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Fellows' Experiences Will Provide Insight Into the 'Science of Startups'
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Jan. 8, 2009) — The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation announced today a new fellowship program that will increase the number of experienced founders for startup companies and help the Foundation better understand the dynamics of firm formation, or what the Foundation calls the "science of startups."
The Kauffman Entrepreneur Fellows program will pair prospective entrepreneurs with select venture creation companies to take innovative ideas to market and eventually create profitable companies. In addition, the Foundation will support and manage the Entrepreneur Postdoctoral Fellows program, which will educate selected postdoc researchers about developing companies to commercialize innovations from the lab. Grants to support the fellowships will total $5 million over the next four years.
The Entrepreneur Fellows program is the first program developed from a new, multimillion dollar initiative of the Foundation called Kauffman Laboratories for Enterprise Creation. Through a variety of programs, both existing and in development, Kauffman Labs is focused on increasing the number and success of high-growth startup companies.
"The fellows who are selected may not otherwise have the resources to focus on entrepreneurship, so this program will give them education and guidance from successful founders and experts in commercializing innovations that will enable them to turn their ideas into thriving businesses," said Kauffman Foundation President and CEO Carl Schramm. "This will lead to more jobs—critical for our economy—and medical advancements that will improve human welfare."
As part of the Entrepreneur Fellows program, four entrepreneur candidates will be selected to work with venture creation companies, which help early stage entrepreneurs translate academic innovations into products. The venture creation companies are concentrated in the medical technology field, which is the fastest growing industry in the United States.
The venture creation companies participating in the Entrepreneur Fellows program are:
- ExploraMed, a medical device incubator that provides device solutions that improve clinical outcomes and the quality of life for patients worldwide.
- The Foundry, Inc., a medical device company incubator that works with inventors to transform their concepts into companies.
- PureTech Ventures, a Boston-based venture creation firm specializing in translating breakthrough research from top-tier academic institutions into therapies that will impact human health.
"The venture creation companies will provide the education and network needed to develop the business and groom the fellow to become a founder," said Lesa Mitchell, vice president of Advancing Innovation at the Kauffman Foundation. "But these companies also will help the Foundation in our quest to develop the 'science of startups' —documenting lessons about what gives founders the best chance at success and accelerated growth."
"Since PureTech's specialty is venture creation, we are aware that there are not many places where talented individuals can learn from successful entrepreneurs and gain real-world experience in founding companies without taking on lots of personal risk," said Eric Elenko, a senior principal at PureTech Ventures who is coordinating PureTech's activities with the Kauffman Foundation. "We are excited to have the opportunity to mentor these future entrepreneurs and to be part of this groundbreaking program."
"Successful entrepreneurship really is currently perceived as more of an art than a science," said Hanson Gifford, managing partner at The Foundry. "We are eager to work closely with the Kauffman Foundation and its other partners to identify the techniques and processes that lead to success. This initiative also should create jobs, increase exports, and save lives in the process."
"It's clear that entrepreneurship will be the engine pivotal to restarting the U.S. economy and programs like these have the potential to really make a difference," said Dr. Josh Makower, chairman and CEO of ExploraMed. "We are deeply honored to be a part of Kauffman's Entrepreneur Fellows program and believe these efforts will build the next generation of entrepreneurs who will shape the future of healthcare."
Entrepreneur Postdoctoral Fellows Program
Within the Entrepreneur Fellows program, the postdoctoral fellowship will prepare 12 of the nation's top postdoctoral researchers at U.S. institutions to found innovative technology companies. Selected candidates will be mentored by entrepreneurs with science backgrounds and experts from the legal, business and financial communities.
"Postdoctoral researchers play a major role in the scientific research engine," said Sandy Miller, senior fellow, Kauffman Foundation. "They are at the forefront of new discoveries, and it is vital that postdocs develop entrepreneurial skills so that their research may ultimately leave the lab bench and benefit society."
As part of the program, the Entrepreneur Fellows and Entrepreneur Postdoctoral Fellows will meet regularly at the Kauffman Foundation to network and share information about progress and to work with the Kauffman team to develop processes and an infrastructure to generate an increasing number of startup companies.
To receive notification when additional information, as well as an online application form are available for the Entrepreneur Postdoctoral Fellowship program, please register here
About the Kauffman Foundation
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private nonpartisan foundation that works to harness the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to grow economies and improve human welfare. Through its research and other initiatives, the Kauffman Foundation aims to open young people's eyes to the possibility of entrepreneurship, promote entrepreneurship education, raise awareness of entrepreneurship-friendly policies, and find alternative pathways for the commercialization of new knowledge and technologies. It also works to prepare students to be innovators, entrepreneurs and skilled workers in the 21st century economy through initiatives designed to improve learning in math, engineering, science and technology. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo. and has approximately $2 billion in assets. Visit www.kauffman.org for more information.
Founded in 1995, ExploraMed is a venture-backed medical technology incubation company dedicated to the identification, creation and development of new medical device businesses. ExploraMed provides expertise, intellectual property and capital to new ideas which match certain key fundamental criteria and focuses on developing these opportunities in an efficient and timely manner. Partnered with New Enterprise Associates and several key business and clinical leaders from the medical technology industry, ExploraMed has the capability to leverage substantial financial and intellectual resources to accelerate the creation and establishment of new medical technologies, procedures and companies. Visit www.exploramed.com for more information.
About The Foundry
The Foundry is the premier medical device incubator, transforming early concepts into more than a dozen new companies in the past ten years. Led by a highly experienced team of technical and senior executives who have created medical device businesses generating more than $2.5 billion of value for their founders and investors, The Foundry is a full-capability incubator with resources spanning all functional areas and a fully equipped medical device development facility. For more information, visit www.the-foundry.com.
About PureTech Ventures
PureTech Ventures is a Boston-based venture creation firm specializing in translating breakthrough research from top tier academic institutions into therapies that will impact human health. PureTech's Senior Partners include entrepreneurs and leaders from the top echelon of pharma, biotech and academia including Dr. Ronald Cape (founder, Cetus), Dr. Robert Langer (renowned MIT professor), Dr. Frank Douglas (former chief scientific officer, Aventis), Dr. Bennett Shapiro (former EVP Worldwide Basic and External Research, Merck), Dr. John Zabriskie (former CEO Pharmacia & Upjohn), and Ms. Daphne Zohar (founder and managing Partner PureTech Ventures, Serial Entrepreneur). Visit www.PureTechVentures.com for more information.