Light & Verity

Something ventured

Yale's new approach to tech transfer and innovation.

Dan Renzetti

Dan Renzetti

Josh Geballe ’97, ’02MBA, is overseeing Yale Ventures. View full image

In April, after over a year of planning, the university launched Yale Ventures, a new entrepreneurship and innovation hub for faculty, students, and members of the New Haven community to collaborate on developing and commercializing cutting-edge technologies.

The new office, housed in the Temple Street HQ of what used to be known as the Office of Cooperative Research, bills itself as a one-stop shop for turning startup ideas hatched at Yale and in New Haven from doodles and daydreams into groundbreaking technologies and billion-dollar IPOs.

Michael Crair, a professor at the medical school and the university’s vice provost for research, conceived of the initiative back in the spring of 2020, in part as a way of bringing together a number of innovation outfits already active on campus into a single ecosystem.

The Yale Ventures umbrella now includes several active programs, including both the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale—the university’s main student startup incubator—and the Blavatnik Fund for Innovation, Yale’s grant program for faculty looking to market life sciences tech they’ve designed.

But Yale Ventures has ambitions. It wants to do more than lend connective tissue to Yale’s organs of student and faculty innovation.

“I’d like Yale and New Haven to become a stronger magnet for entrepreneurial faculty, students, and staff,” Crair wrote in an email. “I’d like students and faculty to view Yale and New Haven as a deeply nurturing community for entrepreneurs and innovators, across all disciplines—a place where they can come and develop new ideas to change the world.”

Much of Yale Ventures’s focus will be on the latest frontiers of technological innovation, like artificial intelligence, machine learning, quantum computing, block chain, green energy, carbon capture, and vaccines. But it won’t be limited to those things. Through partners like Dwight Hall, Yale’s center for public service and social justice, and the Policy Institute, a public policy research initiative on campus, students from a wide range of disciplines outside of the sciences can pitch and develop their ideas at Yale Ventures and benefit from the office’s connections to potential seed funders.

In February, before Yale Ventures went public, Josh Geballe ’97, ’02MBA, came to Yale to run the new initiative as senior associate provost for entrepreneurship and innovation, after stints as a vice president at IBM, CEO of a software startup, and chief operating officer of the state of Connecticut under Governor Ned Lamont ’80MBA. Like Crair, he’s optimistic about the program’s role in accelerating important breakthroughs.   

 “Our overarching goal here is to ensure that the university is having the greatest possible impact on the big challenges we’re facing in the world today,” Geballe says, “and oftentimes that will involve commercializing technology that’s developed using Yale research.”  
 

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