Polsky Launches DeepTechU to Connect Investors with Faculty Startups in Deep Tech

The University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is launching DeepTechU, a venture conference convening investors and faculty innovators to showcase deep tech innovation.

“Our faculty at the University of Chicago are driving breakthrough innovations that will transform the way we live and work,” said Jay Schrankler, associate vice president and head of the Polsky Center. “The Polsky Center launched DeepTechU to help shine a brighter light on all the emerging deep technologies, not only coming out of the University of Chicago, but also from partner research universities and national labs located throughout the greater Midwest.”

Taking place April 20-22, 2021, the virtual conference will feature quick pitches and discussions with industry experts and entrepreneurs.

>> To register for DeepTechU, click here.

“The Midwest is uniquely positioned to lead in deep tech, meaning the types of early-stage technologies that require fundamental breakthroughs to advance science and move innovations into use in the world,” said Juan de Pablo, UChicago Vice President for National Laboratories, Science Strategy, Innovation, and Global Initiatives. “The Midwest is home to some of the world’s premier efforts in materials science and engineering, sustainability, energy storage, or quantum information sciences, to name a few areas that are central to deep tech development.”

“In addition, the University of Chicago manages two of our nation’s preeminent US Department of Energy Laboratories, Argonne and Fermilab, which further elevate the scale of the region’s scientific footprint. If you also consider the expertise from the top-ranked Booth School of Business, and our expanding global reach, you quickly realize that the key ingredients for a vibrant innovation ecosystem are all in place,” added de Pablo. “We look forward to working together with some of the nation’s most innovative universities to advance deep tech development for all.”

Six University of Chicago spinouts, Esya Labs, ClostraBio, ReAx Biotechnologies, Arrow Immune, Nanopattern Technologies, and Iris Light Technologies, which have been supported by the Polsky Center, will give quick pitches at DeepTechU. Another 42 other deep tech companies will be represented at the event across several verticals, including industrial, energy, hardware and software, and life sciences.

“We are excited to bring together investors and innovative researchers to share their stories,” added Christine Karslake, PhD, MBA ’95, who recently joined the Poskly Center to lead the formation and launch of new science and technology companies at the University as the managing director of Polsky Science Ventures. “We plan to connect seed and early-stage investors with researchers and technologies that are a strong fit for their portfolio, and have already heard from several VCs in our network who are looking forward to the inaugural event.”

The goal of the conference is two-fold: provide investors with early looks into cutting-edge deep tech innovation out of universities, national labs, and other organizations in the greater-Midwest, and educate faculty inventors and other researchers about what investors are looking for and how to successfully raise capital.

“We believe deep tech will play an essential role in addressing many of the challenges facing society today, by responding quickly to develop new therapies, agricultural solutions, and transformational uses for synthetic biology,” said DeepTechU keynote speaker Chris Meldrum, an entrepreneur-in-residence at DCVC Bio, a venture capital firm investing in deep tech. “I’m excited to participate in DeepTechU to not only draw attention to the breakthroughs happening in deep tech, but also to highlight the innovative work coming out of the Midwest.”

Other speakers include serial entrepreneur Jeff Hubbell, Eugene Bell Professor in Tissue Engineering and Deputy Dean for Development at UChicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering. Hubbell, along with his associates, holds more than 75 patents and has founded several companies based on his research. Maryellen Giger, A.N. Pritzker Distinguished Service Professor of Radiology, and cofounder of Quantitative Insights, which started through Polsky’s 2009-2010 Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge (NVC), also will be speaking on a panel discussion.

“Deep tech ventures face unique and significant technical and commercial uncertainties. The breadth and depth of public and private organizations they need to work with to get the resources and funds they need to scale are also unique. DeepTechU exclusively focuses on helping to solve these challenges,” added Chuck Valluprupalli, DeepTechU lead organizer and entrepreneur-in-residence at the Polsky Center. “All of the ventures being showcased at DeepTechU have a compelling story. It’s gratifying to see the progress they have made to-date and the future promise they hold.”

The conference is presented in collaboration with Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University, Chain Reaction Innovations at Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator LaboratoryIndiana UniversityInnovation Crossroads at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, The Keenan Center for Entrepreneurship at The Ohio State UniversityPenn State UniversityPurdue UniversityNuTech Ventures at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, Northwestern UniversityRutgers UniversityUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUniversity of IowaUniversity of MarylandUniversity of MinnesotaUniversity of Nebraska, and Washington University in St. Louis.

Additional partners include Discovery Partners InstituteIllinois Science & Technology Coalition, P33Startup Chicago, and World Business Chicago.

// For more information and to register for the conference, visit deeptechu.com.

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