George Shultz Innovation Fund Invests $500,000 in Two Promising Startups at Fall Finals

The DrLullaby team presentation at the George Shultz Innovation Fund Competition on Thursday, December 5, 2019. (Photo by Matt Marton)

Following the 2019 George Shultz Innovation Fund fall cycle finals, which were held on December 5, the Polsky Center has announced its plans to invest $250,000 in DrLullaby and Laiya. This round of investments brings the Shultz Innovation Fund’s total investments to over $7 million in 63 projects.

Four finalists presented their proposals to the advisory committee, which included leading investors and entrepreneurs from a variety of technological and scientific fields, at the fall finals. Over 180 students, faculty, alumni, and members of Chicago’s entrepreneurial and investing community listened to teams present their ideas, which ranged from a patient care platform to acoustic technology used to detect air leaks in buildings.

“Our finalists this year represented the nexus of traditional academic disciplines with next generation computation techniques,” said Steve Lehmann, assistant director of the George Shultz Innovation Fund. “Whether its social impact reporting, online content management, sleep monitoring, drug development, our finalists demonstrate how these areas are being changed dramatically by recent advances in statistics and machine learning.”

DrLullaby, a digital platform that allows parents to access evidence-based strategies that optimize sleep for kids and families, will be awarded $250,000 to continue to improve access to care for the 30% of children struggling with the detrimental effects of sleep loss.

Laiya, a provider of new tools for the next generation of drug development, is one of two companies being invested in by the Polsky Center’s George Shultz Innovation Fund program. (Photo by Matt Marton)

Also, being awarded $250,000 is Laiya, a provider of new tools for the next generation of drug development. The team specializes in Bayesian adaptive designs and implementation for drug and device clinical trials. The investment from the Shultz Innovation Fund will help Laiya develop the best-in-class adaptive designs, strategies, and an integrated SaaS platform that will lower the risk of trial failure, accelerate process time, and maximize portfolio returns.

The Shultz Innovation Fund, which is managed by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, invests in promising technologies and startups created by current faculty, students, and staff of the University as well as Argonne National LaboratoryFermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and the Marine Biological Laboratory. The Shultz Innovation Fund fills a critical gap in venture funding, providing early capital often otherwise unavailable to bring groundbreaking ideas to market. Applicants to the Shultz Innovation Fund receive expert feedback from a committee of industry leaders, both internal and external to the University of Chicago—distinguished angel and venture capital investors, scientists, and entrepreneurs—to help them move their projects forward and create lasting impact.

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