Boston Children's Hospital
Center for Addiction and Mental Health
Cincinnati Children's Hospital
City of Hope National Cancer Center
Houston Methodist Hospital
Louisiana State University-Health
North Carolina State University
Ohio State University
Oregon Health and Science University
Portland State University
Puerto Rico Science, Technology, and Research Trust
Saint Louis University
University Health Network
University of Arizona
University of Connecticut
University of Georgia
University of Manitoba
University of Maryland
University of New Mexico
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
University of North Carolina-Greensboro
University of Pittsburgh
University of Southern California
University of Tennessee
University of Texas Health Science Center
University of Utah
University of Virginia
University of Waterloo
University of Wisconsin-Madison/WARF
Virginia Tech University
Wake Forest University
Washington State University
Washington University of St. Louis Wayne State University
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
The lack of true early-stage capital and innovation developmental support is a major challenge in advancing promising university technology from the lab to commercial and investment partners.
Research institutions are leading through the implementation of university gap funding (proof of concept, startup, venture) and accelerator programs to bridge this "valley of death". Over the past 15 years, these programs have evolved into sophisticated investment, evaluation, development, and commercialization support mechanisms to nuture the most promising opportunities in emerging, high-growth technology areas.
Smart companies and investors are taking notice and making it a strategic, external innovation and investment priority to partner with these university gap fund and accelerator programs through applied research, proof of concept projects, corporate venture investments, and advisory/mentorship in return for insights, competitive positioning, and access to future technology and start-ups.
COvergence is where we meet, learn, and talk about what we can do together to catalyze innovation through university gap fund and accelerator programs.
University POC/startup/venture, industry, and investor leadership converge to connect those interested in developing and accessing emerging IP, proof of concept projects, and startups through gap funds/accelerator programs; share and learn about early stage innovation trends and collaboration practices.
We all know that oversubscribed events lead to many hit-miss, high-level exchanges. Our strategy is to go targeted to allow everyone to meet and forge foundational relationships. We do this by making sure that we are inviting the right people to fill those seats.
Connect. Learn. Share common interests. Online platform and balance of content and relationship-building. Increase random interactions and knowledge exchange.
10-10:30AM ET: Welcome/The Gap Fund/Accelerator Landscape Review
10:30AM-3:30 PM : Need-to-Know Gap Fund/Accelerator Program Showcases:
Participating program managers of proof of concept, startup, and venture gap funds will take a formatted approach to relaying detailed overviews of their processes, structures, impact, and lessons-learned (breaks throughout)
3:30PM-5PM: Common Challenge Breakouts Breakout virtual rooms by program type and interest areas. A great opportunity to bounce around and build connections with others that are interested in the more nuanced challenges with gap fund and accelerator programs
5:00PM: The Happiest of Hours/Large Group Mixer
Interested in something? Grab your beverage of your choice and put it out to the group! Report out breakout discussion, capture the day's discussions, and to share opportunities and resources moving forward.
External Gap Fund/Accelerator Perspective Panels: Experts will provide short presentations specific to their experiences and organization and then convene in a larger panel discussion
10-11:30AM ET: Corporate Innovation + Venture
Corporate Innovation and Venture teams are beginning to look past traditional partnership models (research projects, marketed licenses, etc.) to more alignment with existing programs in the university commercialization process, like gap fund and accelerator programs. The presenters/panelists will share their historical approaches, areas of interest, and opportunities for syncing with university technologies and startups.
11:45AM-1:00PM: Venture Capital + Angel
Venture and angel models have evolved in future years in ways that have opened up avenues for earlier stage investment and collaboration. Learn about emerging valuation tactics, fundraising strategies, and how these sources of investment, experience, and relationships can tie into your gap fund/accelerator process and goals.
1:30-2:45PM: Philanthropy/Alt Investments
Philanthropy is quickly becoming a primary source of gap fund/accelerator program support. Foundations, donors, generational investors, and alternative investment vehicles are all on the rise seeking to connect their passions/interests/causes to promising university technologies and startups.
3-4PM: Wrap-up, Learned Lessons, and Adjourn
“COVERGENCE was a great conference to learn more about the complexities of gap funding at Universities, from grants to venture. Great topics, networking, and even a little bit of fun thrown in.”
“COVERGENCE was a fantastic opportunity to engage with others involved in startup formation and success! Thank you, innovosource!”
“COVERGENCE was worth the intercontinental travel. With a high concentration of experts, entrepreneurs and investors, it really was an eye-opening experience.”
“COVERGENCE was a great opportunity for a small program like ours to compare notes with more established, larger programs to compare best practices.”
“Excellent meeting to tap into current best practices in university gap/seed funds. Well worth the time.”
“Great opportunity and format to go deep on topics and best practices of interest and importance to universities supporting startups!”
“COVERGENCEoffers insight into a niche industry that the corporate and investment worlds are neglecting. There is a huge opportunity for collaboration and partnership to help university-founded startups scale their businesses.”
“Great organization and assistance.”
“Thanks for having us! we are definitely coming again next year.”
(Photo credit: Lauren Stonestreet Photography)