation Fund that invests in early-stage ventures; and a state-of-the-art Fabrication Lab for prototyping new products. By leveraging the University’s distinctive strengths in research, the Polsky Center paves the way for more ideas to have a meaningful impact on society. Learn more at polsky.uchicago.edu.