Foundry Adds Business-Building Experts

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The Purdue Foundry has named four Entrepreneurs-in-Residence. They include business and venture capital executives who will help entrepreneurs with steps including creating business plans and securing investments.

February 24, 2015

News Release

West Lafayette, Ind. -- Entrepreneurs at Purdue University now have access to more than a dozen experts to help them complete several steps in commercializing their innovations, including financial modeling, creating business plans and securing investments.

Mark D. Cisneros, Mike Shepard, Amanda Thompson and Brian Wolff have been named Entrepreneurs-in-Residence at the Purdue Foundry, an entrepreneurship and commercialization hub in Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, 1201 W. State St., West Lafayette. Cisneros's, Shepard's and Wolff's positions are funded through a partnership between the Purdue Foundry and Elevate Ventures. They join John Hanak, Tim Peoples and Mike Zentner, current entrepreneurs-in-residence, and other Purdue Foundry experts.

Greg Deason, executive director of the Purdue Foundry and Purdue Research Park, said the experts form a dynamic, seasoned team.

"It takes a lot of hard work and coordination for entrepreneurs to found their company. By adding these professionals to the Purdue Foundry team in place, I believe we are poised to provide Purdue innovators with the help and guidance they need to take their companies to the next level," he said. "Each individual brings a specific skill set to the team including developing business plans, financial modeling, funding and leadership, and their expertise will be a tremendous asset for the startups working with us."

Cisneros currently is chairman and CEO of Nutrabiotix LLC, which is commercializing a patent-pending designer fiber. He will assess where Purdue Foundry clients are in the commercialization process and help them earn certifications so they can license Purdue intellectual property.

"The Purdue Foundry has a good start on the process of developing startup companies. I'll plug into that front end and expand upon it as I follow the companies through the pipeline," he said. "It's very gratifying to work with the Purdue Foundry team members, whom I've worked with in a different capacity in the past."

Mike Shepard currently is with Elevate Ventures and serves as the CEO of Rene Medical Inc., which is developing a medical device for the treatment of acute kidney injury. He will work with clients to create the investor documents and stories to obtain customers, investors, employees or mentors.

"I love startups and working with new technologies," he said. "I enjoy being around the clients and colleagues at Purdue Foundry. They are engaged in the process of developing startups and are excited about commercializing their ideas."

Thompson currently is CFO of Nutrabiotix. She will focus on financial modeling, valuing and financial planning with clients.

"The Purdue Foundry is able to respond to the diverse needs of the innovators who walk through the door. We have access to many resources to coach new firms as they undertake the monumental task of commercialization," she said. "I am excited to join a team that enables the brilliant minds locally and at Purdue to take their technology from lab to life with the legacy of a meaningful impact on society."

Wolff previously was co-founder and vice president of client development for Bluelock LLC. He will help Purdue faculty, staff and students build business plans and go-to market strategies around the innovations they have discovered and developed in university research facilities.

"I am impressed with the collaborative environment at Purdue Foundry," he said. "I wholeheartedly support the Purdue Foundry's and Purdue Research Foundation's vision of commercializing Purdue intellectual property by matching people who have real-world business experience with Purdue's innovative research."

About Purdue Foundry

The Purdue Foundry is an entrepreneurship and commercialization hub in Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship whose professionals help Purdue innovators create startups. The Purdue Foundry is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2014 Incubator Network of the Year from the National Business Incubation Association for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at

Source: Purdue University