Launched in January 2020, the Texas Innovation Center (TxIC) creates and fosters a community for collaborative research and entrepreneurship in support of technology commercialization for the University of Texas at Austin.
Serving as UT Austin’s venture studio for launching engineering and scientific (STEM) discoveries and technologies to market, the TxIC does this by providing entrepreneurship education, startup resources, network, and innovation funding to all faculty, graduate students, and postdocs from all 18 colleges across campus (including 12,000 graduate students and 3,500 teaching faculty).
At the core of the Texas Innovation Center sits one of its greatest strengths- its leadership team. Executive Director Dr. Van Truskett and Managing Director Ashley Jennings both come from very different, diverse backgrounds; each one bringing with them years of company creation and startup growth expertise.
Dr. Truskett is an award-winning Chemical Engineer who revolutionized the nanoimprint lithography industry by enabling nanoscale manufacturing in semiconductors, hard disk drives, and flexible films for display applications. She holds 71 patents (15 U.S. and 56 international) that have guided the design and manufacturing for nanoimprinting, and played a critical role in raising $150M in venture capital for Molecular Imprints, acquired by Canon in 2014.
Ashley Jennings is a former network news field producer turned award-winning entrepreneur and operator who helped co-found Texas’ first diversity-focused technology accelerator for women and ethnically diverse tech founders. To date, 73 companies and 100 founders have gone through the program, raising a combined $14M. Over 422 jobs have been created, generating more than $4.8M in revenue.
Both have started companies and played active mentor roles in the Austin Startup Ecosystem; bringing with them allies and partners from the City of Austin, Austin Chamber of Commerce, SXSW, co-working spaces, accelerators, and incubators from across the country.
Together, Van and Ashley are able to provide University of Texas at Austin companies deeply technical feedback, market analysis, and education around investor readiness. They currently serve a portfolio of 40+ startups founded by faculty and graduate students, 33% of which are ran by women and 12% are ran by historically underrepresented groups, spanning across 10 industries (including Alternative Energy, Advanced Materials, Biotech, CPG, Data Analytics, AI/ML, Agribusiness, Healthcare, Robotics, SaaS, Sensor Tech and more).