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 nurture 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 CT: Welcome/The Gap Fund/Accelerator Landscape Review from new Mind the Gap 2021 Report data
10:30AM-3PM : Need-to-Know Gap Fund/Accelerator Program Discussion Panels:
Leaders of proof of concept, startup, and venture university gap funds/accelerator programs will take the stage to moderate an all-participant open discussion on models, approaches, and common challenges.
Prior to the event participants can provide a formatted model review of their processes, structures, impact, and lessons-learned. These will be shared through the conference website (breaks throughout)
10:30-11:30AM: Proof of Concept/Asset Development Programs
1-2PM: Startup Accelerator Programs
2-3PM: University Venture Funds
3:30PM-5PM: Common Challenge Breakouts Breakout 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
Food, Drinks, and Conversation on a rooftop overlooking the French Quarter. An in-person mixer. Yes, please!
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
10-11AM CT: Corporate Innovation
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.
11-12PM: Venture Capital + Angel
Venture and angel models have evolved in recent 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.
1-3:30PM 5x 30 Min Tactical Reviews
Practitioners share their approaches to addressing common program
3:30-4PM: Wrap-up, Learned Lessons, and Adjourn