Blog: yale


alacrity tp ma james lin

The startup Alacrity Semiconductors, Inc. recently received a $100,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant with support from Connecticut Innovations’ SBIR Acceleration and Commercialization Program. The team behind Alacrity—including Yale School of Management students James Lin (’15) and Matthew Kern (’15) along with T.P. Ma, Raymond James Wean Professor of Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics at Yale and postdoctoral student Xiao Sun—are developing an adaptive storage semiconductor that has the potential to integrate with all existing computing devices. Lin and Ma were introduced through the Technology Commercialization Program jointly run by the Office of Cooperative Research and the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute (YEI). They first developed the venture during the 2014 YEI Fellowship, which provides funding, mentorship and expert guidance to Yale ventures. This is their second SBIR grant.

“We are excited to partner with Connecticut Innovations to promote the development of technology in Connecticut,” says Lin, “and we are grateful to YEI for making those introductions.” YEI hosts regular office hours with Merrie London, Manager of the SBIR and Federal Leveraging Programs at CT Innovations, and Lin began meeting with her a year ago to discuss their eligibility for federal grants. “Merrie’s guidance and support throughout the process has been instrumental to Alacrity receiving federal funds.”

“She reviewed our SBIR application and provided support from the state to get the most out of it,” he adds. Lin says the money will contribute to creating technology jobs in Connecticut and supporting detailed market studies to develop a market entry strategy for their product.


Interested in meeting with Merrie? She is holding Office Hours at YEI (55 Whitney Ave., 2nd Floor) on May 19, June 9 and July 1, 1-4pm. Sign up here!


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yale women of innovation

April 2, 2015: Seven Yale women were named as honorees at the recent Women of Innovation Awards presented by the Connecticut Technology Council, and two won prizes in their categories for their innovative research and entrepreneurship. Serap Aksoy, a professor at the Yale School of Public Health, won a Research Innovation and Leadership award for her discovery of innovative methods for using beneficial bacteria to render insects inhospitable for disease-causing pathogens, reducing their ability to transmit disease. Monika Weber, a PhD. student in Electrical Engineering won an award for Collegian Innovation and Leadership for her co-invention of Fluid-Screen, a small device that detects bacteria in 30 minutes.

Other Yale honorees included Wendy Davis, founder and CEO of GestVision, a startup developing a test for preeclampsia; Lynn Fiellin, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Yale School of Medicine who founded and directs Yale’s play2PREVENT lab and cofounded the startup KnackTime Interactive to develop behavior-impacting videogames; and Ellen Su, a recent Yale grad and the cofounder of Wellinks, which is developing a device and related app to track the wear-time and tightness of scoliosis braces. All three startups are being developed with support from the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute. Two additional Yale women—Jeannette Ickovics, Professor at the Yale School of Public Health  and Kyle Vanderlick, dean of the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science at Yale—were also honored.

“This was really an incredible night for Yale women, showing the breadth of leadership and innovation from students to faculty,” says Erika Smith, Deputy Director of the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute. “We’re thrilled to work with such inspiring women and to share in celebrating their accomplishments.”

In receiving her award, Dr. Aksoy encouraged young women to “share your passion for science, research and education.” This was the 11th annual Women of Innovation awards ceremony, and there is now a combined alumnae group of nearly 550 Women of Innovation.

CONTACT: Brita Belli, Communications Officer, Yale Entrepreneurial Institute,

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Launched from a Dorm Room yale sxsw

By Brita Belli

On Friday, March 13, the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute hosted two panels as part of SXSW Interactive, "Venture Investing in Universities" and "Launched from a Dorm Room." Below are 10 of our favorite insights from our panelists.

 1. “We look for deals that are exciting and riding big waves in healthcare and technology. Think about things that are changing the shape of society.” Greg Ho, President and COO of Spring Mountain Capital

2. “Any early stage startup needs to be humble, listen to customers and gather as many mentors as possible.” Sean Mackay, Cofounder and CEO of IsoPlexis

3. “Rather than have VCs pick through opportunities at a high-stakes event, we found it helpful to empower students to be able to direct where the investment happens…to help companies be born that otherwise wouldn’t be.”  Donald Fischer, Venture Partner, General Catalyst Partners which invests in student founders through Rough Draft Ventures

4. One idea for improving entrepreneurship growth at universities: “Create an endowment within the endowment that can support entrepreneurship.” Greg Ho, President and COO of Spring Mountain Capital

5. “My focus would be less on the product, and more on the customer. The hard part is really understanding the domain space and understanding the intersection of what someone needs and what you can deliver.” Donald Fischer, Venture Partner, General Catalyst Partners which invests in student founders through Rough Draft Ventures

6. “Start a company because you have a problem you want to solve, and a startup is the best way to approach it.” Jessica Cole, School District Coordinator, Panorama Education

7. “When you have a ‘.edu’ address, people will share things with you. You can approach it as an academic question or go to your alumni network. The day after you graduate, it’s harder to get that help.” Victor Wong, Cofounder and CEO of PaperG

8. “A business partner is not that important. Usually you don’t face those problems until there’s a product-market fit and at that point you can attract real talent.” David Luan, Cofounder of Dextro

9. “It’s important to maintain a healthy cross-section of people that you know.” Victor Wong, Cofounder and CEO of PaperG

10. “Find people you think are out of your league.” Jessica Cole, School District Coordinator, Panorama Education

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By Jesse Rich

 Jesse, John, Jen, Joe)

I came to Yale SOM because I believed that it gave me the best shot at working with a stellar multi-disciplinary team to solve unaddressed healthcare problems and make a difference in patients’ lives. This past fall, I was fortunate enough to join such a team through the Technology Commercialization Program at the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute (YEI). The team includes myself and Jen Gaze (both first year MBA students), Dr. John Geibel (Yale School of Medicine), and Dr. Joseph Zinter (School of Engineering and Applied Sciences/CEID). 

Together, we’ve formed Revai, a company built around technology developed in MENG 404, a course on medical device design and innovation that Dr. Zinter teaches at the Center for Engineering Innovation & Design. This technology allows us to help individuals with severe intestinal issues. 

About 20,000 people in the US suffer from short bowel syndrome. They’ve lost over half of their intestines, receive nutrition intravenously, and experience upwards of 40 bowel movements a day. Needless to say, quality of life can be extremely low. Also, treatment costs upwards of $200,000 a year and puts patients at risk of liver failure, blood clots, and serious infection.

The only solution to short bowel syndrome is to receive an intestinal transplant. And yet there are only 100 intestinal transplants performed each year, even though there are over 8,000 donor grafts available. The main reason that so few transplants are performed is that intestines are full of bacteria and degrade quickly, so you can’t transport them very far given that the current standard of care is a cooler with ice. This means that a lot of patients have no way to access healthy donor organs.

Porcine test results contrasting outcomes under the current standard of care (L) and using the Revai IPU (R).Porcine test results contrasting outcomes under the current standard
of care (L) and using the Revai IPU (R).

Our solution is the Revai Intestinal Preservation Unit (IPU). It’s a patent-protected system that pumps fluid through the intestine to keep it healthy during transportation. Both pig and human tests have shown that using the device can stop organ degradation for 8 hours. This will allow us to expand the donor network, provide better organs, increase transplant success rates, improve patient quality of life, and drastically reduce healthcare costs. 

With the Revai IPU, we can save patients and give them their lives back. 

This semester, Jen and I are taking MGT 646, Start-up Founder Practicum, where we can get credit for all the work we’re putting into our venture. In general, SOM has been incredibly supportive of our efforts and I would encourage any student interested in entrepreneurship to check out all of the resources available through the Program on Entrepreneurship.

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January 7, 2015: A team currently participating in YEI's Venture Creation Progam is competing in the NIH Neuro Startup Challenge in which teams develop business plans around NIH inventions available for licensing. The competition is supported by the Center for Advancing Innovation and the Heritage Provide Network in addition to the National Institutes of Health. The Yale team--Anthos Pharmaceuticals--is pursuing a novel therapeutic for Alzheimer's disease that would work by prventing the hyperphosphorylation of Tau, a protein in the brain with important links to the disease.

The Anthos Pharmaceuticals team includes co-leaders Levi M. Smith, PharmD, a second-year PhD student in Yale’s department of cell biology, and Santiago V. Salazar, a second-year PhD student in the department of genetics. Other team members are Meina Wang, PhD, a post-doctoral fellow in pathology; Jian Shao, a second-year MBA student; Nathan D. Williams, a second-year PhD student in the department of molecular, cellular and developmental biology; Robert Fernandez, a second-year PhD student in the department of molecular biophysics and biochemistry; and Brenden Barco, a second year PhD student in the department of molecular, cellular and developmental biology.

The team is being mentored by Susan Froshauer, PhD, president and CEO of Connecticut United for Research Excellence (CURE) and a member of YEI's Operating Board; Jim Heym, PhD, senior director of Life Sciences Venture Development at UCONN; and Gus Lawlor, managing director of HealthCare Ventures.

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