Yale Ventures: New initiative will promote innovation and entrepreneurship
Yale today announced an ambitious new initiative to support and expand innovation and entrepreneurship across the university and throughout the greater New Haven region.
Yale Ventures will support the translation of university research into impactful products, services, and social ventures and accelerate the expansion of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Josh Geballe, who was recently named senior associate provost for entrepreneurship & innovation at Yale, will be managing director of the new organization.
“The launch of Yale Ventures is an important step in expanding the impact Yale will have on addressing many of the world’s biggest challenges,” Geballe said. “New Haven is booming with exciting startups, imagined and led by talented people on the cutting edge of medicine, science, and engineering, who are eager to see their work result in new products and services that make a large-scale impact. Yale Ventures intends to play a key role in making New Haven a globally recognized hub of innovation, and this is the ideal time to undergo this exciting transformation.”
Yale Provost Scott Strobel said: “Creativity and collaboration are hallmarks of our research enterprise at Yale. Yale Ventures marks an opportunity for us to fully harness their potential. Under Josh Geballe’s leadership, alongside our partners in New Haven, and with new strategic investments, we are poised to drive significant impact in the coming years.”
Yale Ventures will be organized into four primary units: Intellectual Property and Licensing Services, Innovation Training and Startups, Corporate Partnerships, and Innovation Community. Each of these units will be supported with new university investments.
- The Intellectual Property and Licensing Services unit will partner with faculty, staff, and students to facilitate technology transfer efforts, from disclosure to patenting to licensing of new Yale inventions. This team will be led by the existing business development and operations teams previously housed at the Office of Cooperative Research (OCR). The group will be expanded, which will provide the personnel and tools needed for increased, proactive outreach across the university. Its approach will be tailored to offer responsive, consultative support to both Yale and commercial partners. As part of the transition, the OCR organizational name will be retired.
- The Innovation Training and Startups unit will support both faculty and students through established programs such as the Blavatnik Fund for Innovation, the Center for Biomedical Innovation and Technology (CBIT) and the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking (Tsai CITY). The unit’s intent will be to help turn ideas and inventions into new startups and other initiatives that aim to have a positive impact on the global community. New programs will be added to increase support for faculty and student ventures and to increase opportunities for improved collaboration across the university.
- Corporate Partnerships will focus on strengthening relationships with corporations in support of Yale research as well as increasing access to resources from private partners. This work will continue to expand under joint direction from the Yale Office of Development and the office of the vice provost for research.
- The Innovation Community team will work to build the overall entrepreneurial ecosystem across the university and Greater New Haven. The team will help bring the community together through events, an expanded mentor network, diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) initiatives, investor services, community partnerships, recognition programs, career connections to startups, and expanded communications.
Yale has already achieved marked success in the innovation and entrepreneurship space. In 2021, 11 startups spun out of Yale with $53.3 million raised in new venture financing. A record-breaking five IPOs occurred in the past five years for Yale spinouts Arvinas, BioHaven, Inozyme, NextCure, and IsoPlexis.
Yale alumni who began developing their venture ideas as students have also gone on to achieve significant milestones. In recent months, $190 million was raised by Spring Health at a $2-billion valuation, making co-founder April Koh the youngest woman to run a unicorn, which is defined as a startup valued over $1 billion. Other noteworthy fundraising achievements include $70 million raised by Snackpass; $50 million raised by NCX; $30M raised by Medallion; $25 million raised by Wellinks; and $23 million raised by RippleMatch.
“We have a robust network of Yale researchers, alumni, and partners working in the innovation space,” said Vice Provost for Research Michael Crair. “And we have a well-established history of translating research into real-world solutions. What’s so exciting about Josh Geballe’s arrival and the Yale Ventures initiative is the chance to leverage these in new ways and to an even greater degree.”
Yale Ventures will support and accelerate New Haven’s already significant momentum as an innovation hub. In 2021, Yale announced it will be an anchor tenant at 101 College Street in New Haven, a key project in the city’s effort to expand as a national center for the life sciences industry. The university is supporting BioLabs, a biotech incubator that will be located there to serve burgeoning area startups. Yale spinout Arvinas will also serve as a major tenant and AstraZeneca has indicated plans to expand in the city following its 2021 acquisition of Alexion.
“At Yale, we are nurturing connections across campus to drive innovation that benefits individuals and communities,” said Yale President Peter Salovey. “Our investment in Yale Ventures will ensure that our faculty and student entrepreneurs have the support they need to tackle the most critical challenges facing humankind. We are wholly committed to the integrative approach and ambitious vision of Yale Ventures, and I’m excited to see it realized.”
Added Josh Geballe: “Yale is home to brilliant, creative, and altruistic people who dream about changing the world. Yale Ventures will provide the structure, additional support, and resources needed to enable them to realize those dreams. With support and guidance from Yale Ventures, innovators will create new startups across more university departments, attract external investment into those startups and develop partnerships in the Yale and New Haven communities to create jobs, retain talented Yale graduates, and grow the innovation ecosystem.”
Several new positions in the Yale Ventures organization are already posted online with more to be announced in the coming weeks. Geballe will share additional details about the implementation and future of Yale Ventures during the 2022 Yale Innovation Summit, which will be held May 17–18.