The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago has launched the Compass, a first-of-its-kind deep tech accelerator program for early-stage startups and technologies created by researchers at the University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.
Participants gain access to world-class resources over the six month program with the goal of being investor-ready at the conclusion of the accelerator. Teams receive ecosystem introductions, mentorship, and educational training, and have the opportunity to access additional talent and funding for their ventures.
“Backed by a 25-year history of launching successful ventures, and leveraging business expertise from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the Polsky Center created the Compass to focus on launching new, innovative companies,” said Christine Karslake, PhD, MBA, managing director, science ventures.
“The Polsky Center selects the most promising startups and technologies out of the University of Chicago, Argonne, and Fermilab and provides a robust set of resources to help those companies get launched and be investor-ready in six months,” added Shyama Majumdar, PhD, MBA, senior manager, science ventures.
The first cohort featured three teams developing an edge analytics platform, blood-work free diagnostic screening, and chemical proteomic platform technologies for the discovery of small molecule therapeutics. The third team, ReAx Biotechnologies, received $150,000 from Polsky’s George Shultz Innovation Fund.
Kicked off earlier this month, the second cohort includes two companies cofounded by serial entrepreneur and Eugene Bell Professor in Tissue Engineering at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, Jeff Hubbell, PhD: Phlaxis and Heiothera, which are developing a vaccine to treat and prevent peanut allergies in children, and a therapeutic platform technology to treat autoimmune disorders, respectively. Other participants are a team developing a toolkit to evaluate and quantify materials corrosion with applications from medical implants to automotive, and another advancing CRISPR-based therapeutic technology that uses skin cells to treat cocaine addiction.
“Deep tech, high-potential projects require a unique set of resources and support, and we are thrilled to be able to provide this through the Compass. The teams participating will gain access to expertise and training which are critical to launching a successful deep tech venture,” said Melissa Byrn, director, innovation programs.
Teams participating in the accelerator are led by business development fellow who collaborate closely with the founding scientific team who have created these innovative technologies and who have set forth a vision for the company. Fellows are sourced from Chicago Booth, PhD programs in the sciences, and the College.