The University of California San Diego has announced the four newest members of its Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR) program. They include an exciting cohort of business leaders with expertise ranging from life sciences and alternative energy to social entrepreneurship and technology. UC San Diego’s 2018-2019 Entrepreneurs in Residence are Raksha Shah, Rick Cooper, George Eiskamp and Ashok Kamal.
The EIR program was launched by the Office of Innovation and Commercialization (OIC) in 2015 as part of the university’s goal to create a vibrant innovation ecosystem on campus and take the global lead in research-based entrepreneurship. The program places experienced entrepreneurs “in residence” on campus, making them available to faculty and students who need help turning their ideas into viable startups.
Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla emphasized the importance of providing mentorship to young entrepreneurs: “At UC San Diego, we want our students to have the courage to take their research or ideas and create products and services that benefit society. That kind of courage often comes when they feel supported and can benefit from a network of experienced mentors like our Entrepreneurs in Residence.”
All EIRs have successfully launched and/or invested in startups. Each is an expert within a specific domain and will offer valuable insight and experience. The appointed EIRs have the demonstrated ability to work productively with engineers, scientists, students and other innovators to identify and solve problems; and possess business acumen and industry experience, particularly in early technology commercialization, new-venture creation, and fundraising—areas where novice entrepreneurs often need the most help.
Paul Roben, Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Commercialization, praised the incoming EIRs, saying, “We greatly appreciate the time that our Entrepreneurs in Residence have committed to developing a culture of innovation on our campus. Their commitment and expertise coupled with the dedication of our faculty and students gives us a meaningful way to bring campus innovation to the world.”
Although the EIRs have latitude to shape their residency as they see fit, they are expected to engage with faculty and student inventors, providing their own unique perspectives on entrepreneurship. They will also provide input on UC San Diego’s business accelerators and entrepreneurial hubs, including the Basement, Rady School of Management’s Veteran Ventures, and Accelerating Innovation to Market (AIM), as well as regional events such as Ignite. There will also be a range of lectures, workshops and panel discussions hosted throughout the school year.
Entrepreneurs in Residence will have access to a suite of tools, resources and services to help make their time here as impactful as possible. This includes OIC personnel support and access to innovation-related data, connections to principal investigators and leadership councils, and access to industry partners as well as special events.
Vice Chancellor for Research Sandra A. Brown feels that this program is another way UC San Diego provides its students unique opportunities to grow that don’t exist on other campuses. “We have found a novel way to further leverage the assets that already exist on campus by bringing in outside expertise. We know our latest cohort of remarkable Entrepreneurs in Residence will find innovative and exciting avenues to support our students and faculty in their startup endeavors.”
The 2018-2019 Entrepreneurs in Residence
Raksha Shah is a proven life science and technology business leader with a track record of success facilitating change and development within a rapidly growing organization. She has held leadership positions in pharmaceutical companies including Sterling Drug, GlaxoSmithKline, Ciba-Geigy and Novartis, as well as in multiple technology and biotech startups. Shah’s current company, Obsidio Therapeutics, is focused on developing novel small-molecule drugs that provide sustainable treatment for hard-to-treat cancers.
Most of Rick Cooper’s work has been in automotive, consumer electronics and portable power. Cooper has worked in joint venture or collaborative relationships with most of the world’s leading companies in those sectors including Ford, Mercedes Benz, General Motors, Samsung, Panasonic, Lenovo, Intel and NEC. He is a board member and treasurer of Tech Coast Angels, and is CEO of MANTA Instruments, which manufactures scientific instruments capable of characterizing nanoparticles more effectively than existing products.
As a social entrepreneur, Ashok Kamal is driven to attack our biggest global challenges, including education, environmental degradation, and health and wellness. His entrepreneurial path includes bootstrapping to profitability, winning award money in the world's most prestigious business plan competition, raising money from accelerators and venture capitalists, and angel investing in technology startups. Additionally, he’s contributed numerous articles and interviews to technology and business websites such as VentureBeat, Forbes and Fast Company.
George Eiskamp is a technology entrepreneur who has brought new science and sensor systems to market in multiple industries. He is CEO and co-founder of GroundMetrics Inc., a company advancing electromagnet sensor and data science technologies for the energy sector. Eiskamp has raised over $10M in angel financing and negotiated exclusive licenses with some of the world’s largest companies and research institutions. He received his M.A. from UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy in 2003.
To contact the Entrepreneurs in Residence, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.