CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The University of Chicago’s Innovation Fund announced plans to invest more than $400,000 in four ventures working to improve the way we engage students in the classroom; run models and simulations; adapt educational curriculum to students’ needs; and treat hypertriglyceridemia, a condition linked to coronary artery disease, diabetes, and pancreatitis. The Innovation Fund invests in promising technologies created at the University of Chicago with high potential for societal and commercial impact. Since its inception, the Fund has invested over $2.5 million in more than 30 projects.
For Michael Wilde's team, the investment is the next step on the path to commercializing technologies developed over the course of a decade. Parallel.Works enables complex and compute-intensive modeling, simulation and analytic workflows to be performed rapidly, easily and economically. Using the technology, scientists, engineers and data analysts can perform computations to increase quality and speed their products to market.
When the team entered the CIE + Cisco Innovation Challenge last spring, they were “searching for new funding opportunities and business guidance.” Parallel.Works was chosen as one of three finalists for the Challenge.
“The CIE + Cisco Innovation Challenge was a learning experience for us,” said Wilde, a software architect at Argonne and senior fellow at the Computation Institute. “The technical challenges are only one small piece of the larger business equation. After the Challenge, we realized we needed to learn how to position our product to customers.”
Taking advantage of progress made during the Challenge, Parallel.Works participated in the UChicago iCorps site program offered by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Chicago Innovation Exchange (CIE). Through the program, they learned how to describe the value of their ideas, identified potential customers, and elicited important feedback through research and interviews.
For Parallel.Works, the hard work and persistence paid off – the team was one of four to receive funding this cycle. Parallel.Works will use the $120,000 investment to complete the initial version of their product, add third party vendors to their workflows, and begin a pilot with initial customers.
“Parallel.Works is a perfect example of the innovative ideas being developed by University of Chicago and national laboratory researchers that have real commercial potential,” said John Flavin, executive director of the Chicago Innovation Exchange and member of the Innovation Fund advisory committee. “By taking advantage of the programs and resources available through the CIE and our partners, the team was able to learn more about the value of their idea and develop a plan for commercializing their technology. We’re looking forward to seeing Parallel.Works move their product along the pathway to the marketplace.”
The UChicago Innovation Fund is managed by the Chicago Innovation Exchange with partners, UChicagoTech (the University’s Center for Technology Development & Ventures) and the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
The committee awarded investments to four teams this cycle:
- Becoming Effective Learners: received $151,000 for technology to help educators measure students’ noncognitive factors, understand the contexts where they are best fostered, and help students develop these traits and skills.
- Parallel.Works: received $120,000 for technology that enables complex and compute-intensive modeling, simulation and analytic workflows to be performed on parallel computing systems.
- MyPath Planning Wizard: received $100,000 for technology that helps teachers customize curriculum to fit the needs of their classroom, while receiving the benefits of curriculum systems built on the latest research in learning science.
- Peptides for the Stimulation of Lipase to Treat Hypertriglyceridemia: Companion Assay for Clinical Assessment: to receive $35,000 to further develop a lead peptide and highly sensitive companion lipase assay to help physicians diagnose and treat patients with hypertriglyceridemia, a condition linked to coronary artery disease, diabetes, and pancreatitis.