Entrepreneur John Flavin is associate vice president for entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Chicago and leads the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
The Polsky Center, which was housed in Booth School of Business, expanded into a free-standing entity that includes all of the university’s innovation and entrepreneurship programs.
“We’re putting together 60 programs along the innovation pathway that pull together features that were represented by (the CIE, UChicagoTech and the Polsky Center),” he said. “Now we’re delivering it in a more organized and systematic way.”
Flavin served as executive director of the Chicago Innovation Exchange at the university, a startup hub that helped scholars and entrepreneurs turn their ideas into businesses and products, until July 2016, when he took his new role.
“In the last 10 years, there’s been more than 23 successful academic spinoffs in Illinois that have created very fruitful financial exits,” Flavin told Blue Sky. “Twenty of those 23 have come out of the University of Chicago.” Alums include GrubHub and Braintree.
He joined the center when it launched in 2013 after more than a decade as managing director of Flavin Ventures, a venture capital and management firm focused on creating life science companies.
Before that he was executive director of Chicago Innovation Mentors, a consortium of Illinois universities and research institutions that connects entrepreneurs with corporate mentors. He led the group from 2011 until joining the Chicago Innovation Exchange.
Flavin holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Marquette University and an MBA in finance from Lewis University.