Erika Smith, M.B.A.
Erika Smith is the Director of the Blavatnik Fund for Innovation at Yale, a $10 million grant from the Blavatnik Family Foundation that supports efforts to turn Yale faculty discoveries into life science treatments, drugs and devices. Prior to this role, Erika was the Deputy Director of the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute where she oversaw the YEI Innovation Fund, a fund supporting Yale entrepreneurs with $100,000 in seed-stage capital, and the Technology Commercialization Program, which matched business students with faculty discoveries to launch successful companies like GestVision and IsoPlexis. Erika will continue to oversee the Business of Biotech series, which offers core skills and building blocks for translating research to faculty and research staff at Yale and UConn.
Before she came to Yale, Erika was the Senior Director of Investments with the Center for Innovative Technologies (CIT) where she launched the CIT BIO Lifescience seed fund in partnership with Johnson & Johnson, managing deal sourcing and the investment portfolio. Before investing in startups, she spent 15 years in industry working at leading companies such as Respironics/Philips and IVAX holding key positions in product development, quality assurance, regulatory affairs, business development and Mergers and Acquisitions. She has taken an active role in advancing capital into early companies holding board positions with the Maryland Innovation Initiative Fund in partnership with Johns Hopkins and MD Universities, the UConn Prototype Fund and SBIR/STTR initiatives, and is a Venture Advisor to the seed fund Epidarex Capital. Erika has taught at the National Institutes of Health and has been a recognized guest speaker at Georgetown University’s Masters of Biotechnology program. She holds a bachelor’s in Biomedical and Electrical Engineering and a Masters of Business Administration from Vanderbilt University.