Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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June 18, 2024 | Tom Ballard

U News 1 | Rice University awards grant to fund operation of accelerators

The University of Texas at San Antonio is playing a pivotal role in driving the city’s top industries forward.

From Rice University:

Rice University is awarding an $800,000 grant over three years to DivInc to fund the operation of accelerators designed to support diverse founders building innovative start-ups shaping the technology of tomorrow.

The grant supports DivInc’s mission to generate social and economic equity through entrepreneurship and address the capital gap to produce thriving startup companies’ success and will provide funding for the company to operate a number of accelerators.

“We’ve been in Houston since 2021, so we’re extremely honored and grateful to partner with Rice University,” said Preston James, DivInc Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “Leveraging the top university sports management program in the U.S., Rice’s highly ranked sports medicine and sport analytics programs, we’re providing exceptional value to our portfolio of companies. For us, it’s about fostering success for our founders. Sports tech is a vast and rapidly growing industry that represents a tremendous opportunity for diverse founders. We are undoubtedly creating an ecosystem of support where our founders can thrive and drive innovation. We are just warming up.”

DivInc launched its second 12-week Sports Tech Accelerator cohort last month, which will support diverse founders and startups who are using technology to enhance human performance, fan experience, fantasy sports and betting, future of media, NIL (name, image and likeness) innovation and stadium and venue innovation.

From the University of Texas at San Antonio:

The San Antonio Report recently spotlighted the fact that the city is emerging as a formidable economic force in Texas, and the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is playing a pivotal role in driving the city’s top industries forward.

Led since September 2017 by Taylor Eighmy, a fomer Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the article notes that UTSA UTSA is investing in infrastructure to position San Antonio as a national leader in cutting-edge fields, while simultaneously preparing a professional workforce with the skills our city needs the most. Those include:

Click here to learn more.

From the University of the Cumberlands:

The University of the Cumberlands’ executive Ph.D. in business (finance specialty) was recently ranked #1 in the nation by Forbes Advisor. The university’s online Ph.D. in business (strategic focus in management) made a similar list by Forbes, ranking #1 in the state and fourth in the nation.

Forbes Advisor noted that these degree programs are among the most advanced anyone can receive in the field and that a Ph.D. with a financial focus can prepare students for “various specialized, high-level roles in financial management” and more, while earning a Ph.D. with a business management focus prepares students for “high-level roles in research, academic, or consulting.”

The University of the Cumberlands is located just across the Tennessee-Kentucky state line in Williamsburg, KY.

From the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:

Patients with intractable cancers, chronic pain sufferers, and people who depend on battery-powered medical implants may all benefit from the ideas presented at the 2023-24 MIT-Royalty Pharma Prize Competition’s recent awards. This year’s top prizes went to researchers and biotech entrepreneurs Anne Carpenter, Frederike Petzschner, and Betar Gallant.

Carpenter, Senior Director of the Imaging Platform and a Senior Scientist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, won the competition’s $250,000 grand prize. She specializes in using microscopy imaging of cells and computational methods such as machine learning to accelerate the identification of chemical compounds with therapeutic potential to, for instance, shrink tumors. The identified compounds are then tested in biological assays that model the tumor ecosystem to see how the compounds would perform on actual tumors.

SyzOnc, Carpenter’s start-up, launched in April, a feat Carpenter associates with the assistance provided by the MIT Faculty Founder Initiative. Participants in the program receive mentorship, stipends, and advice from industry experts, as well as help with incorporating, assembling a management team, fundraising, and intellectual property strategy.


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