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FoundHer Series

The FoundHer Series is focused on amplifying and supporting women academic innovators and entrepreneurs, particularly those who are in the early stages of their commercialization journeys. The goal of this series includes spotlighting women innovators, bridging connections to other women founders and venture capitalists, providing education on commercialization basics and demystifying the process of fundraising and venture capital.

Upcoming Events

  • Stay tuned for our 2023-2024 FoundHer Series.

Past Events

  • SEMINAR | Lessons from Founding StreetLight Data: The Business is Always Harder then the Technology | April 26, 2023 at 3:00pm CST | Learn about Dr. Laura Schewel's experience spinning out StreetLight Data from her doctoral research at UC Berkeley in 2011. Dr. Schewel will share her story building her company into the market leader in transportation analytics over the course of 12 years and ultimately selling the company in 2022 to Jacobs Engineering Group (NYSE: J). Dr. Schewel will share lessons learned as a technical founder raising four rounds of capital, establishing a repeatable sales model, and building a team of 150.  Speaker: Laura Schewel, PhD (CEO, StreetLight Data). 
  • PANEL | Tales from the Entrepreneurial Trenches: Insights & Advice from Women Faculty Founders | March 10, 2023 at 12:00pm CST | During this moderated panel discussion, three faculty founders from different institutions will share their experiences spinning out companies from their university research. The panelists will share lessons learned during their entrepreneurial journeys and advice to first-time founders.  Panelists: Shana Kelley, PhD (Professor, Northwestern) and Yvonne Chen, PhD (Associate Professor, UCLA). Moderated by: Marta New, PhD, MBA (CEO, Radyus Research). 

  • SEMINAR | Pam Silver: A Serial Entrepreneur's Path from Lab to Launch | March 6, 2023 at 3:00pm CST | Learn about Prof. Pamela Silver's transition from basic academic research to founding several companies in different spaces while maintaining a research lab. Prof. Silver will share her story co-founding her first company, Karyopharm Therapeutics, which is based on cancer therapeutics and is now publicly-traded with several FDA-approved drugs. Prof. Silver will also discuss more recent commercial endeavors in the health, commodity and agriculture spaces, including her experiences founding Kula Bio and 64x Bio. Prof. Silver will highlight key learnings from her entrepreneurial journey and share her advice to aspiring academic founders.  Speaker: Pamela Silver, PhD (Professor, Wyss Institute, Harvard Medical School).

  • PANEL | Demystifying Venture Capital: Tips and Best Practices for Getting Funded for Academic Entrepreneurs | February 8, 2023 at 12:00pm CST | During this moderated panel discussion, four investors from different venture firms will describe their respective investment theses, provide an insider's perspective on how venture capital works, and share advice to first-time founders for successful fundraisingPanelists: Mitra Miri, PhD (Osage University Partners), Dana Watt, PhD (Breakout Ventures), Rima Chakrabarti, MD (KdT Ventures), and Jennifer Uhrig, MBA (Fine Structure Ventures). The panel will be moderated by Alexandra de Paz, PhD (INVO, Northwestern).

  • SEMINAR | Closing the Innovation Gender Gap: Best Practices in Inventorship & Entrepreneurship | December 12, 2022 at 1:00pm CST | During this session, you will learn about the Innovation and New Ventures Office (INVO), what we do, why we need more women academic inventors and entrepreneurs, and what we’re doing about it. Next, you will learn how one of Northwestern's women faculty founders, Dr. Ruchi Gupta, has leveraged INVO resources to start her company, Yobee Care. Finally, you will have the opportunity to engage in an informal fireside chat with INVO professional staff to demystify technology transfer.  Speakers: Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH (Professor, Northwestern), Alexandra de Paz, PhD (INVO)Michael Fiske, PhD (INVO), and Anne-Isabelle Henry, PhD (INVO) 

  • SEMINAR | The Story of Foghorn Therapeutics: Translation and Commercialization of Chromatin Research and Lessons Learned | December 6, 2022 at 10:00am CST | During this session, you will learn about Prof. Cigall Kadoch's experience founding Foghorn Therapeutics (NASDAQ: FHTX) based on her pioneering research on the chromatin regulatory system. Prof. Kadoch will share lessons learned along her entrepreneurial journey from company launch to IPO and provide practical advice to academic innovators interested in spinning out a company based on their academic research.  Speaker: Cigall Kadoch, PhD (Professor, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School).