New program changes how Yale turns ideas into business ventures

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NEW HAVEN — Yale University is launching a new initiative to reshape the way the Ivy League school helps faculty and students turn their research into business ventures.

Josh Geballe, who until mid-February had worked in Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration as the state’s chief operating officer, will manage the new venture, Yale Ventures.

Geballe, who earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in business administration from Yale, quit his job in state government to become senior associate provost for entrepreneurship and innovation at his alma mater.

“It’s Yale’s way of bringing together a group of previously disconnected initiatives,” Geballe said. “It’s really about the university wanting to increase its impact on the challenges facing the world. The university is investing in additional staff and programs to help the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the greater New Haven area.

Details of how many new jobs the school’s new initiative will create, as well as the increased level of investment that will result from the launch of Yale Ventures, have not been released. Much of this information will be announced in May during the 2022 campaign Yale Innovation Summitaccording to Geballe.

Several new positions within the Yale Ventures organization are already posted, he said.

“New Haven is thriving with exciting startups, imagined and led by talented people at the cutting edge of medicine, science and engineering, who are eager to see their work lead to new products and services that have a large-scale impact,” Geballe said. . “Yale Ventures intends to play a key role in making New Haven a globally recognized center of innovation, and now is the perfect time to embark on this exciting transformation.”

Prior to Yale Ventures, the school’s Office of Cooperative Research oversaw the commercialization of research done by faculty and students, he said. That office will now be part of Yale Ventures, according to Geballe.

Yale Ventures will be organized into four main units:

Intellectual Property and Licensing Services

Innovation training and startups

Corporate partnerships

Innovation Community

Each of these units will be supported by new university investments, according to Geballe.

The Intellectual Property and Licensing Services unit will work with faculty, staff, and students to facilitate technology transfer efforts from disclosure to patenting and licensing of new Yale inventions. The unit will be led by the existing business development and operations teams that were previously part of the Office of Cooperative Research.

The Innovation Training and Startups Unit will support faculty and students through established programs such as the Blavatnik Fund for Innovationthat bridges the gap between innovative early-stage life science research and the successful development of high-impact biomedical products and the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking. Yale officials announced the launch of the Tsai Center in February 2021, which will conduct research focused on the science of human cognition and create an additional 100 jobs over time.

The Corporate Partnerships group will focus on strengthening corporate relationships in support of Yale research as well as improving access to resources from private partners.

The Innovation Community team will build the overall entrepreneurial ecosystem across the university and Greater New Haven.

“As the entrepreneurial ecosystem grows, one of the things we’re going to do is provide more connections between these different groups both in the city of New Haven and in the Greater New Haven area,” said Geballe. “We want people to feel they can put down roots in this area and we’re looking to create on-ramps to get there. And as these companies grow, they create opportunities that aren’t just for people with advanced degrees or specialized skills. »

Mike Harris, Director of New Haven Innovation Collaborativesaid the Yale Ventures initiative “goes beyond” the bioscience research and commercialization efforts the university has traditionally focused on.

“They’re not going to slow down their efforts in biotech,” Harris said of Yale. “But now they are getting into data science and green energy. These are new areas in which Yale has major strengths.

By metrics, New Haven is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation in terms of venture capital investment, he said.

“With this Yale Ventures platform, we’ll probably see more venture capital coming in,” Harris said.

Yale University Provost Scott Strobel said, “Creativity and collaboration are hallmarks of our research enterprise at Yale.

“Yale Ventures represents an opportunity for us to fully exploit their potential,” Strobel said.

Even before the launch of Yale Ventures, the university had a history of success in innovation and entrepreneurship.

Last year alone, 11 startups spun off from Yale raised $53.3 million in new venture funding, according to university officials. Over the past five years, a record five initial public offerings have taken place for Yale spinoffs Arvinas, BioHaven, Inozyme, NextCure and IsoPlexis.

University alumni who started developing their business ideas as students have also done well.

One such example was the $190 million that was raised at a $2 billion valuation last September by Spring Health, an online platform focused on mental health service delivery. It made 29-year-old co-founder April Koh the youngest woman to ever lead a startup valued at over $1 billion.

luther.turmelle@hearstmediact.com

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