Testimony from House Review of Innovation Corps Program

Earlier today I got the opportunity to provide witness testimony for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Science Education in a hearing called Innovation Corp:  A Review of a New National Science Foundation Program to Leverage Research Investments. The session was chaired by Mo Brooks of Alabama. The ranking member is Daniel Lipinski of Illinois. I was a Mentor in the first cohort of I-Corps in the fall of 2011 at Stanford University.

Also providing testimony were:

Dr. Thomas Peterson, Assistant Director, Directorate for EngineeringNational Science Foundation

Mr. Steve Blank, Lecturer, Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley

Dr. Gabriel PopescuAssistant Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering,University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Andrew Mazar, Director, Program for Developmental Therapeutics and Entrepreneur-in-Residence Innovation and New Ventures Office, Northwestern University

My full testimony follows, and I’ve also posted a full .pdf file in the Box widget on the lower right hand corner of the page for easier downloading.

Testimony from Neil D. Kane, President, Illinois Partners Executive Services,

to the

U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Research and Science Education,
Committee on Science, Space and Technology
Field Hearing:  “Innovation Corps:  A Review of a New National Science Foundation

Program to Leverage Research Investments”

Delivered July 16, 2012

I’d like to thank Chairman Brooks, Ranking Member Lipinski and the other members of the Committee for the privilege and honor to speak to you today. I represent on today’s panel the perspective of an Innovation Corps Mentor. Last fall our team, now known as GlucoSentient, Inc., was part of the first cohort of the Innovation Corps program.

You can think of me as the proverbial serial entrepreneur. With a degree in mechanical engineering and an MBA, I spent the first part of my career in large companies like IBM and Microsoft in a variety of engineering and customer facing roles. About 12 years ago I saw an opportunity to apply my technical and business experience to help researchers, typically from universities and federal laboratories, commercialize the fruits of their work. My involvement is sometimes as a consultant or advisor, and on more than a few occasions I have been the CEO of a startup company formed to commercialize this work. My focus tends to be on innovations derived from the engineering sciences with an emphasis on advanced materials and nanotechnology. On this journey I was the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Research Park at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and earlier I was co-Executive Director of the Illinois Technology Enterprise Center at Argonne National Laboratory. Through these efforts I was involved in the launching of innovative companies such as SolarBridge Technologies, a maker of micro-inverters for photovoltaic systems; Semprius, a leading flexible electronics company; and Advanced Diamond Technologies, a pioneer in the synthesis of diamond from natural gas. Together these companies have raised over $110 million. Currently I am involved in a number of projects, all based on university research, and I hope they become as successful as these companies.

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