Neurotech Entrepreneurs Workshop

A Look Back at Our First Workshop

A huge thank you to our organizers, sponsors, and speakers/mentors/judges for a very successful event that inspired and empowered the next generation of entrepreneurs in neurotech.  The selected 30 students from 7 countries were immersed in a mix of short presentations, panel discussions, and mentored breakout sessions that covered key topics related to startup creation and commercialization.  Invited speakers from key stakeholder groups in the neurotech innovation community offered advice and shared stories of their experiences. The workshop culminated with the presentation of a funding pitch by the students to keep the event focused on applying lessons learned.  Abundant knowledge was transferred and many bonds were formed during the workshop.  Download the full program and read an article written by our host, ASU, to learn more about the workshop.

Want to be inspired?  Watch the recorded workshop presentations on 


Goal: To inspire, empower, and connect aspiring entrepreneurs in neural engineeringNeurotech Entrepreneur Workshop

Graduate trainees (Masters, PhDs, Post-Doctorate, Medical) are invited to apply to the Neurotechnology Entrepreneurship Workshop hosted in Phoenix, Arizona from December 13-15, 2019. This workshop will provide intensive and rigorous training in the areas of: ideation, market analysis, customer and stakeholder analysis, intellectual property, regulatory affairs, reimbursement, valuation, and fundraising. As part of this workshop, students will be given challenges prevalent in the neurotechnology industry and will present their startup solutions to industry leaders.  Additionally, students will be given the opportunity to network with industry and academic leaders in the neurotechnology field.

On this page:

Organizers: Arizona State University, IEEE Brain, NSF IUCRC BRAIN Center, University of Houston, University of Pittsburgh
Local Host: Arizona State University School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, Phoenix, Arizona
Dates: December 13-15, 2019

Application deadline: September 1, 2019 Extended to September 15, 2019 Registration is now closed.
Acceptance notices: October 1, 2019
Commitments: October 15, 2019

Enrollment in this workshop will be limited to 30 trainees. International student applications welcome.

Registration fees: FREE. Students admitted into the program will be provided with 2 nights lodging at the conference hotel (Residence Inn Tempe) and meals will be provided at the event.

Travel costs: Students are responsible for travel costs. Reimbursements for a portion of travel expenses may be provided on a case by case basis, depending on availability.

Please address questions to


Since the launch of the BRAIN initiative in 2013, public awareness of the burden and complexity of neurological disease has increased. This spotlight has attracted new researchers and trainees from many fields to study neuroscience and neural engineering, many of whom have been inspired to develop innovative technology and techniques for diagnosing and treating diseases of the nervous system. The opportunity to create new technologies that will significantly impact society has also attracted high-profile entrepreneurs, seeking to bring disruptive neurotechnologies to mainstream markets.  Additionally, companies like GSK, Verily (Alphabet/Google), Neuralink, Kernel, and others are making major investments in neurotechnology, further accelerating growth in the number and variety of neurotechnology startup companies in the US and around the globe.

Many of the new innovation leaders in the neurotech startup world are people fresh out of graduate school or post-doctoral training positions. While many trainees may entertain thoughts of entrepreneurship, the classic university lab offers little preparation for such pursuits. Moreover, the professional networking opportunities afforded by most scientific conferences are typically limited to academic scientists rather than entrepreneurs.

The target audience for this workshop includes graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and other early-career professionals in the neuroscience and neural engineering fields; the goal is to inspire and empower those with aspirations of becoming an entrepreneur. Workshop facilitators will include leaders representing key stakeholder groups in the neurotechnology innovation ecosystem, including professional societies (IEEE), academia, government, and small and large companies.

Enrollment in this workshop will be limited to 30 trainees.


Arizona State University School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering
Phoenix, Arizona


Jimmy Abbas, Ph.D. 
School of Biological and
Health Systems Engineering
Arizona State University

Matt Angle, Ph.D. 
Founder & CEO
Paradromics, Inc.

Emily Caporello
Scientific Program Manager
National Institute of Neurological
Disorders and Stroke

Jose Carmena, Ph.D.
UC Berkeley

James Cavuoto
Editor and Publisher
Neurotech Reports

Andrew Cornwell, Ph.D.
Associate Director
Case Coulter Translational
Research Partnership

Greg Gage, Ph.D.
CEO and Co-founder
Backyard Brains.

James Goulka
Chairman & Managing Director
of Arizona Tech Investors
Board Member of Angel
Capital Association

Robert J. Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D.
Alfred Mann Foundation

Amy A. Kruse, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer
Platypus Institute

Ana Maiques

Dan Rizzuto, Ph.D.
Nia Therapeutics, Inc.

Erika Ross, Ph.D.
Director, Applied Research
Abbott Neuromodulation

Kyle Siegal, M.S., J.D.
Chief Patent Counsel
Skysong Innovations

Jesus Soriano, Ph.D.
NSF Partnerships for Innovation

Althea Stillman, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Life Sciences
IP Group Inc.

William (Jamie) Tyler
Associate Professor
School of Biological and
Health Systems Engineering
Arizona State University

Eric Van Gieson, Ph.D.
Biological Technologies Office

Cristin Welle, Ph.D.
University of Colorado
Departments of Neurosurgery
and Physiology & Biophysics

Program at a Glance

Friday, December 13, 2019 (evening reception)

  • Welcoming remarks
  • Group Assignments and Challenges Announced
  • Elevator Pitches

Saturday, December 14, 2019
Panel Sessions & Workshops 

  1. “From Benchwork to Boardrooms” Seminars
    • Commercialization of Academic Technology
      • Intellectual Property Protection
      • Licensing Technology from a University
      • Regulatory and Reimbursement processes
    • Building your Business
      • Lean Startup Method
      • Importance of Stakeholder Analysis, Competitive Analysis and Customer Discovery
      • Recruiting the Right Talent (You might not be the best candidate for CEO)
  2. Lessons Learned Entrepreneurship Panel
  3. Lunch
  4. Breakout Sessions with Mentors
    • Stakeholder Analysis – Who does the problem affect?
    • Solution and Value Proposition
    • Business Model Canvas
    • Pitch Development
  5. Dinner & Networking Reception

Sunday, December 15, 2019
Panel Sessions & Presentations 

    1. Commercialization Pathways and Funding Opportunities
      • Government (NIH, NSF, DoD)
        • SBIR/STTR grants
        • NSF I-Corps
      • Angel / VC Funding
    2. Lunch
    3. Presentations
    4. Closing Remarks
      • Winners announced



  • Doug Weber, Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh
  • Marco Santello, School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering,NSF IUCRC BRAIN, Arizona State University
  • Pepe Contreras Vidal, Electrical and Computer Engineering, NSF IUCRC BRAIN, University of Houston

IEEE Brain Representatives

  • Sin-Kuen Hawkins, IEEE Brain Program Manager
  • Grace Rigdon, IEEE Brain Conferences Chair

Student Program Chairs

  • Simone Rodriguez, University of Pittsburgh
  • Dorian Haci, Imperial College London
  • Alex Steele, University of Houston
  • Nicholas Hools, Arizona State University

Outreach Chair

  • Jo Jo Platt, Platt & Associates

Local Event Coordinator 

  • Wendy Johnson, School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, Arizona State University





facebook Reality Labs