Book of Lists Newsmaker – General Business: Kimberly Gramm – New Orleans CityBusiness

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September 8, 2022 0
Kimberly Gramm is leading Tulane University in a new endeavor that, if successful, will tap into university talent to develop the region as a hub for technology and a breeding ground for startups.
In July, Gramm took over as chief of Tulane’s new multimillion-dollar Innovation Institute, an in-house tech and startup accelerator that aims to help university faculty, students and community innovators bring their discoveries and ideas to market.
As the university’s inaugural David and Marion Mussafer Chief Innovation and Entrepreneurship Officer, Gramm comes to Tulane with a proven track record for helping university technology and startups garner support and funding.
Since starting her academic career in 2008 after working as a corporate market strategist for UPS, Gramm has coached and mentored over 270 startup companies that, collectively, have been awarded over $457 million in commercialization grants and private seed capital. She founded accelerator programs at Florida Atlantic University and Texas Tech University.
The daughter of immigrants who fled Poland at the end of World War II, Gramm grew up learning to be passionate about the American dream.
“My role serves at the intersection of working with intellectual giants both in science and industry who are trying to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges,” she said.
Gramm has identified three core areas to lay a foundation for the institute’s programming: industrial engineering programs that leverage university resources and expertise, an innovation lab to expedite proof-of-concept and prototype funding, and a community accelerator to support and fuel local opportunities.
“Entrepreneurship is a full-contact sport,” Gramm said. “It requires perseverance, resilience, support, and a bit of luck. Success is building an Innovation Institute to spark and ignite the development of good ideas, resulting in value creation which can be measured in many ways.”
The Tulane Innovation Institute officially opened in June at Thirteen15, the sleek new residential and retail space at the university’s downtown campus. The institute’s goal is to attract over $100 million in startup investment capital through university research and regional entrepreneurs — while also promoting New Orleans as a dynamic place for startups to grow and thrive.
“Our plan is to commercialize, energize and vitalize,” Gramm said.
With that, Gramm has set out to help the institute educate and support entrepreneurs, license technologies, and create strategies for community and industry engagement opportunities that could transform the region while helping startups “build it here and stay here.”
“My hope is that faculty, students and entrepreneurs in the community can say the Innovation Institute is the ‘go-to place’ for all things startup related,” she said. “The Innovation Institute is dedicated to creating community around entrepreneurs — a safe environment to test their ideas, pivot products and technologies, and raise capital to scale their startup.”
Editor’s Note: This is one of 12 profiles of industry professionals published in the 2022-23 Book of Lists.
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