Top news and looking forward to the week ahead.
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This is your weekly notification of the most share-worthy, news-worthy, and innovative happenings around the Polsky Center at the University of Chicago.

1 // UChicago appoints new VP for National Laboratories, Science Strategy, Innovation, and Global Initiatives.

UChicago's current Vice President for National Laboratories, Liew Family Professor in Molecular Engineering and senior scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, Juan de Pablo, has just been appointed to the new role of Vice President for National Laboratories, Science Strategy, Innovation, and Global Initiatives, providing oversight for the Polsky Center in partnership with Chicago Booth dean Madhav Rajan. Featured earlier this summer for his team's discovery that a pre-existing antiviral and anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical drug commonly used to treat hearing loss might serve as an effective COVID-19 treatment, Juan de Pablo has become known as a leader in the molecular engineering world and has been recognized as one of the top reasons the new Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering has grown as quickly as it has. Additionally, de Pablo's continued role in overseeing the University's partnership with Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab will serve to strengthen the University's role in multiple national initiatives and set the groundwork for future relationships with industrial collaborators and with international partners. Read more now.

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2 // George Shultz Innovation Fund accepts a new cohort.

With a new Fall Quarter comes a new Fall cohort of the George Shultz Innovation Fund, designed to support the most promising startups from UChicago, Argonne National Lab, Fermilab, and the Marine Biological Laboratory. To date, the Shultz Innovation Fund has invested $7M in 62 startups, with each funding cycle bringing more advanced projects from an even wider group of researchers. And now, we are excited to announce the acceptance of three projects into our newest cohort, each with the opportunity to join these exclusive ranks. Featuring a patented quantum dot ink applicable for the next generation of augmented reality, the development of a new kind of protein profiling tech used for diagnostics, and an AI-powered risk predictor generalizable to the entire human disease spectrum, we're excited to see how each team progresses. Read on for more about this new cohort and their research.

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3 // Alum cofounded startup MobileIron sells for $872M.

Cofounded by Booth alum Ajay Mishra, MBA '93, mobile device management and security startup MobileIron is responsible for a vast number of innovative and creative ways to keep both customer and enterprise-level data and devices secure – an increasingly important endeavor as more people continue to work remotely around the world. Their "zero-trust" platform completely does away with passwords in favor of verified secure mobile devices and biometrics as the primary factor for user authentication. Their motto, "never trust, always verify," is at the core of everything they produce and do. And most recently, they've announced a new kind of verified relationship with IT and security company Ivanti in the form of an $872M acquisition. In a press release, Ivanti's CEO reported, "We now have the most comprehensive set of software solutions that address the growing market demand for the future of work, where working from anywhere on any device type is the new normal." Read more now.

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4 // STEM education gets a quantum upgrade.

And it's called QuSTEAM (Quantum Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics). Thanks to a group of scientists from five universities across the Midwest, including the University of Chicago, there's a new plan to redesign quantum science education around the country from the ground up. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), this new multi-institutional program is designed to develop a workforce capable of meeting the existing and rapidly-growing demand for quantum information science, starting importantly at the undergraduate level. Additionally, the QuSTEAM curriculum will provide opportunities for both two- and four-year institutions, minority-serving institutions, and industries. The QuSTEAM curriculum will have the specific directive to address the need for more diversity and inclusion in both STEM education and the STEM workforce through building a structure that will work to overcome historical barriers preventing inclusivity. Read more now.


5 // Giving a whole new meaning to "Current events."

In celebration of Current's first-ever Chicago Water Week, the Polsky Center recently hosted a webinar in partnership with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) of Greater Chicago, Argonne National Lab, and Fermilab, detailing the best ways for anyone to engage with the University. The panel, which featured Polsky's own executive director of science and technology Bill Payne and director of innovation programs Melissa Byrn, highlighted a number of easily-accessible opportunities for research collaboration as well as how to gain access to the state-of-the-art research facilities and innovative technologies hosted at the University of Chicago, Argonne, and Fermi. Additionally, the panelists provided an overview of specific water-related capabilities and intellectual property, such as Argonne's Oleo Sponge, that is currently available for licensing. Watch the full webinar now.


6 // Roaring twenty-fives.

While many dedicate their teen years and early twenties to experimentation and self-exploration, there are a few that always seem to have everything figured out. Case in point, Chicago Inno recently featured their "25 Under 25" list for 2020, showcasing some of Chicago's youngest rock star entrepreneurs and technologists. And we're thrilled to see a few familiar faces recognized on the list. Kudos to the founders of CNVC '20 winner Subli, Luke Lida, AB '19, and current undergrad Melody Li, the founder of CNVC '20 alum Talket, current joint undergrad and Booth student Amy Ma, and the founder of another CNVC '20 alum Teneez, Raymundo Vargas. Read more now.

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7 // Talk about a sweet deal.

Polsky Small Business Growth Program alum and founder of Chicago's Brown Sugar Bakery, Stephanie Hart has had quite the year. Like most, she and her small team were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, forced to shutter their business overnight and completely rethink their business model. But, thankfully and with the help of previous guidance from the Small Business Growth Program, this small South Side bakery had the tools and framework they needed to keep fighting and innovating. And now, Brown Sugar Bakery has just announced its acquisition of Chicago's historic 84-year old candy factory Cupid Candies for $500K. Using an Illinois small business grant to help fund the purchase, Brown Sugar Bakery is planning to combine both companies under the Brown Sugar brand, keeping the entire staff of Cupid Candies to continue production as normal and expand the Brown Sugar line of desserts. Read more now.

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8 // A taste of culture delivered.

The vast diversity of culture in this country is often represented best by the nuanced variety in our cuisines. But, it's still not an easy task to find ethnic niche ingredients at the nearest big-box grocery store, even in a major metropolis like Chicago. And for the founders of Polsky Small Business Growth Program and Incubator alum OjaExpress, this was a problem that resonated deeply with them and their families. CEO and cofounder Boyede Sobitan explains, "When you go to a regular grocery store, many immigrants feel like they do not see products that reflect them or their culture." And to solve for this, they founded OjaExpress to create a delivery platform to provide more convenient access to the diverse foods of ethnic grocery stores across Chicago. But since then, it has become so much. Not only do they directly support grocers that are indispensable resources for many ethnic communities, but they are also designing a new community feature to encourage people of different ethnicities to come together, share recipes, and organize events. Read more now.

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9 // Alum founded data startup reveals another side effect of COVID-19.

Booth alum founded data analytics startup Civis Analytics works to assist all kinds of businesses and organizations in making the smartest decisions possible using the person-level data available. Most recently, Civis conducted a series of national surveys questioning more than 13,000 people to determine another side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic: a decrease in health coverage across the country. As more Americans lost their jobs throughout the spring and summer, millions were left without health insurance, as detailed in the consolidated survey, “The State of Health Insurance in COVID-19 America.” Read more now.

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10 // Booth is booming.

While the majority of business schools in the U.S. reported a marked decline in applications in 2019, Chicago Booth was one of only two top 25 b-schools to report otherwise. In fact, the Chicago Booth full-time MBA program has grown steadily for the last five years, while also keeping test scores impressively high and maintaining an acceptance rate in the low-mid 20% range. But it didn't stop there. This year, even in the midst of a global pandemic, Booth's applications jumped by a whopping 10.7% over last year. AND, even more impressively, Booth has reported for the incoming class of 2022 that the percentage of minority students enrolled has increased to 43% from 28% in 2019 – that's a 54% increase in one year. Read more now about Booth's exciting class of 2022 from Poets & Quants.

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Have something newsworthy you'd like to see featured next week?
Contact us for more information.

The below events will be available online or via Zoom Conferencing.

10/2 - Application Deadline: Polsky Science Innovation (PSI) Fellows
10/3 - PE Landscape for Career Changers
10/5 - Info Session: Private Equity and Venture Capital (PE/VC) Lab
10/5 - Info Session: Private Equity Case Challenge (PECC)
10/6 - Polsky Quick Pitches
10/6 - Info Session: Innovation Fund Associates (IFA)
10/6 - Founder's Story: 2019 South Side Pitch Winner Dinobi Detergent
10/7 - Legal Workshop: Founders' Agreements and Equity
10/8 - Info Session: Science-Based Entrepreneurship and VC at UChicago
10/9 - ETA 101 with Polsky Center Entrepreneur-in-Residence Alex Hodgkin
10/12 - Distinguished Entrepreneur Series: A Fireside Chat with Douglas Becker
10/12 - Info Session: Sterling Partners Investment Thesis Challenge (SPITC)
10/13 - IIR Workshop: Women in PE/VC Roundtable
10/13 - Small Business Essentials: Creating a Loyalty Program
10/13 - Application Deadline: Innovation Fund Associates (IFA)
10/13 - College New Venture Challenge Networking Night
10/14 - Entrepreneurship Essentials: Approaches to Discovering Your Customer
10/14 - Polsky Center Quick Pitch
10/15 - Alumni New Venture Challenge (ANVC) 2021 Kick-off Webinar
10/17 - Entrepreneurship Essentials: Marketing Strategy
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