September 20, 2011 (Los Angeles, CA) – The USC Stevens Institute for Innovation today announced the appointment of Dr. Karen Kerr as Senior Director, New Ventures and Alliances. In her new role, Kerr leads a growing team that will actively pursue startup opportunities from USC discoveries and expertise while coordinating with resources on and off campus to create an environment at USC and beyond that is conducive to new ventures.
With more than 15 years experience building and investing in early stage companies, Kerr joins USC with an extensive background in university technology transfer, venture capital, intellectual property, and startups. She is the founder of Agile Equities, a venture development company specializing in emerging technology companies. Prior to that, she served as a Managing Director at ARCH Venture Partners and an Associate at both Patricof & Co Ventures and ARCH Development Corporation.
Kerr has also invested across a broad array of life sciences, information technology, telecommunications, and semiconductor companies, including Amberwave Systems, Silverstorm Technologies (NASDAQ: QLGC), Teach.com (Intellinex/E&Y), Ensemble Technologies, Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN) and Diversa (NASDAQ: VRNM).
Most recently, Kerr served as Director of Business Development, Targeted Acquisitions for Intellectual Ventures’ (IV) Invention Investment Fund. Previously she served as the US Head of Business Development for IV’s Invention Development Fund (IDF), where she forged numerous strategic relationships with university, government, and industry partners that expanded the IDF portfolio and diversified its acquisition channels.
Kerr is an active member of the advocacy and academic community. She is a director of the National Association of Seed and Venture Funds and a member of the National Science Foundation SBIR/STTR Advisory Committee, the National Institute of Standards and Technology Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology, and the Florida Technological Research and Development Authority Advisory Board. She serves on the Physical Sciences Division Visiting Committee at the University of Chicago and the Office of Technology Commercialization’s Industrial Advisory Board at Rutgers University. Kerr previously served as a trustee of Bryn Mawr College, director of the Chicago Public Education Fund, and as a senior advisor to Akoya Capital in Chicago. She is also member of the Charter Class of Kauffman Fellows. In 2000, Kerr was selected by Crain’s Chicago Business as one of the 40 under 40 leading business professionals in Chicago.
Kerr earned a PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Chicago and an AB in Chemistry from Bryn Mawr College.
About the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation
The USC Stevens Institute for Innovation (www.stevens.usc.edu) is a university-wide resource in the Office of the Provost at the University of Southern California that helps identify, nurture, protect, and transfer to the market the most exciting innovations from USC. It also provides a central connection for industry seeking cutting-edge innovations in which to invest. As part of this role, the USC Stevens Institute manages the university’s intellectual property portfolio stemming from its $560M annual research program. Furthermore, the USC Stevens Institute develops the innovator as well as innovations, through educational programs, community-building events, and showcase opportunities.