News Release

New UC San Diego Technology Accelerator Selects Five Teams for Its Inaugural Cohort

San Diego, CA, May 23, 2017 -- Today the Institute for the Global Entrepreneur (IGE) at the University of California San Diego announced team selections for its new technology accelerator. Five UC San Diego research teams, with innovations ranging from advanced healthcare diagnostics and medical device technologies to next generation LIDAR for autonomous-vehicle navigation, have been selected to join the new campus program.

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Rajan Kumar is the lead for the team developing new stretchable battery technologies. Kumar is a nanoengineering PhD student at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. 

Founded by the Institute for the Global Entrepreneur, a collaboration between the Jacobs School of Engineering and the Rady School of Management, the IGE Technology Accelerator provides each team up to $50,000 in financial support over the year-long program, with a particular focus on helping teams validate their technologies and business models by field testing their prototypes with strategic partners. The accelerator also provides entrepreneurship training, business and technical mentoring, industry connections, and access to research and prototyping facilities.

Each team in the initial cohort is based in the Jacobs School of Engineering, with collaborators across campus. The teams are:

* Compact Solid State Lasers for LIDAR Applications in Autonomous Vehicles
* Stretchable Batteries for Wearable Applications
* Cardiac Risk Assessment Imaging for Stroke Prevention
* Electromagnetically Shielded, MRI-compatible Medical Instruments
* Instrumentation to Prevent Damage to the Esophagus during Heart Surgery

“At the Institute for the Global Entrepreneur, we are focused on unlocking the potential of the numerous innovations we generate at UC San Diego,” said Sujit Dey, director of the Institute for the Global Entrepreneur and a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. “There are many research projects on campus that have tremendous market potential, but successful commercialization requires strategy, planning, organization and support. We are excited to be providing our first group of talented and promising teams in the technology accelerator with these resources. Ensuring that teams successfully perform strategic field testing of their prototypes, potentially with a future customer, is one of the unique aspects of this technology accelerator,” said Dey.

The milestone-based program offers funding for developing, fine tuning, and testing prototypes with actual users. Each team works with a team of dedicated mentors from a pool of seasoned entrepreneurs and relevant technical experts. In addition, each team receives $25,000 in expertise and facilities access at UC San Diego’s Qualcomm Institute to its Nano3 cleanroom labs and its world-class Prototyping Facility, with other QI services subject to availability.

“With this accelerator, we are working to fill the gaps in the path to commercialization,” said Dennis Abremski, executive director of the Institute for the Global Entrepreneur. “Testing prototypes with potential customers or other partners is one of the critical steps toward successful commercialization that many teams struggle with.”

Because timing often makes the difference between success and failure, the IGE Technology Accelerator aims to reduce the time it takes each team to get their first customer.

“We’ve structured the program to shorten the timelines for validating technologies and product-market fit,” said Abremski. “The money is important, but this accelerator is about so much more than the money.”

“One thing we see over and over is a gap between what entrepreneurs perceive as their value proposition, target market, and success strategies versus their actual value and eventual business strategies,” said Dr. Vish Krishnan, associate director of the Institute for the Global Entrepreneur and the Rady School director of Entrepreneurship programs and Professor of Innovation, Technology and Operations. “It is important to equip the teams with mentoring and peer group support that prepares them for the turbulent world of new venture creation. As a collaboration between the Rady School and the Jacobs School, the Institute for the Global Entrepreneur is uniquely positioned to help teams commercialize their discoveries.”


IGE Technology Accelerator Funding

The IGE Technology Accelerator program is one of a series of new and ongoing innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives that received support from the Office of the Chancellor and from California Assembly Bill 2664, which provided $2.2 million for each UC campus to expand innovation and entrepreneurship activities.

Funding for the IGE Technology Accelerator was generously matched by a gift from The Legler Benbough Foundation. “We see technology accelerators like IGE’s that recognize new innovation and promote the development of new enterprise, as a major economic driver for the future of San Diego,” said Peter K. Ellsworth, president of The Legler Benbough Foundation.


IGE Technology Accelerator Spring 2017 Teams

Compact, Solid State Lasers for LIDAR Applications in Autonomous Vehicles
Bound states in the continuum (BIC) lasers offer unique properties, including tunable emission wavelength, emission angle, and potential for high-power applications. The team is developing a tunable, chip-level, solid state BIC laser for LIDAR in Autonomous Vehicles. (press release on related Nature paper)
Team Lead: Ashok Kodigala
Faculty: Boubacar Kante
Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

Stretchable, Conformal Batteries for Wearable Applications
Conformal electronics is an emerging class of devices that can conform to complex non-planar and deformable surfaces. The team is developing printable, stretchable, nanoparticle-based materials for batteries using safe, high-performance chemistries.
Team Lead: Rajan Kumar
Faculty: Shirley Meng and Joseph Wang
Department: NanoEngineering Department at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

Cardiac Risk Assessment Imaging
The VeoCor team has developed the first personalized tool to assess the risk of cardiac thrombus (blood clot) formation and associated stroke. The project aims to prevent thousands of strokes per year by deploying its diagnostic technology clinically to enable evidence-based treatment decisions in patients with heart failure and heart attacks. VeoCor’s patented technology analyzes standard ultrasound images to provide a quantitative measure of blood flow within the left ventricle, identifying areas of stasis which are most susceptible to thrombus formation.
Team Lead: Lorenzo Rossini
Faculty: Juan Carlos del Alamo, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering; Dr. Andrew M. Kahn M.D. Ph.D. from the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the UC San Diego School of Medicine

Electromagnetically Shielded Devices for MRI Guidance of Minimally Invasive Procedures
The team is developing specialized nanoparticle-based coatings to enable the use of standard medical instruments in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) assisted medical procedures.
Team lead: Sanjeet Hegde
Faculty: Prabhakar Bandaru
Departments: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering; the Division of Pediatric Cardiology in the Department of Pediatrics in the UC San Diego School of Medicine; Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego. 

Esophageal Deflection Device for Cardiac Surgery
The team is developing a medical instrument for cardiologists to safely and reliably prevent thermal damage to the esophagus during cardiac ablation procedures.
Team lead: Karcher Morris
Faculty: Frank Talke
Department: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering


About the Institute for the Global Entrepreneur
The Institute for the Global Entrepreneur encompasses education and training programs, mentoring, and strategic partnerships, all working toward a common goal: preparing engineers and MBA students to become change makers, technical leaders, and entrepreneurs who drive innovation within organizations both large and small. The Institute is a collaboration between the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering and Rady School of Management. It is dedicated to training global technology leaders and translating university discoveries to the marketplace. Learn more about the Institute for the Global Entrepreneur and get in touch with the teams here.

UC San Diego Entrepreneurship
Recognized as one of the world’s top 15 research universities, UC San Diego is driving innovation and change to advance society, propel economic growth, and make our world a better place. Over the last three years, the university’s innovation programs have supported more than 220 startup companies and teams, adding nearly 200 jobs to the economy. These companies have gone on to attract nearly $125 million in external funds. In total, more than 760 companies have been launched by or use technology developed by UC San Diego faculty, staff, students and alumni, contributing an estimated $32 billion to the local economy.

Media Contacts

Daniel Kane
Jacobs School of Engineering