Chicago Innovation Mentors to Become Part of MATTER

iBIO Institute’s PROPEL and MATTER to also increase collaboration to accelerate healthcare innovation

Health technology incubator MATTER, Chicago Innovation Mentors (CIM) and the PROPEL Center of the iBIO Institute announced today that CIM will become a part of MATTER, bringing the 5-year-old mentoring program under the umbrella of MATTER, which opened in February to help accelerate entrepreneurship and innovation in healthcare IT, medical device, medical diagnostics and biopharma technologies. Additionally, MATTER and the iBIO Institute will partner to integrate support for early stage companies served by both organizations.

The move connects MATTER and its member companies with CIM’s network of 200 seasoned mentors and the deal pipeline of CIM’s founding research institutions, which represent over $2 billion of annual research activity. CIM’s mentors will be able to connect with a broader pool of ventures, while CIM mentees will have access to the extensive resources of both programs. The combination of MATTER and CIM, and the increased collaboration with the iBIO Institute, significantly strengthens the Chicago region’s ability to support inventors and entrepreneurs developing new healthcare technologies.

CIM was formed in 2010 as a consortium of the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, the University of Illinois, the iBIO Institute and Argonne National Laboratory. The organization has received considerable support from the Chicago Biomedical Consortium. Ventures from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and Northern Illinois University have also participated in the program, as have several from Canada as part of a program with the Canadian Consulate General.

Since its launch, CIM has demonstrated a unique ability to accelerate the commercialization of complex R&D-based technologies. More than 150 ventures have participated in CIM’s team-based mentoring program, which was modeled on the successful MIT Venture Mentoring Service. CIM ventures have raised over $46 million in grants and investments. Examples include Briteseed, also a PROPEL company, which is commercializing technology from Northwestern University that makes surgeon’s tools smarter, and Quant HC, which uses technology developed at the University of Chicago that helps detect a patient’s clinical deterioration hours or days in advance of current methods.

MATTER, which launched in early 2015, aligns industry leaders, research universities, health systems and entrepreneurs to accelerate the formation and growth of technology businesses that solve meaningful problems in healthcare. By becoming a part of MATTER, CIM-supported ventures will be able to utilize MATTER’s educational curriculum, partner network and workspace to further their development. In addition, the joint program is expected to attract ventures from an expanding group of research institutions that will become partners of MATTER. While CIM’s primary focus is healthcare, the program will continue to help accelerate select ventures developing other complex technologies, including advanced materials and energy storage.

The PROPEL Center of the iBIO Institute leads a number of programs aimed at increasing the number and success rate of early stage life sciences companies in Illinois. PROPEL has worked with more than 100 companies since its launch in 2007. Companies receive coaching from subject matter experts, investment preparation assistance, regulatory planning assistance, practice with investor panels and pitch sessions, and access to grant and milestone awards that may include equity investments. CIM and the PROPEL Center have often combined resources to assist mutual entrepreneur ventures and early stage companies.

“CIM brings to MATTER deep connections to some of the country’s strongest research institutions,” said MATTER CEO Steven Collens. “With the combination of CIM and MATTER, we expand our ability to unlock innovation and support entrepreneurship to solve big healthcare problems.”

“CIM’s success is in large measure a testament to its mentors’ commitment of time, the breadth of their expertise and their dedication to building Chicago’s entrepreneurial capabilities,” said Steve Gould, interim executive director of CIM, who will continue to lead the program within MATTER. “The CIM-MATTER combination will greatly enrich the range of ventures they can see and get involved with.”

“Having all three organizations joining together in a united and coordinated effort to support pre-company ventures and early stage companies represents the best opportunity to continue the growth of healthcare and biomedical companies throughout the region,” said Warren Ribley, president & CEO of the iBIO Institute. “We also welcome MATTER as a member of iBIO.”

The integration of CIM into MATTER will be completed in the coming months.

About CIM

The Chicago Innovation Mentors university consortium operates a structured, high-touch, team-based mentoring program, with a focus on mentee best interests, monthly meetings, and facilitated networking. Started as a pilot in 2010 with just 25 mentors, CIM has grown rapidly to a corps of 200 mentors, supporting a major need by bringing together experts in entrepreneurship and technology commercialization with new, early stage ventures emerging out of complex R&D in life sciences, materials science, computing and healthcare IT. CIM has become a model for productive collaboration among research institutions. For more information, visit


The PROPEL Center of the iBIO Institute helps guide the development of formation-stage and early stage life sciences companies by providing entrepreneurs with access to specialized resources and expertise to prepare them for early stage funding. Industry, academia, service professionals, entrepreneurs and government agencies connect to create and support a vibrant entrepreneurial community in Illinois and throughout the Midwest through PROPEL programs. For more information, visit


MATTER is a community of entrepreneurs, innovators and industry leaders working together to harness technology to improve health and healthcare. MATTER connects and promotes collaboration between entrepreneurs, scientists, physicians, investors and industry partners in order to bring next-generation products and services to market that improve quality of care and save lives. MATTER was developed by a team of entrepreneurs and industry leaders with the support of the state of Illinois. MATTER began as a project of ChicagoNEXT, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s council on technology and innovation, which is part of World Business Chicago. For more information, visit and follow @MATTERhealth.