(328a) Investing in University Startups: How to Pick the Winners | AIChE

(328a) Investing in University Startups: How to Pick the Winners


Mackanic, D. - Presenter, Stanford University
When most people think of university students starting companies, they imagine web-apps and social networks. On the contrary, the university is a fertile breeding ground for companies across all industries. In the chemical space, exciting university startups are making breakthroughs in fields such as clean tech, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and beyond!

In this talk, I use my experience as a Partner at Dorm Room Fund to provide a case-study based investigation of the do’s and don’ts for university-based startups in the chemical space. Dorm Room Fund invests exclusively in student founders, and in the past 3 years we have invested in 8 companies in the chemical space. I will provide an overview of what made these companies successful, and some cautionary tales about what not to do. I will also provide further insight from a survey of 10 later-stage chemical companies that originated within a university. The talk will encompass topics such as intellectual property, team formation, financing/fundraising, and common pitfalls.

In short, this talk will serve as a window for aspiring young chemists to see how successful startups have commercialized chemical technologies. Additionally, investors will find this presentation useful as a robust database to sharpen their ability to recognize the patterns of success in chemical startups.