Episode: Episode 52: The Embedded Entrepreneurship Initiative
Pub date: 2021-12-01
In this episode of the Voices from DARPA podcast, listeners will learn about an emerging component of DARPA’s institutional culture for delivering technologies that strengthen the nation and redefine what is possible. Called the Embedded Entrepreneurship Initiative (EEI), this effort is designed to help creative scientists and engineers usher their new high-technology visions all of the way to real in-field, hold-in-your-hand, useful-in-the-world technologies. The mission of EEI, now entering its second year following a pilot phase, is to provide early-stage technology-development teams with veteran innovators who bring with them the proven business savvy it takes to make it through the proverbial Valley of Death. That’s when anything from insufficient funding, missed deadlines, unexpected supply-chain issues, intellectual property disputes, market fluctuations, a federal policy change, or any number of other hazards can kill off even the best of technology ideas. Listeners will hear from Kacy Gerst, DARPA’s Chief of Commercial Strategy; Scott Cunningham, a Senior Commercialization Advisor with In-Q-Tel-Emerge, a technology-acceleration organization that is partnering with DARPA to make EEI work; and Jeff Conroy, CEO of Embody, an emerging biotechnology company that credits EEI with accelerating its success in launching what is now its first FDA-approved biomedical technology for improving ligament and tendon repair, a common need for athletes and military personnel. Gerst is happy to note that EEI already is working with more than 50 entrepreneurial teams and she expects the initiative to ramp up over the next few years to a portfolio of 150 such teams.
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