3 Startups Awarded $200,000 Each to Build Out Teams, Launch Novel Products
Flow Medical, Lismikro, and OrisDX each have been awarded a $200,000 co-investment from the George Shultz Innovation Fund to further develop their technologies.
Managed by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the George Shultz Innovation Fund (GSIF) provides up to $250,000 in co-investment funding for early-stage tech ventures coming out of the University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, Fermilab, and the Marine Biological Laboratory.
The teams receive guidance and dedicated support from the Polsky Center, business experts, an advisory committee, and student Innovation Fund Associates (IFA) who are training in venture capitalism.
“We aim to become a platform that trains and supports some of the brightest minds that want to enter the tech startup ecosystem, both as entrepreneurs and as investors,” said Ozge Guney-Altay, director of Polsky Science Ventures. “Through our IFA program, we provide UChicago students a real-world VC experience and they provide an independent evaluation for the ventures considered for investment in return.”
“The current cohort has been particularly exciting thanks to the diverse group of technologies that participated, the IFAs that were engaged, the IFA alumni that came back to visit with us, and the advisory committee that provided invaluable feedback,” added Guney-Altay.
Over the last 11 years, the George Shultz Innovation Fund has invested $9.2 million in 90 companies that have gone on to raise $235 million in follow-on funding. Companies launched with the fund’s support include ExplORer Surgical, Corvidia, ClostraBio, and Super.tech.
// Flow Medical
Flow Medical is developing a multi-function catheter to help diagnose and treat venous thromboembolic disease while maximizing functionality, optimizing safety, and minimizing complexity.
Founders Jonathan Paul, associate professor of medicine, and Osmanuddin Ahmed, associate professor of radiology, previously collaborated to create a comprehensive venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism program at the University of Chicago.
“The Flow Medical team is honored to have received an investment from the George Shultz Innovation Fund. The University of Chicago and Polsky Center have been great partners to Flow Medical and we’re excited they’ve chosen to continue to invest in us,” said Kathleen McGing, MBA ’23, a business development fellow who recently accepted a role with the startup as chief business officer.
The startup also participated in the Polsky I-Corps program, which enables UChicago scientists, researchers, and students to test the commercial potential of their research and ideas and was selected for Cohort 4 of the Compass deep tech accelerator.
Moving forward, the team is continuing to work toward improving the safety and efficiency of catheter directed thrombolysis by seeking investments from industry partners and investors who are also passionate about improving care and advancing medicine, added McGing.
Lismikro is a startup creating control and readout electronics to enable million-qubit computing systems based on technology developed out of the Fermi National Accelerator Lab.
“Lismikro has secured a non-disclosure agreement with one major industry quantum computer developer. The Innovation Fund will help Lismikro to develop a minimum viable product (MVP) in partnership with the industry developers to solve the critical power issue,” said Shaorui Li, a principal engineer, leader of Fermilab’s quantum ASIC group, and founder of Lismikro.
“Next steps include in-depth technical discussions with several industry developers and move towards joint development agreements with one or more industry developers. The Innovation Fund is critical for Lismikro to cover the design and fabrication costs of the MVP,” she added.
The startup also participated in Compass as part of the Lab Innovation Fellowship program, which was recently launched with the support of the University of Chicago Joint Task Force Initiative, a signature University of Chicago program dedicated to helping Argonne and Fermilab achieve mission success. Through the program, two fellows are selected to spend two academic quarters taking advantage of programs and resources offered by the Polsky Center.
OrisDX has developed a novel saliva-based molecular diagnostic test to detect pre-cancers and cancers of the oral cavity.
The technology was developed based on a decade of foundational research by leaders in the field of liquid biopsy and cancer genomics who are top physicians and scientists at the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins University, including cofounders Chetan Bettegowda, Evgeny Izumchenko, Nishant Agrawal, and Rifat Hasina.
“We are excited and humbled by the decision of the George Shultz Innovation Fund to invest $200,000 to help bring early oral cancer detection out of the lab and into the clinic. This funding will help us build out our early team of researchers and operators who will be critical in launching our clinical studies,” said Jake Stangl, MBA ’22, chief business officer at OrisDX. “The process of review by the Innovation Fund Associates has been critical to growing our value case, and de-risking key areas of our business.”
Current Booth students Patrick Conniff and Chunbai He also were key in helping build the company, which recently won first place – and a total of $665,000 – in the 26th Annual Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge (NVC). It also participated in the Compass deep tech accelerator and Polsky Center’s I-Corps program.