The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation recently kicked off an innovative series of discussions that gathers influential experts each Friday to provide insights on emerging trends on a different industry or topic.
The Entrepreneurial Outlook breakfast series is inspired by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business’ world-renowned Economic Outlook event, a forum for thought leaders in economics to share their insights and analyses with a global audience. It is also part of an ongoing effort by the Polsky Center to engage with and support Chicago-area entrepreneurs to promote a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The kickoff event on Jan. 18 featured five entrepreneurs and venture capitalists discussing emerging issues in the health care industry—and how technology will help solve them. Future discussions will focus on therapeutics, civtech, fintech, energy and artificial intelligence.
The health care discussion included Imran Ahmad, MBA’16, AB’06, a principal at OCA Ventures; Gary Conkright, MBA’82, CEO of physIQ; Jordan Dolin, founder of Furthur Fund; Stacy Lindau, AM‘02, founder of NowPow and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Chicago; and Dipa Mehta, MBA’12, former managing director at Sandbox Industries and an adjunct professor at Chicago Booth. The session was moderated by Melissa Byrn, MS‘17, director of innovation programs at the Polsky Center.
Before the panel, six Chicago-area entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas—ranging from the development of novel biomedical monitoring technologies to health visualization software. Many of their businesses were born at the Polsky Center, which since 1996 has helped launch more than 230 startup companies and is home to the top university accelerator program in the country—the Edward L. Kaplan, ‘71, New Venture Challenge.
Former Chicago Booth students Brian Bettenhausen, AB’06, and Nate Pelzer, MBA’15, were the two of the startup founders who pitched their company to the panelists and packed audience. Their company Clinify leverages data to support providers and improve the health of patients. In the past year, they frequented the Polsky Center to brainstorm and work on their product.
“We have been members of the Polsky Center since the ideation phase of our startup for the last six months,” said Pelzer. “Both of us are Booth alums, and we learned about Polsky from our time there. Once we decided that we wanted to launch our product, this event was the first step we made.”