New Haven, CT (May 9, 2019) – Governor Ned Lamont, yesterday joined hundreds of Yale faculty, students, entrepreneurs and investors at the 2019 Yale Innovation Summit and solidified his commitment to support innovation in the New Haven Area.
During the Summit, Yale faculty and researchers were presented with prizes and seed investments towards their research. The investments, made possible by a $25 million grant from the Blavatnik Family Foundation, were awarded to eight finalists of a 6-month long Blavatnik investment contest. Awards were also given to pitch presenters who showcased their research during a ‘Shark Tank’ style pitch contest during the summit and sixteen additional prizes were given to ePoster presenters.
“To the more than 140 investors here, I know a lot of the entrepreneurs love Connecticut, so let’s keep them here,” Governor Lamont said in his opening remarks to introduce his wife, venture capitalist Annie Lamont. “We have to make sure incredible talent grows and stays here. Right here in New Haven and Yale-New Haven, [we can see] how important life sciences is to the future of the state. My job as a freshly minted governor of 110 days is to make sure we put in place infrastructure to make that happen.”
Lamont discussed improving transportation and fixing the state’s budget as viable starts towards ensuring innovation stays in-state. “Connecticut’s strategic location, with New Haven right here as a hub, has got to be core to where we go in the future,” he said.
“Part of what you do in biotech is you have to be thinking about the macro factors that impact the areas you’re investing in. And as I think about life going forward I think about lowering cost and improving quality.” She said. “Nothing to me is a transaction. Everything to me is about relationships and that’s what I suggest for emerging entrepreneurs.”
The other two Summit keynotes were biotech and investment industry leaders Sean Harper, Managing Director of Westlake Village Biopartners and Kate Bingham, Managing Partner of SV Health Investors.
The Yale Innovation Summit was established in 2014 to operate as the primary source for investment networking on Yale’s campus. Hosted by the Office of Cooperative Research (OCR), the Summit has become the largest gathering of early-stage investors and offers researchers a unique opportunity to showcase their projects while finding potential investors for their work.
“The Summit has become the signature event highlighting the innovation ecosystem being fostered around Yale and New Haven,” said Jon Soderstrom, Managing Director for the Office of Cooperative Research.” Last year’s Summit was noted for its energy and impact as evidenced by the 1000+ attendees. During this year’s Summit, we were eager to have each attendee join in the broader conversation around opportunities for growing, strengthening and enhancing the environment for fostering more entrepreneurial enterprises in the State. We’re excited to continue the momentum we’ve seen over the years.”
Innovation through discovery and research remains a priority for the University. In the past decade, entrepreneurs launched 130 ventures based on Yale discoveries that have received more than $500 million in investment capital. In 2017 alone, 11 new companies were created from Yale labs. The companies launched since 2003 have raised $1.4 billion.
During the Summit award ceremony, OCR announced Sidi Chen, John Deacon, Naftali Kaminski, Andrew Miranker, Anna Pyle, Aaron Ring & Andrew Wang, David Spiegel and Paul Turner as the 2019 Blavatnik Awardees. Each funded project will receive substantial investments through the Blavatnik Fund for Innovation at Yale.
Awards in the amounts of $10k, $5k, and $2.5k were also given to the biotech and tech pitch contest winners. Dr. Amir Mor, Dr. Hitten Zaveri, and Vivek Rajarathnam respectively won the first, second, and third place prizes for the tech pitch contest. Dr. Demetrios Braddock, Dr. Choukri Ben Mamoun and Dr. John Deacon respectively won first, second, and third place prize for the biotech pitch contest.
Platinum sponsor Connecticut Innovations, the state’s strategic venture capital arm, also held pitch presentations for their slate of 20 portfolio companies.
“Yale has the unique ability to assemble the best and brightest thought leaders under one roof and the summit is no exception,” said Lauren Carmody, vice president of marketing and communications at Connecticut Innovations.
“The Yale Innovation Summit was an amazing way for 20+ founders from our portfolio companies to meet top tier VCs and corporate partners,” said Matt McCooe, CEO at Connecticut Innovations. “Yale and OCR have the unique ability to attract world class thought leaders, CI was proud to be with so many of our friends and partners at the summit.”