News Release

UC San Diego Institute for the Global Entrepreneur launches Medtech Accelerator, Shah Family Fellowships, and Founders Fund

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2019 IGE Showcase at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

San Diego, Calif., November 21, 2019 -- To kick off its 2020 expansion, the UC San Diego Institute for the Global Entrepreneur (IGE) hosted its inaugural showcase on November 1, with over 20 technology teams and startups exhibiting from across campus and the surrounding San Diego ecosystem.

During the program, IGE announced it’s launching a new MedTech Accelerator, as well as the Shah Family Entrepreneur Fellowship, and a new IGE Founders Fund, seeded with an initial $1 million philanthropic gift from the Legler Benbough Foundation.

“For the last six or seven years we’ve made entrepreneurship a central theme and tenant of not just our education and research, but an integrated approach to enabling all faculty, staff and students to make a difference in San Diego, California, the nation and the world,” said Pradeep K. Khosla, Chancellor of UC San Diego.

The showcase featured IGE-affiliated teams and companies in medical device, biotech, and energy-related technologies. Learn more about IGE’s active startups here.

The Institute for the Global Entrepreneur at UC San Diego is a collaboration between the Jacobs School of Engineering and Rady School of Management, with a mission to educate, train and empower engineers to become changemakers and technical leaders who are prepared to drive innovation and advance research from the lab to the marketplace.

“We work very closely with all the different entities and schools on campus, including the Office of Innovation and Commercialization, Health Sciences, the Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and of course our partner the Rady School of Management,” said Sujit Dey, director of the Institute for the Global Entrepreneur. “This level of collaboration is one of the rare things that has happened in campuses across the country, I think.”

MedTech Accelerator

In collaboration with the Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) at UC San Diego, the new MedTech Accelerator housed at IGE will be ideal for UC San Diego-affiliated companies developing medical devices, diagnostics, and therapeutics, and will bring together technical mentorship, clinical expertise, and access to investors and partners to streamline the path to clinical trials and commercialization.

“This new accelerator includes training, consumer feedback, formation of teams, as well as actual help in performing clinical trials with their devices,” said Gary Firestein, Associate Vice Chancellor of Translational Medicine, and director of ACTRI. “That last part is really part of the valley of death for medical devices—it’s not so easy to take something from a laboratory, go through the regulatory maze… test your device, and have it come out the other end as a product.”

By bridging the business and technical acumen of IGE with the clinical expertise of ACTRI, the MedTech Accelerator will build upon the San Diego region’s national reputation as a life science and medtech hub, and facilitate partnerships between researchers, startups, and clinicians with a goal of improving human health.

Fellowships for IGE Graduate Students

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Munjal Shah at IGE 2019 Showcase

UC San Diego computer science alumnus and successful entrepreneur, Munjal Shah, was present at the showcase to announce the new Shah Family Entrepreneurial Fellowship Fund.  The fund will provide a minimum of five fellowship awards of $5,000 per year to Jacobs School of Engineering graduate students participating in the IGE Business Bootcamp and Technology Management Certificate program. The selected fellowship recipients will be designated as “Shah Fellows.”

Shah, whose company, was acquired by Google in 2010, and who now heads Health IQ, said he wished IGE and the Fellows program existed when he was at UC San Diego.


 “A lot of people think entrepreneurship is this magic thing... I think people forget that it’s a craft,” said Shah. “When I did my undergrad here there was no program like this, so I think it’s really great what you have built here—you’re building the infrastructure here to encourage entrepreneurship.”

IGE Founders Fund 

IGE also announced a new Founders Fund meant to build a legacy of philanthropy and support from successful founders, actively contributing their time, talents, and financial backing to the UC San Diego startup ecosystem. Established with a $1 million philanthropic seed investment from the Legler Benbough Foundation, the Fund will support current teams and startups in the various IGE accelerator programs through seed grants, mentorship and training. The Founders Pledge Fund also encourages successful alumni entrepreneurs to return to campus to share their ideas, experiences, and networks, which is key to supporting early stage founders and their companies.

“When alumni are successful, they’ll look back and say how did I get here? We’re trying to build a legacy, a pipeline of entrepreneurs that help entrepreneurs,’ said Dennis Abremski, director of the Institute for the Global Entrepreneur. “And it’s not just about getting out your wallet, but also about sharing your time: Come back, get involved with current IGE teams.”

The Fund’s initial $1 million seed gift was championed by Peter Ellsworth, president of the Legler Benbough Foundation, supporting world-changing innovations.

“We funded this project because it brings together exactly the kind of talent and resources that are essential to create the ideas that we will need to secure our place as everyone in the world seeks to become an innovation center,” Ellsworth said. “It is only by providing this kind of opportunity and encouragement to develop these ideas, that we will be sure to take advantage of the enormous talent of the brilliant minds associated with the Institute for the Global Entrepreneur.”

Media Contacts

Katherine Connor
Jacobs School of Engineering