About the George Shultz Innovation Fund
The George Shultz Innovation Fund (GSIF) invests in promising startups from an ecosystem that includes the University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, Fermilab, and the Marine Biological Laboratory. The core mission of the George Shultz Innovation Fund is to help researchers turn their innovations into ventures that advance cutting-edge technologies, generate significant financial returns, and create lasting impact for humankind.
This mission is accomplished in two ways.
- Investing in startups created by faculty, students, and staff in order to help them bridge the gap between basic research funding and commercial investment.
- Surrounding these startups with a community of support – including distinguished angel and venture capital investors, scientists, and entrepreneurs – to help move their projects forward.
Our investment process resembles that of a traditional venture capital fund, and is run once a year in the Spring quarter. After evaluating applications, we select finalists to advance to due diligence, a rigorous 10-week process spearheaded by our Innovation Fund Associates. We then make an investment decision for each venture based on the outcome of due diligence and the input of our Advisory Committee, and ultimately select ventures for investment.
What finalists receive //
- 10-weeks of rigorous, venture-capital-style due diligence. A multi-disciplinary team of Innovation Fund Associates spends 500+ hours analyzing your business from an investor’s perspective, helping prepare you to raise additional capital.
- Up to $250,000 of seed funding (if selected). Investments must be matched by another institutional investor to receive GSIF funds.
What to expect //
Successful applicants to GSIF share three characteristics:
- Committed team with dedicated technology and business founders
- Significant technical milestones achieved, including proof of concept
- Value proposition of technology validated with end customers
Our diligence process is conducted by Innovation Fund Associates, multi-disciplinary teams of students, over the 10-week cycle. Startup teams will commit 1-2 hours/week to the diligence process, consisting of meetings with the Innovation Fund Associates, providing materials for due diligence, and/or meeting with the GSIF program team. Each investment cycle culminates in a GSIF Finals event during which finalists will present to the Advisory Committee.
George Shultz Innovation Fund investees receive more than money. They will also receive:
- A SAFE investment up to $250,000
- Year-round support from the Innovation Fund team, including introductions to other investors to support with the co-investment requirement
- Access to Polsky Center resources and network