The Innovation Imperative

Innovation Roundtable

The University of Washington is one of the world’s preeminent public universities, with a demonstrated track record of positive impact across the globe. Our goal is to achieve even greater economic and societal impact. The University of Washington recognizes the value and importance of involving external stakeholders to advise on these efforts. These stakeholders provide a critical link between UW, researchers, students, startups, industry partners, investors, and staff.

About the Innovation Roundtable

Co-chaired by UW Provost for Innovation François Baneyx and Bryan White, founder of Sahsen Ventures, the UW Innovation Roundtable represents a cross-section of the regional investment and economic development community, including leading venture capitalists, angel investors and innovation leaders. Its aim is to optimize technology transfer effectiveness, create a vibrant innovation ecosystem, expand startup creation, and identify opportunities for private/public partnerships to advance UW’s economic and societal impact.

Role of Innovation Roundtable

  • Connect, grow, and strengthen the innovation investment ecosystem in the Pacific Northwest region.
  • Advise on university-wide innovation strategy and initiatives.
  • Help foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship across campus.
  • Inform best practices in commercialization and innovation, including licensing and IP practices.
  • Assist with business development strategy for new initiatives.
  • Advocate for the role the UW plays within the greater Seattle regional innovation ecosystem.

Roundtable members

Innovation Roundtable members serve as UW innovation ambassadors in the broader community, providing connections and ideas that may further the university’s innovation strategies.

François Baneyx, director, CoMotion; UW vice provost for innovation

francois baneyx

François Baneyx is the Charles W.H. Matthaei Professor of Chemical Engineering and an adjunct professor of bioengineering. His research lies at the confluence of engineering, biology and nanotechnology. In addition to his role as director of CoMotion and Vice Provost for Innovation at the University of Washington, he currently directs the Center for the Science of Synthesis Across Scales, a multi-institution Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

He previously served in a number of leadership positions at UW, including site director of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network, director of the Center for Nanotechnology and most recently chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering. He is also the co-founder of Proteios, a UW spinoff. Baneyx is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences.
Baneyx earned a doctoral degree in chemical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, was a postdoctoral researcher at DuPont and joined the UW faculty in 1992.

Adriane Brown, venture partner, Flying Fish

adriane brown

Ms. Brown serves on the board of directors of eBay Inc, Allergan Plc, Raytheon, and Washington Research Foundation. She is chair of the board of directors at Pacific Science Center and is a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Visiting Committee. She is a Venture Partner with Flying Fish Partners, who invest capital, expertise and relationships in early stage startups with bold ideas and commit to seeing these companies thrive through series A and beyond (areas of focus are Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence).

Ms. Brown served as President and COO at Intellectual Ventures (IV) from 2010 to 2017. During her tenure at IV, the team delivered more than $3B in revenue, spun out 14 companies and joint ventures, closed more than 50 retail customers, and established Global Good and Research driving innovation in global health and development. Before joining IV, Ms. Brown was president and CEO of Honeywell Transportation Systems, serving car and truck manufacturers and automotive consumers worldwide. Under her management, this strategic business group experienced profitable growth through disciplined global expansion and innovative new products. During her prior 5 years at Honeywell, she led two global aerospace and defense businesses.

Ms. Brown spent 19 years at Corning, beginning her career as a shift supervisor gaining hands-on experience in operations. Her next roles spanned sales, customer service and product management. In 1999, she was appointed vice president and general manager of Corning’s Environmental Products Division, whose largest product line was catalytic converter cores and diesel particulate filters for vehicle manufacturers.

Ms. Brown has received many honors including Puget Sound Business Journal’s Director of the Year, University of Washington Women’s Center Woman of Courage, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award, and Woman of Achievement by Legal Momentum. She holds an honorary doctorate in humane letters and a bachelor’s degree in environmental health from Old Dominion University; and a master’s degree in management from Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she was a Sloan Fellow.

Neal Dempsey, managing general partner, Bay Partners

neal dempsey

Neal Dempsey is Managing General Partner of Bay Partners, one of the longest-running venture capital firms in Silicon Valley. Forbes has named him as one of the top 100 venture capitalists in the world. Throughout his career, Mr. Dempsey has served on over seventy-five public and private boards for companies. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.

Giving back is a cornerstone of Mr. Dempsey’s investing philosophy. In addition to being awarded the Gates Volunteer Service Award, he has endowed scholarship funds for students, young assistant professors and athletes at the University of Washington, Willamette University and Claremont McKenna College. He provided leadership for the Capital Campaigns for Dempsey Hall and Dempsey Indoor.

A lover of outdoors, Mr. Dempsey serves on the board of ACES, an environmental organization in Aspen, Colorado. He also is the Chair of Uplift Family Services, which helps over 30,000 children and their family members recover from trauma, such as abuse, severe neglect, addiction and poverty.

Chris DeVore, managing partner, Founders Co-Op

chris devore

Chris DeVore is Managing Partner of Founders’ Co-op, the Pacific Northwest’s leading seed-stage venture capital fund, and former Managing Director of Techstars Seattle, the region’s most selective startup accelerator.

Over the past decade Mr. DeVore has helped over 200 Pacific Northwest startups raise over $2 billion in investor capital. Previously a co-founder of Adjacency (acquired by Sapient, NASDAQ: SAPE) and Judy’s Book (backed by Mobius VC and Ignition Partners), he also created outdoor retailer Patagonia’s online retailing channel and led product and business strategy teams at AT&T and McCaw Cellular Communications. As a community volunteer, Mr. DeVore co-chaired the City of Seattle’s Economic Development Commission, partnered with the University of Washington to create Startup Hall (a commercial innovation space located on the UW Campus), and is a current Board member of Friends of Waterfront Seattle (a non-profit helping to revitalize Seattle’s downtown waterfront).

Mr. DeVore holds a BA from Yale and attended the MBA program at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

Emer Dooley, executive director, Alliance of Angels Seed Fund; Faculty Fellow, Foster School of Business

emer dooley

Emer Dooley is an adjunct faculty member at the UW Foster School of Business and teaches entrepreneurship and strategy. Through the Arthur W. Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, Ms. Dooley works to involve students in all aspects of company creation, technology commercialization and investment. She raised and ran the Alliance of Angels first $4.4 million dollar Seed Fund, and is a former board member of the Washington Research Foundation.

She is currently the Board Chair of the Ashesi University Foundation, and a member of the Women’s World Banking Board. Ms. Dooley holds a PhD and MBA from the University of Washington and a BSc (Electrical Engineering) and M. Eng from the University of Limerick.

Greg Gottesman, co-founder and managing director, Pioneer Square Labs

greg gottesman

Greg Gottesman is a Managing Director and Co-Founder of Pioneer Square Labs (PSL), a Seattle-based venture capital fund and studio. Prior to PSL, he served as one of the three initial Managing Directors of Madrona Venture Group, where he worked for almost 20 years. He also co-founded and led Madrona Venture Labs.

Mr. Gottesman represents PSL on the boards of Boundless, LumaTax, and NextStep. He is also the founder, current board member, and former CEO of Rover.com. Mr. Gottesman serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Washington Computer Science & Engineering department and the Foster School of Business, where he teaches a course on entrepreneurship. He is the author of three books.

Mr. Gottesman graduated Phi Beta Kappa with honors and distinction from Stanford University, with honors and distinction from the Harvard Business School, and with honors from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Mike Halperin, co-chair, UW General Campaign

mike halperin

Dr. Mike Halperin is a General Co-Chair of the University of Washington’s 5-billion-dollar campaign – Be Boundless / For Washington, For The World. Raised in Seattle, Dr. Halperin attended Brown University and the University of Washington, where he received his M.D. He practiced Emergency Medicine for 20 years during which time he ran a clinical practice and managed a group of Emergency Physicians.

Dr. Halperin is active in the bioscience start-up community as a Scientific Advisor, Corporate Advisor, Board member and investor. He is a Past President of Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences (SAAS) and was a founding member of numerous 501c3s.

Ron Howell, CEO, Washington Research Foundation

ron howell

Ronald Howell joined WRF in 1989 to execute the Foundation’s licensing strategy on Ben Hall’s platform technology expressing heterologous proteins in yeast. Becoming CEO of WRF in 1992, he led the WRF team through an expansion of the organization and its licensing programs. To date WRF licensing has earned more than $442 million for the University of Washington. The team’s licensing success puts WRF among the top-ranked technology-transfer organizations in the nation, supporting WRF’s grant-making activities and its startup investments through WRF Capital. WRF grant-making has provided over $94 million to Washington’s research institutions for the development and commercialization of STEM-based solutions to important areas of public need. WRF’s assets have grown from $13 million to around $250 million under Mr. Howell’s leadership.

WRF Capital, the Foundation’s venture investment arm, was formed in 1994 to invest in local early-stage STEM companies. WRF Capital’s investment managers have backed 98 companies, with approximately 60 exits and an active portfolio of 38 companies today. Returns support the Foundation’s grant-making programs.

Mr. Howell has served on a number of boards at the University of Washington, Washington State University, Fred Hutch and The W Fund. He holds a bachelor of science in biochemistry from Washington State University. Prior to joining WRF Mr. Howell was in medical sales and operations. In 2019, Mr. Howell received the Dean’s Award at the University of Washington College of Engineering’s Diamond Awards ceremony and was inducted into the Washington Life Science Hall of Fame.

Charlotte Hubbert, managing director of the Autism Impact Fund

charlotte hubbert

Charlotte Hubbert leads the Autism Impact Fund as its Managing Director. Previously she led the Gates Foundation Venture Capital initiative overseeing investments in innovative technologies that support the foundation’s programs in global health and agriculture. She currently serves on the board of directors of Synlogic, Sera Prognostics, Lodo Therapeutics, Agtech Accelerator, Vedanta, and Vir Biotechnology.

Prior to joining the foundation, she was a vice president at H.I.G. BioVentures, investing broadly in healthcare. Ms. Hubbert began her career in early stage biotech, investing at Accelerator Corporation, where she was part of the founding team and oversaw management of five companies: Oncofactor, Groove Biopharma, Acylin Therapeutics, Xori, and Pharmselex.

Ms. Hubbert earned a B.S. in microbiology from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. in pharmacology and cancer biology from Duke University for which she received the prestigious Harold Weintraub Award. She did her post-doctoral work in stem cells and regenerative medicine at the Institute for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at the UW. She is a member of the Kauffman Society of Fellows (Class 14) and serves on the BOD of Life Science Washington and the steering committee of the Fred Hutch Cancer Institute’s Evergreen Fund. Ms. Hubbert was recently honored as a Fierce Woman in Biopharma 2016 by FiercePharma, and as a leading Woman in Life Sciences 2016 by Life Science Washington.

Bill McAleer, founder and managing director, Voyager Capital

bill mcaleer

Bill McAleer is Managing Director at Voyager Capital, an early stage venture firm with over $525 million under management that is focused on investing in tech opportunities in the Pacific Northwest. He has over 30 years of combined investing and senior executive experience in the information technology industry. At Voyager, he has participated on the boards of 27 companies, including 21 portfolio companies, focusing on cloud, software, digital media and mobile opportunities. Fourteen of his portfolio companies were sold for exits including Amplitude, Attenex, Blue Box Group, Melodeo, NetPodium, Placecast, Tegic Communications and Yapta. Additionally, Mr. McAleer was a Director for Avocent (NASDAQ: AVCT), a public technology company acquired in late 2009 by Emerson for $1.2 billion. He has been involved in over $3.5 billion in exit transactions, including several IPO’s. He currently serves on the boards of AnswerDash, Rowan TELS, Thoughtexchange and Zipwhip.

Prior to co-founding Voyager in 1997, Mr. McAleer was President of e.liance Partners, a consulting firm that advised information technology companies on strategy, venture financing and corporate partnering. He served as Vice President of Finance, Chief Financial Officer and Secretary of Aldus from 1988 to 1994 when the company’s revenues grew from $30 to $240 million. Mr. McAleer was responsible for global finance, legal, operations, and acquisition activities, including completing the merger with Adobe in 1994. He also served as a senior executive with Westin Hotels from 1979 to 1987.

Mr. McAleer has been active in several university organizations, including serving as the past chair and a current member of the Advisory Board for the University of Washington Buerk Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He was also a Cornell University Trustee, and serves on the Advisory Boards for Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Business, the Cornell Hotel School, e.Cornell, and the Center for Entrepreneurship. He has also been active on a number of tech industry boards, including the Washington Technology Industry Association, Washington Technology Association, DEMO, the Canadian Financing Forum and Thayer Ventures. He earned a B.S. and an M.B.A. from Cornell University.

Matt McIlwain, managing director, Madrona Venture Group

matt mcilwain

Matt McIlwain is Managing Director of Madrona Venture Group and invests in a broad range of software-driven companies with a focus on cloud computing, intelligent applications and the intersection of the digital and physical world.

Mr. McIlwain is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and a board member of Washington Policy Center. Mr. McIlwain is a graduate of Dartmouth College and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Amit Mital, CEO and founder, Kernel Labs

amit mital

Amit Mital is a senior executive in the technology industry and a recognized leader in disruptive innovation. He is currently the founder and CEO of Kernel Labs, an incubator that is creating startups in the machine learning and big data space. His prior role was EVP/GM and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Symantec Corporation, the worldwide leader in cybersecurity. In his role as CTO, Mr. Mital was responsible for driving the company’s technology strategy with a focus on accelerating innovation, product development, and R&D. He joined Symantec after 20 years with Microsoft, most recently as the Corporate Vice President for the Startup Business Group, where he was responsible for managing strategic product development along with identifying and executing new innovation opportunities.

Mr. Mital earned an MS in Engineering from the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College and holds 43 patents.

Susan Preston, managing member, SeaChange Fund, Seattle Angel Fund, and Element 8 Fund

susan preston

Susan Preston is the Managing Partner of SeaChange Fund, committed to fostering entrepreneurial growth in the Pacific Northwest through early-stage investments. She is a globally recognized author, consultant and speaker on angel and venture financing. Ms. Preston has nearly 20 years of experience as an angel and venture investor, as well as in senior management of early-stage companies. She has held senior positions at private and public companies; been a partner in three law firms; served on the founding boards for Angel Capital Association and Angel Resource Institute; written two books on angel investing; and taught and consulted around the world on angel investing and early-stage investment structures.

Ms. Preston has received multiple accolades for her leadership, including the Angel Capital Association’s Hans Severiens award and U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell’s Women of Valor award. She has taught in the MBA program and was the Buerk Endowed Fellow for Entrepreneurship at the University of Washington. She received her JD, cum laude, from Seattle University School of Law and her BS, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, in Microbiology and Public Health from Washington State University.

Sheila Remes, vice president of strategy, Boeing Commercial Airplanes

sheila remes

Sheila Remes is vice president of Strategy for Commercial Airplanes and also leads Boeing’s Interiors vertical integration team. In these roles, she oversees cross-functional efforts to define Boeing’s strategic direction and address complex, enterprise-wide business decisions. These include greater life-cycle value for customers and internal capabilities for Boeing, growth opportunities such as services and intellectual property control, product and propulsion strategy, and environment and aviation policy. She is also responsible for international business development strategy and serves on the Boeing International leadership team.

With 30 years of industry experience, Ms. Remes brings a deep understanding of commercial aviation from manufacturing and airline perspectives. Previously, as director of Services Strategy for Commercial Airplanes, she developed, integrated and managed a Commercial Aviation Services growth strategy to capture new revenue and ensure that Boeing supports customers affordably.

As managing director of Sales Strategy, Ms. Remes was responsible for developing go-to-market sales approaches that enabled Commercial Airplanes to maximize sales opportunities. Her organization also sought to identify emerging customers and develop working relationships with key market influencers in the aviation consulting and financing world. The group worked across Commercial Airplanes and with Boeing Capital Corporation to help sales teams develop best practices and unique strategies for success. Earlier, she served as managing director of Regional Marketing for the Americas and Leasing and worked with the 777 Engineering and Americas Sales and Marketing Analysis teams.

Ms. Remes came to Boeing with experience at two airlines. At America West, she was responsible for airplane and component acquisition, airplane modification engineering, and flight operations engineering support. At United, she supported station reliability, schedule, inventory and pricing as well as regional promotions for new route development in the U.S. West. Outside of Boeing, she serves on the board of the Seattle World Affairs Council.

Linden Rhoads, former vice provost of the UW Center for Commercialization

linden rhoads

From 2008-2014, Linden Rhoads was Vice Provost for the UW Center for Commercialization (now known as CoMotion), the unit of the University that seeks to commercialize discoveries emerging from research conducted at the UW. A scientist and J.D., prior to this Ms. Rhoads was a serial entrepreneur, mentor capitalist, and investor.

Ms. Rhoads co-founded and managed numerous high-tech start-ups including: Virtual i-O, ChiliSoft (acquired by Sun Microsystems), streaming media-search-services provider Singingfish.com (acquired by Thomson Multimedia, then by AOL), online advertising metrics leader AdRelevance (acquired by Media Metrix, then Nielsen Netratings), personalized large-scale email-campaign software provider GBI (acquired by Exchange Applications) and Nimble Technology. Through her investment company Seattle Ventures, she’s been an active technology investor, and a participant in organized angel investment groups such as the Alliance of Angels and Element 8. She has served as the General Manager of the W Fund since its inception. The W Fund backed 19 spin-outs from Washington State research institutions. Ms. Rhoads serves on the Guaranteed Education Tuition Program Governing Board, overseeing Washington’s GET and DreamAhead 529 tuition savings programs.

Bryan White, founder, Sahsen Ventures

bryan white

Bryan White is co-founder of Sahsen Ventures, which invests in and supports mission-driven enterprises focused on life sciences, education, social justice and the environment. Mr. White was co-founder and chief investment officer of Quadra/Quellos and subsequently BlackRock Alternative Advisors.

He currently serves on the boards of Pomona College, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Friends of Camp Gallagher. Mr. White is a member of the University of Washington Investment Company and an Advisory Board Member of The Institute for Protein Design and The Brotman Baty Institute for Precision Medicine. He holds degrees from Pomona College and the University of Chicago.

Julie Sunderland, managing director, BioMatics Capital

julie sunderland

Prior to co-founding Biomatics Capital Partners in 2016, Ms. Sunderland was director of Program Related Investments for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She led the foundation’s $1.5 billion strategic investment pool, which focused on global health, global development and education. She funded 50 investments, including 30 in health care, and built a team of 10 investment professionals.

Ms. Sunderland also chaired Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s investment committee, which reviews all program-related investments. Prior to that role, she advised foundations, development finance institutions and governments on venture capital, SME financing and technical assistance programs. Ms. Sunderland holds a BA from Harvard University, an MBA from Wharton Business School and an MA from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Ms. Sunderland sits on the Board of Directors for several of Biomatics’ portfolio companies including Aledade, BlackThorn, eGenesis and Verana.

Tachi Yamada, venture partner, Frazier Healthcare Partners

Tachi Yamada

Dr. Tadataka (Tachi) Yamada is a Venture Partner with Frazier Healthcare Partners and is a Director at Accelerator Life Science Partners. Prior to joining Frazier he was Executive Vice-President, Chief Medical & Scientific Officer and a Board Member of Takeda Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Yamada has served as President of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Health Program. In this position, he oversaw grants totaling more than $9 billion in programs directed at applying technologies to address major health challenges of the developing world including TB, HIV, malaria and other infectious diseases, malnutrition and maternal and child health. He was formerly Chairman, Research and Development and a Member of the Board of Directors of GlaxoSmithKline and before that he was Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine and Physician-in-Chief at the University of Michigan Medical Center.

Dr. Yamada holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Stanford University and obtained his M.D. from New York University School of Medicine. In recognition of his contributions to medicine and science he has been elected to membership in the National Academy of Medicine (US), the Academy of Medical Sciences (UK) and the National Academy of Medicine (Mexico) and he has received an honorary appointment as Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE). He is a Past-President of the Association of American Physicians and of the American Gastroenterological Association and he has served as a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and the Advisory Committee to the Director of the National Institutes of Health. He is currently Vice Chair of the Council of the National Academy of Medicine and serves on the Board of Directors of the Clinton Health Access Initiative.

Ex-officio members

Ana Mari Cauce, UW president

ana mari cauce

A member of the UW faculty since 1986, Cauce became interim president in March 2015, having previously served as provost and executive vice president, and the UW Board of Regents selected her to become the UW’s 33rd president in 2015.

Throughout her career, Cauce has championed access to higher education, including through the Husky Promise, which provides full tuition to eligible Washington students who otherwise could not attend college. As part of her strong belief in ensuring access to higher education for all, just one month into her role as interim president she engaged students in an honest discussion about race and equity, launching an effort to create a more just and diverse community.

Raised in Miami after emigrating with her family from Cuba, Cauce earned a B.A. in English and psychology from the University of Miami and a Ph.D. in psychology, with a concentration in child clinical and community psychology, from Yale University.

Cauce is a professor of Psychology and American Ethnic Studies, with secondary appointments in the Department of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies and the College of Education. She maintains an active research program, focusing on adolescent development, with a special emphasis on at-risk youth. She is also a strong advocate for women and underrepresented minorities to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Cauce remains active in the classroom and continues to teach and mentor undergraduate and graduate students.

Mark Richards, UW provost

mark richards

Mark Richards joined the University of Washington as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs on July 1, 2018. A geophysicist, Richards also holds a faculty appointment in the College of the Environment’s Department of Earth and Space Sciences. As provost, he is the University’s chief academic and budget officer.

Richards came to the UW from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was professor of Earth and Planetary Science. While at Berkeley, he served as dean of mathematical and physical sciences, and simultaneously as executive dean of the College of Letters and Science. For his work on racial, ethnic, and gender diversity in the STEM fields, Richards received Berkeley’s two highest awards for promoting equity and inclusion. His research is focused on dynamic processes in the interior of the Earth and the terrestrial planets, and how these processes affect geological phenomena such as plate tectonics and volcanic eruptions. His work includes observational, experimental and computational methods. Richards is currently leading an international team exploring the enormous Deccan Traps volcanic eruptions in India 66 million years ago, which coincided with the great Chicxulub (Yucatán, Mexico) meteor impact and the mass extinction that killed the dinosaurs.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, Richards earned his masters in applied physics and a Ph.D. in geophysics from Caltech, followed by a postdoc at the Australian National University. He served on the faculties of the University of Oregon and, in 1993, at the UW.