Drexel University Launches Innovation Fund to Address World's Most Pressing Challenges

Drexel University announced the launch of the Innovation Fund, which invests in early-stage Drexel student and postgraduate startups, as well as startups founded to commercialize the results of Drexel scientific research.


"This is a bold new initiative to empower our problem solvers to dream big and take on society’s most pressing challenges,” said Drexel President John Fry. “We are doubling down on our entrepreneurial talent and research innovations."


The Fund invests $150,000 per startup and up to four startups per year. Drexel innovators who have completed or are currently participating in Drexel's innovation and entrepreneurship programs such as the Baiada Incubator Competition, Drexel Startups Fund, National Science Foundation I-Corps, ic@3401 and the Drexel Coulter Translational Research Program are encouraged to consider this new program to accelerate their entrepreneurial endeavors and shorten the time to the first round of professional investor capital.


A unique aspect of the Fund is an experiential opportunity for Drexel students to learn the world of venture capital investing through credit-bearing courses followed by experiencing the Fund's investment process with hands-on activities that directly support the Fund.


The Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship has launched courses where students, working with a faculty member and the Fund management team, will perform due diligence, develop recommendations and present their findings to an investment committee consisting of industry professionals.


"These new courses are a perfect complement to the new University program and uniquely provide Drexel students with a central role in the investment process," said Donna De Carolis, PhD, dean of the Close School. "We prepare students to be amazing entrepreneurs with valuable insights into and direct experience in early-stage investing."


Aleister Saunders, PhD, executive vice provost for Research and Innovation, said “this new program will be a tremendous boost for startups developing innovative products and services based on Drexel research. The Fund will lead to increased commercialization and that is perfectly aligned with a Drexel strategic imperative to expand the impact of research and innovation."


The Fund is evergreen and all returns will be re-invested through the Fund in future startups. Drexel has made significant investments to launch the program and is actively seeking supporters of the Fund with a goal to raise $5 million in philanthropic gifts.


“This program which brings together the Drexel community of students, alumni, faculty, professional staff and the friends of the University, was developed by leaders from the Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship, Office of Research & Innovation, Office of the Provost, Drexel Solutions Institute, the Office of the Executive Vice President and an advisory group consisting of University trustees and distinguished alumni in the venture capital industry,” said Fry. “I want to thank Shintaro Kaido, our vice provost for Innovation and executive director of Drexel Applied Innovation, for leading this project from concept to launch."