The Summit for

Research Institution Gap Fund & Accelerator Programs

October 21-22, 2022

New Orleans + Virtual
presented by
hosted by

What is Covergence?

A gathering of those interested in developing and collaborating with
University Tech and Startup Gap Fund and Accelerator Programs

The lack of true early-stage capital and innovation developmental support is a major challenge in advancing promising university technology from the lab to commercial and investment partners.

Research institutions are leading through the implementation of university gap funding (proof of concept, startup, venture) and accelerator programs to bridge this “valley of death”. Over the past 15 years, these programs have evolved into sophisticated investment, evaluation, development, and commercialization support mechanisms to nurture the most promising opportunities in emerging, high-growth technology areas.

Smart companies and investors are taking notice and making it a strategic, external innovation and investment priority to partner with these university gap fund and accelerator programs through applied research, proof of concept projects, corporate venture investments, and advisory/mentorship in return for insights, competitive positioning, and access to future technology and start-ups.

COVERGENCE is where we meet, learn, and talk about what we can do together to catalyze innovation through university gap fund and accelerator programs.

Right People

University POC/startup/venture, industry, and investor leadership converge to connect those interested in developing and accessing emerging IP, proof of concept projects, and startups through gap funds/accelerator programs; share and learn about early stage innovation trends and collaboration practices.

Right SIze

We all know that oversubscribed events lead to many hit-miss, high-level exchanges. Our strategy is to go targeted to allow everyone to meet and forge foundational relationships. We do this by making sure that we are inviting the right people to fill those seats.

Right Content

Connect. Learn. Share common interests. Online platform and balance of content and relationship-building. Increase random interactions and knowledge exchange.

Thursday, October 21 (CT)

10:00 - 10:30 AM CT

Welcome/The Gap Fund/Accelerator Landscape Review from new Mind the Gap 2021 Report data

10:30 - 2:00 PM

Need-to-Know Gap Fund/Accelerator Program Discussion Panels

Leaders of proof of concept, startup, and venture university gap funds/accelerator programs will take the stage to moderate an all-participant open discussion on models, approaches, and common challenges.

Prior to the event participants can provide a formatted model review of their processes, structures, impact, and lessons-learned. These will be shared through the conference website

10:30 - 11:30 aM

Proof of Concept / Asset Development Programs

Discussion lead by Notre Dame, Ohio State, Rutgers, and Tech Launch AZ

11:30 - 1:00 pM


Walter Isaacson, Characteristics of Successful Innovators and Innovative Organizations

1:00 - 2:00 pM

Startup Accelerator Programs/University Venture Funds

Discussion lead by Carolina Kickstart, Indiana U, U Virginia, and U Utah

2:00 - 4:30 pM

Common Challenge Breakouts

Breakout rooms by program type and interest areas. A great opportunity to bounce around and build connections with others that are interested in the more nuanced challenges with gap fund and accelerator programs. Then we come back together for a debrief and sharing of solutions and opportunities. 

5:30 pM

The Happiest of Hours

Food, Drinks, and Conversation on a Troubadour Hotel rooftop overlooking the French Quarter. An in-person mixer. Yes, please!

Friday, October 22 (CT)

10:00 - 11:00 AM CT

Corporate Innovation

Corporate Innovation and Venture teams are beginning to look past traditional partnership models (research projects, marketed licenses, etc.) to more alignment with existing programs in the university commercialization process, like gap fund and accelerator programs. The presenters/panelists will share their historical approaches, areas of interest, and opportunities for syncing with university technologies and startups.   

  • Henkel Tech Partners
  • Philips Healthcare

11:00 - 12:00 PM

Venture Capital + Angel

Venture and angel models have evolved in recent years in ways that have opened up avenues for earlier stage investment and collaboration. Learn about emerging valuation tactics, fundraising strategies, and how these sources of investment, experience, and relationships can tie into your gap fund/accelerator process and goals.

  • BDMI
  • Laconia Capital
  • Leonis Ventures
  • Revelry Venture Partners

12:00 - 1:00 pM


Keynote: Trivia Fraizer

1:00 - 3:00 pM

3x 30 Min Tactical Reviews

Practitioners share their approaches to addressing common program interests

  • Raising Philanthropic Support
  • Providing Student/Faculty I+E Experiences through Accelerators and Competitions
  • Collaborating with Private Accelerators/Studios

3:30 - 4:00 pM

Wrap-up, Learned Lessons, and Adjourn


Walter Isaacson


Characteristics of successful innovators and innovative organizations

Walter Isaacson is an American author, journalist, and professor. He has been the President and CEO of the Aspen Institute, chair and CEO of CNN, and the editor of Time.

Mr. Isaacson will share characteristics of successful innovators and innovative organizations from his breadth of experience through research and writing about Steve Jobs, Jennifer Doudna, and other prolific innovators.


Scaling from Startup

Dr. Trivia Frazier is an Entrepreneur, Researcher, and Business Professional with over 10 years of experience in the fields of stem cell research, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine.

Dr. Frazier is currently the CEO and president of Obatala Sciences, a biotech firm whose “fat-on-a-chip” technology facilitates faster testing for new drugs than traditional methods

Dr. Frazier will share her experiences and challenges in scaling from a startup company in New Orleans


Trivia Fraizer

1441 Canal St,
New Orleans, LA

Event Venue:

New Orleans BioInnovation Center (NOBIC)

The New Orleans BioInnovation Center is a private, not-for-profit business incubator, supporting entrepreneurship and dedicated to the development of bioscience innovation throughout Louisiana.

Follow Us on Social