In this rapidly changing environment, our first concern is the health and safety of all participants. We believe that a Virtual First approach addresses that concern and also continues the momentum of COVERGENCE in a way that extends access and maximizes conversation and collaboration around university tech/startup gap funding and accelerator programs
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.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the conference landscape and COVERGENCE is evolving to meet that demand and opportunity.
Our vision is to deliver the valuable content and experience from COVERGENCE to all participants in a format and environment that best fits individual needs.
The Virtual First approach to provide both a virtual and physical option. We plan to still hold a physical event in New Orleans for extended networking and will leverage a virtual platform to deliver all content. Speakers and attendees can take part in whatever environment is best for them.
University POC/startup, industry, investor leadership converge to connect with emerging IP, proof of concept projects and startups; share and learn about early stage innovation trends and collaboration practices.
150 people or less. We all know that large events lead to many hit-miss, high-level exchanges. Our strategy is to go small to allow everyone to meet and forge foundational relationships. We do this by setting a limit and making sure that we are inviting the right people to fill those seats.
Connect. Learn. Share common interests. Creative venues and balance of content and relationship-building. Increase random interactions and knowledge exchange.
8-11AM: Need-to-Know Gap Fund/Accelerator Program Showcases Participating program managers will take an organized and rapid approach to relaying detailed overviews of their processes, structures, and lessons-learned
11AM-12PM: Let's Collaborate: Investor and Corporate Gap Fund/Accelerator Interest Areas More than ever, corporations and investors are using gap fund/accelerator programs to engage university tech and startups. Find out how they are structured to work with these programs, and what they are interested in now!
12-1PM: Lunch and Learn
1-3PM: Rotating Focus Groups by Program Type/Interests Breakouts by program type and interest areas. A great opportunity to bounce around and build connections with others that are interested in the more nuianced challenges with gap fund and accelerator programs
3-5PM: Guided Large Group Challenge Discussion Large group interaction to address broader challenges, capture the day's discussions, and to share opportunities and resources moving forward
6-8PM: The Happiest of Hours: University, Industry, Investor Mixer (New Orleans)
4 Hours of Open Networking Time Throughout the Day
9AM -12PM: Perspective Panels Experts and panels will do walkthroughs/how-tos on approaching some of the most fundamental and challenging components of gap fund and accelerator programs
12-5PM: Group Relationship-building Outing (New Orleans) More details to come, but we will be in New Orleans. We will land on something both educational and fun!
“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)