Alumnus to lead new venture creation at LaunchTN
Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN), a public-private partnership focused on supporting the development of high-growth businesses in Tennessee, has named Jim Stefansic as the organization’s new Commercialization Director.
Stefansic, who earned a master’s and a doctorate in biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt, will be responsible for LaunchTN’s commercialization efforts and improving Tennessee’s technology-focused new venture creation.
Prior to joining the organization, Stefansic co-founded Pathfinder Therapeutics, Inc., an image-guided surgery company that grew out of his research at Vanderbilt. He was involved in every facet of the business, from research and development to financial management and pricing.
“Jim brings significant entrepreneurial experience in commercializing technologies and raising venture capital that will offer great perspective for the future of LaunchTN,” said president and CEO Charlie Brock in a March news release.
“One of my five-year goals is to seed more businesses from technology transfer,” Stefansic said in an interview on Southern/alpha, an online news site covering Nashville’s technology transfer startup market. Stefansic said he is excited by the opportunity to help increase the momentum of innovation in Tennessee by converting scientific and technological advances into marketable goods or services.
About $2.5 billion in sponsored research is done at academic institutions and national laboratories in Tennessee, according to a LaunchTN annual report in 2012. One of Stefansic’s roles is to identify and address the challenges involved with the conversion of research developed in these institutions into high-growth businesses. He has traveled to most major technology transfer offices across the state to explore these challenges.
Stefansic’s goal aligns with state’s plan to make Tennessee the number one location in the Southeast for high-quality tech jobs. He hopes to build on previous efforts by LaunchTN, Vanderbilt and others to bring together entrepreneurs, investors and inventors in order to create jobs in state and foster economic growth.