Rockstars Stars of Innovation
By Christian Braemer
Cofounder & CEO, Benefunder
I had the pleasure of participating in CONNECT's annual Rock Stars of Innovation for a fireside chat alongside Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute's Michael Jackson last week. One of the keynotes was given by our very own Kevin Murphy, and we heard from a host of San Diego industry leaders, like Diego Miralles, Head of Innovation for Janssen Labs; Jack Young, Senior Director, Qualcomm Ventures; and Keith Murphy, CEO of Organovo.
The focus of the event centered around innovations in regenerative medicine, wearable health, gene therapy, oncology, and nanotechnology that are taking place in San Diego. Two very profound things that struck me included the diversity, depth, and quality of work happening right in our own backyard; and the representation of researchers on Benefunder's platform, who made up the majority of the event's speakers.
These leading innovators are on the cusp of breakthrough discoveries and solutions that will greatly impact our world, from DNA-customized cancer care to 3D printing in regenerative medicine; modeling brain development and diseases; revolutionary applications in cancer therapy, immunotherapy, and vaccine development; nanotherapeutics for the treatment of infectious bacteria; and novel in-home diagnostic tools. They include:
It is humbling to see that so many top San Diego innovators have placed their trust in us to help reduce the innovation deficit by providing a new and more direct funding channel for research. It reminded me of the level of responsibility we have to help move these research causes forward since a breakthrough in any one of these areas would have a positive effect in all of our lives.
One of the things I pointed out during my discussion was the under representation of research funding in philanthropy (roughly 3%), and the inefficiencies that may contribute to that.
Traditional charities carry high overhead; private foundations can be expensive and time consuming to manage; community foundations focus locally; and it's difficult for individuals to have a meaningful impact despite the fact that they make up roughly 80% ($240 billion) of all giving.
We hope that by providing a streamlined solution for individuals, companies, and foundations to find, fund, and follow top innovators, we will have made a major impact, and in turn, help accelerate the growth of the entrepreneurial innovation economy in America.
To learn more about our Charitable Innovation Fund, please contact
Tom Paparatto at firstname.lastname@example.org.