Mentoring program to bridge gap between ideas and innovation

Chicago Innovators Mentors Matching

One of the biggest challenges to early stage innovation is that it most needs experienced advice when it is least able to attract it, says Alan Thomas, director of UChicagoTech, the University of Chicago’s  Office of Technology and Intellectual Property. “A structural problem in Chicago is that at this embryonic point there have been very few resources to turn to,” he says.

The solution: Chicago Innovation Mentors (CIM), a new multi-institution initiative that cultivates university technology commercialization by matching experienced entrepreneurs, executives, and domain experts with innovating faculty.

What Chicago Knows about Innovation

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The director of the 10-year-old Chicago Innovation Awards shares key steps other cities can take to fuel economic growth
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Federal policymakers have put innovation squarely at the center of strategies for economic recovery. Knowing that innovation is vital and making it happen are two very different things. One approach we have found highly effective in Chicago is to make innovation a local matter.

Over the course of the past 10 years, we in Chicago have learned that a successful strategy to stimulate local innovation is also one of the most straightforward: celebrate our homegrown entrepreneurs. We do that with the annual Chicago Innovation Awards. “People who come to a celebration of innovation self-select, and conversations take place that lead to more creative action,” says Philip Kotler, marketing professor at Chicago’s Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Eight Chicago startups you need to know about

Sunday July 17, 2011,

Over the past two years, Chicago has emerged as one of the hottest cities for technology startups in the United States. While Groupon continues to attract the most national press coverage, there are a host of new, young, and promising companies in the area that are wasting no time in growing and pushing technology forward.

It’s been months since we last brought you profiles of a crop of Chicago startups, and so today we are going to detail several for your reading pleasure. Think it all happens in the Valley? Think again.

The Era of the One Man Pharma Band (With Updates)

The Era of the One Man Pharma Band (With Updates)

Posted on May 31, 2011 by Carlos

There is a fascinating discussion taking place over at Derek Lowe’s blog today on one-man drug companies:

…some of them are not quite down to one person, but you can count the employees on your fingers. In all of these cases, everything is being contracted out.

Aside from the samples given in the post, and another here, we are seeing similar models being executed. While a one-man shop is rare, we definitely see a new breed of asset-centric/employee-light companies emerging. What do these companies look like?

Chicago-Based Startup Incubator Adds 10 New Companies to Its Roster

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Excelerate Labs, a startup incubator and accelerator in Chicago, has announced its newest batch of startups for the summer class.

This will be the incubator’s second class.  Its first one, in 2010, has raised $7.2 million in venture funding and hired 65 employees since its demo day.  Excelerate Labs is led by Sam Yagan, co-founder of OKCupid, and Troy Henikoff, co-founder of SurePayroll.

“In 2010 Excelerate itself was a startup,” Excelerate Labs CEO’s Henikoff told Mashable. “We had to figure a lot of it out as we were going.  Now with a successful year under our belt, we can build on what we learned from last year and do an even better job this year.”

Along with a $25,000 seed investment, all 10 startups in this year’s class also get office space, legal assistance and mentorship from Chicago entrepreneurs.