Morning Edition opens with success


UNeMed's Idea Pub: Morning Edition

OMAHA, Nebraska (April 26, 2024)—UNeMed’s inaugural “Idea Pub: Morning Edition” yesterday brought together more than 50 innovators, investors, researchers, entrepreneurs and others from the local startup community to share ideas, contacts and insights in what planners described as an unqualified success.

The startup and entrepreneurial networking event featured brief comments from Charlie Cuddy, co-founder and managing partner of MOVE Venture Capital, and UNMC inventor and clinician, Jason Johanning, MD.

Charlie Cuddy

Charlie Cuddy

Cuddy is also executive director of the Nebraska Startup Academy, and MOVE is a pre-seed and seed venture capital firm focused on investing in Nebraska technology startup companies. The Nebraska Startup Academy is a non-profit mentoring program for startup founders, investors and the local entrepreneurial community.

“We do early-stage investing,” Cuddy said, “which is a huge gap we identified here in the Midwest.”

In the last 16 months, MOVE has invested in 20 new companies, 16 of which are Nebraska-based. Another 380 applied, but rather than turn them away empty-handed, those companies will receive or have received mentoring and guidance from the Nebraska Startup Academy, he said.

He added that he wanted to help more University innovators and entrepreneurs, and answer the question: “How do we get these great ideas at UNMC off the shelf and into the community,” he said.

Jason Johanning, MD (left), demonstrates his innovative frailty assessment tool to UNeMed board member Alexi Wellman during UNeMed’s Idea Pub: Morning Edition on April 25, 2024. Dr. Johanning’s innovation is the basis of his startup company, Automated Assessments.

Cuddy introduced Dr. Johanning as a seasoned clinical innovator and entrepreneur, who demonstrated his innovative device for assessing a patient’s ability to withstand the rigors of a surgical procedure. Dr. Johanning’s frailty assessment tool is the cornerstone of his startup company, Automated Assessments, and could gain FDA clearance as early as July, he said.

UNeMed, the technology transfer and commercialization office for UNMC and UNO, sponsored the event in the DRC II commons, which is planned as a regular monthly series. The series will continue to feature guest speakers from the Omaha entrepreneurial ecosystem; and will provide UNMC and UNO innovators an opportunity to build new partnerships and allies that can help develop their innovative ideas and discoveries into products that help people.

“Try to leave with at least one new contact today,” UNeMed president and CEO Michael Dixon, PhD, told the gathering. “Someone who can help guide you, someone who can answer questions.”

UNeMed’s Tyler Scherr, PhD, addresses the gathering during the inagural meeting of Idea Pub: Morning Edition on April 25, 2014. Dr. Scherr planned the event, which helped bring members of Omaha’s entrepreneurial community in touch with innovative researchers at UNMC.

UNeMed’s business development manager, Tyler Scherr, PhD, organized the event.

“We have a lot of founders here today, so there’s no excuse,” he said. “If you want to start something, talk to someone who has already started something.”

“UNO is represented here today,” Dr. Dixon told the crowd. “People are up here from Lincoln. We are one community and we really want to continue to collaborate as we build our medtech and biotech hub.”

Morning Edition will continue on the last Thursday of every month, featuring a new speaker each time. Each Morning Edition will also feature “Office Hours,” with MOVE and UNeMed. Office Hours creates the opportunity for faculty, students and staff to have one-on-one time with MOVE or UNeMed professionals to discuss new technologies or startup potential.

The next Morning Edition will be Thursday, May 30, at 9 a.m. The featured guest will be Josh Nichol-Caddy from the Nebraska Business Development Center, who will speak about the NBDC and their programs to help start companies.

Additional planned speakers in the coming months include:

  • Brent Clark, NSF I-Corps Great Plains Region Hub: Why you should’ve done customer discovery yesterday
  • Scott Henderson, NMotion: When should you apply to the NMotion accelerator?
  • Stephen Hug, UNeTech: Adventures in faculty/entrepreneur matchmaking
  • Ben Kuspa, Nebraska Department of Economic Development: Securing state matching funds & prototyping grants
  • Jay Lund, Catalyst: How you build a medtech startup ecosystem
  • Ben Walker, Innosphere: How you can benefit from a life sciences incubator program
  • Ben Williamson, Invest Nebraska: What are VCs looking for?

A more complete and detailed schedule will be released in the coming weeks.

Morning Edition is the latest addition to UNeMed’s growing suite of entrepreneurial networking events, which includes Innovations & Libations and Startup Showcase.

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