By Brita Belli
Bill Schnoor (BA ’80, Law ’83), the newest member of the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute’s Advisory Council has been supporting YEI since it began. In fact, years before YEI was formed by the Yale Office of Cooperative Research, Schnoor was waiting for tech entrepreneurship to gain momentum at the university. In his legal work with startups he’d long noticed the power of harnessing university-based research and talent to practical commercial opportunity at schools like Stanford and MIT, and wanted to encourage a similar approach at Yale.
“Those schools were encouraging practical application of knowledge,” Schnoor says.
He currently serves as co-chair of the Technology Companies Group and the Clean Technologies Practice at Goodwin Procter in Boston. Schnoor recognized that supporting student entrepreneurs was important beyond the immediate image boost and financial gain: It would give those enterprising students an enduring connection back to Yale.
Seeing YEI take off and grow into a recognized force for launching successful startups has been gratifying, Schnoor says, who adds: “I’m seeing the ecosystem build momentum and the trajectory is great.”
He mentions YEI’s Tech Bootcamp—a 10-week programming camp for Yale students run in partnership with the Yale ITS Student Technology Collaborative—and increased academic-year programming, including the ongoing Venture Creation Program for nascent startup ideas—as particular bright spots. In his role on the Board, Schnoor will encourage YEI to continue to develop and push out more ingenious Yale companies, regardless of where they choose to take root. Success, he says, is in the numbers.
“If Yale embraces the MIT-Stanford view, ‘We want all students and faculty to feel empowered to launch companies,’” over time more will stay in New Haven in absolute terms, even if many or most ventures choose to relocate elsewhere,” Schnoor says. “You have to approach it with an attitude of abundance – let 1,000 flowers – or startups - bloom.”Read More