How Past Participants Translated Their Research Into Large-Scale Impact with the NYU Tech Venture Workshop

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The NYU Tech Venture Program (consisting of the Tech Venture Workshop + NSF I-Corps + Tech Venture Accelerator) is a three-part program for faculty, PhD students, postdocs, and researchers that offers training, mentorship, and more than $100,000 in non-dilutive grants to aid with research commercialization. Below, read testimonials from past participants in the Tech Venture Workshop (the first step in the Tech Venture Program), describing how the experience brought value to their research.

"Coming from a theoretical research background, it didn't come naturally to me to look at my work through the lens of commercialization. The NYU Tech Venture Workshop gave me the confidence to engage with potential investors and write my first commercialization plan. What stands out to me is that the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute/Leslie eLab mentors have continued to support me with coaching and resources several years after my initial participation in the workshop. Moving forward, I feel that considering aspects of commercial translation as well as academic dissemination will significantly increase the overall impact of my lab's work." 

– Tara McAllister, PhD (Faculty, Steinhardt), founder of staRt

"The Tech Venture Workshop has provided us with an immense resource pool particularly regarding experienced and dedicated mentors who have guided us through the winding process of solving problems in the startup world. Their dedication and thoughtful insights have helped us find the most valuable skill when starting a company: focus! Surely, the lasting impact on our processes and their ongoing support deserve more than a huge 'Thank You'."

– Beno Oppenheimer, MD (Faculty, NYU Langone Health), founder of Relay Response

"My experience in the NSF I-Corps and the continued support and education in entrepreneurial thinking that the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute provides me, has profoundly improved my research. In my academic research, I use the same lean methodologies of customer discovery (finding out what problems the field feels and wants solved), and focus on minimal viable product development (make first investments in imperfect viable solutions, then iterate by adding features that the intellectual community needs and is ready to recognize, i.e. pay for with their attention). In a sense I always did this intuitively, albeit poorly, but now I have a strategic framework for my planning and decision making that even extends to which conferences I attend and which invited lectures I accept. 

Entrepreneurial thinking has also widened my research directions and changed my research opportunities. This is especially evident in the pandemic as the need for respiratory support (ventilators), COVID-19 diagnostic testing first at NYU and then in NYC public schools, and better coordination of available mental health services are three domains (and there are more) that I have contributed research and commercial activities towards because I was able to instantly leverage my research, intellectual, and project management skills in problem solving within a public-facing entrepreneurial framework. These activities and opportunities benefit my student trainees. A postdoc began pioneering neurophysiology research at breakneck speed in a psychedelics startup - all within the time it took NYU to sign a contract with the startup to do such research. A graduate student recently used his understanding of the biomedical research enterprise to enter the commercial world as a McKinsey consultant, where they are thriving.

I am grateful for the Entrepreneurial Institute and its activities, and I am sure that beyond me, NYU has benefited enormously from its impact on me."

– Andre Fenton, PhD (Faculty, Department of Neuroscience), founder of Biodigital and Med 2.0

"I took part in the NYU Tech Venture Workshop and in the NSF I-Corps in the second year of my PhD program. I learned that there was pretty minimal demand for the project I was working on (because the problem it solved no longer existed), which was great to learn early on! Since then I've changed the focus of that project and started another related one, both of which solve problems that other people have identified. The things I learned from the Workshop and the I-Corps program help me make sure that my research stays relevant and that I keep focusing on real problems that real people need solved."

– Jacob Kronenberg (PhD Candidate, Tandon), Brooklyn Biosciences startup team member

"As an ophthalmology resident, I was often exposed to the novel diagnostic and therapeutic developments that are constantly emerging in our innovative field. And while I've always been interested in learning more about the process for the commercialization of research, the NYU Tech Venture Workshop gave me an opportunity to do so in a structured environment with close mentorship. My experience in the workshop helped me re-frame my understanding of the problems our patients face and how to address them in very specific ways. This approach is something I will bring into my clinical practice and will hopefully help me recognize broader solutions for improving care."

– Dinah Chen, MD (Fellow, Department of Ophthalmology), founder of Envision

"As an academic researcher, participating in the NYU Tech Venture Workshop was an eye-opening experience. When I first started exploring how to commercialize a project that had developed from a research collaboration, I had no idea where to start. The TVW introduced me to the fundamental concepts of how to move from an idea to a venture through guided, hands-on experiences using established frameworks."

– Aaron Johnson, PhD (Faculty, Langone Health), co-founder of Voice Dosimeter