For over a decade, the Connecticut Technology Council’s (CTC) Annual Women of Innovation© Awards has been the premier event in Connecticut celebrating women who have made significant contributions in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). In the entrepreneurship category, the awards committee looks for women who have taken great personal and financial risk to found their own companies, and judges the nominations on Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Leadership. Considering these criteria, it came as no surprise to see that the 2016 entrepreneurship category was dominated by a slate of honorees who are all Connecticut Small Business Development Center (CTSBDC) portfolio companies.
Historically, many women who have been honored at this prestigious event have gone on to raise millions of dollars for their startups, and made the proverbial ‘dent in the universe’ in the innovation landscape. In the words of Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman,
These women have broken through the glass ceiling. And not only have they broken through it — they are keeping it open for other women to come through.
The CTSBDC entrepreneurs honored at the latest awards are working on an astonishing array of products ranging from Elidah’s medical device for treating stress urinary incontinence (a condition that effects 1 in 3 women and costs the U.S. Healthcare Industry $20bn/year), to BioArray’s genetically driven cancer treatment selection, that can send a breast cancer patient directly to the chemotherapy that will work best for her, save 6 months of unnecessary exposure to a toxic, ineffective therapy, and increase her chance of survival (precision medicine at its best).
Their innovations and discoveries have also led to the creation of MIFCOR’s new drug that will reduce tissue death after heart attacks (a leading killer worldwide that accounts for 1 in 4 deaths in the U.S.) and GestVisions’s diagnostic for PreEclampsia (the #1 life-threatening condition of pregnancy that keeps OB’s up at night worrying). In fact, it was Nicole Bucala who won the top award in the entrepreneurship category for her heart attack therapeutic.
Also, after being nominated by the CTSBDC and honored at the Women of Innovation awards, Wendy Davis, CEO of GestVision, went on to win the prestigious U.S. Patent Office “Patents for Humanity’ award, alongside major organizations like the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Case Western Reserve University. Wendy credits her CTSBDC advisor for being the first to point out this opportunity and encourage her to apply.
Dr. Irina Buhimschi invented the GestVision technology while at Yale University. Dr. Buhimschi and Wendy met when Wendy was doing her MBA at the Yale School of Business, and the two decided to collaborate to turn Dr. Buhimschi’s research into a commercializable product.
All of these businesses require significant venture capital to complete their trials, gain approval from the FDA, and ultimately move to commercialization.
This is where the expertise of CTSBDC Technology Business Advisor, Patty Meagher, comes into play. Her background as an Angel Investor, a Principal at a VC firm and a Global Advisory Board member of Astia (an organization that provides capital, connections and guidance to women entrepreneurs) place her in a unique position to help startups navigate the choppy seas of fundraising. In Meagher’s words,
It is a real privilege to work with such an ambitious, intelligent and truly exceptional group of women. These entrepreneurs will not only create great economic value for their investors and our State; their innovations will improve and save millions of lives.
In fact, the women in Meagher’s portfolio have raised over $25MM in venture capital over the past three years, an extraordinary amount, especially considering national averages (women only receive about 10% of the venture capital deployed each year nationally).
“I am so proud of the work they are doing,” Meagher declares, “and I feel honored that they trust me to be part of their extended teams.”
The deep consideration, belief and individual attention she pays to each project are apparent in the results she cultivates with each team of movers and shakers. Identifying the entrepreneurs that are truly going to ‘move the needle’ both economically and scientifically is as much of an art as a science. After many years of evaluating startups, Meagher has gotten very good at recognizing teams that have the ability to execute and get to the finish line.
This year is shaping up to be another active year for the clients in Patty’s CTSBDC portfolio, with millions of dollars in funding set to close imminently, and products moving rapidly towards commercialization.
As one might have guessed, she is also preparing a nomination for the 2017 Women of Innovation Awards set for March.Go Back