Venture Catalyst Expanding at UC Davis

Venture Catalyst Expanding at UC Davis

Janine Elliott was our guest on October 12 for a Perspectives podcast, explaining her new role.  She comes to us from 6 years at VentureWell in Amherst, MA, one of the best- funded and most complete tech incubators, and from the Los Angeles CleanTech Incubator, which we know well.  She has a Green MBA from the Dominican University of California and a BA in Environmental Policy from Colby College.   She also contributed a chapter chapter on navigating the entrepreneurial ecosystem for a best selling book on “How to Commercialize Chemical Technologies for a Sustainable Future”.  

Janine now works with our friend Ryan Sharp, as the Associate Director for Physical Sciences and Engineering, in tandem with Mike Lemcke who has a parallel role with Life Sciences.  She is part of significant expansion in UCD’s commitment to nurturing and supporting new ventures, primarily coming from research on campus, but also available to anyone in the wider community.

As you may know, Venture Catalyst provides resources through 4 programs 

  • Science Translation and Innovative Research (STAIR) Grants—funding Proof-of-Concept for innovations
  • Smart Toolkit for Accelerated Research Translation (START)—Equipping entrepreneurs with the tools, resources, and services they need to form and grow prosperous companies 
  • Economic Engagement Economic Engagement and Community Outreach (EECO) Systems–facilitating connections between startups and the regional innovation and economic development ecosystem
  • Distributed Research Incubation and Venture Engine (DRIVE) Network–offering early-stage startups access to shared office and technical research and developmental space through a Distributed Incubator Network

Things you maybe didn’t know are that they provide a Knowledge Exchange Speakers Series where they bring in experts for webinars or in-person presentations, and those are available in their YouTube channel along with recordings of the training sessions done for the Big Bang.

And talking about the Big Bang, the kickoff meeting is November 15, likely a virtual meeting, so watch for more details.

Some of you may recall that this greater commitment to supporting new ventures at UCD began with the arrival of Linda Katehi as the new chancellor and then the addition of Dushyant Pathak as the spearhead of Venture Catalyst, both of which have now moved to other pastures.  It is impressive to see how much since then the program has grown in depth and breadth.  Janine included a couple of slides on the complete venture support network at UCD.   It is a resource you all should lean on.  Lots of good stuff going on.  Welcome, Janine.  You bring a wealth of experience from which we are sure to benefit.  Drop in our events whenever you can.


Thomas Hall


Gary Simon is the Chair of CleanStart’s Board. A seasoned energy executive and entrepreneur with 45 years of experience in business, government, and non-profits.

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