Teri Willey to step down as IU Ventures’ managing director

Teri Willey

Teri Willey to step down as IU Ventures’ managing director

Willey has guided the successful development of the Indiana Philanthropic Venture Fund, which continues to propel new innovations and entrepreneurship across the Hoosier state

September 19, 2022

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Teri Willey, who has spearheaded the growth and development of several high-impact investment funds at IU Ventures, Indiana University’s early-stage venture and angel investment arm, will step down from her role as managing director of the university affiliate later this year.

Willey is a nationally recognized authority on the licensing and commercialization of scientific discoveries and innovations, as well as on establishing early-stage funds that invest in university-affiliated ventures. She returned to Indiana and joined IU in 2018 to initiate, launch and manage the Indiana Philanthropic Venture Fund, one of four major investment programs overseen by IU Ventures. The fund continues to bridge the gap in startup funding by making equity investments in high-potential early-stage companies with IU affiliations. Proceeds from successful investments are returned to the “evergreen” fund and subsequently used to support more new companies.

Teri Willey

The fund under management to support university-affiliated founders increased from $11 million to $16 under Willey’s leadership. It has also strengthened diversity in the leadership of companies that are part of IU Ventures’ portfolio; over half of the companies that have received investments from the fund since 2018 have under-represented founders or leaders in the C-suite. For this accomplishment, IU Ventures was recognized as the 2021 Investor of the Year at TechPoint’s annual Mira Awards gala, honoring the best of technology in the Hoosier state.

“Since joining Indiana University, Teri has been instrumental in helping IU be known as one of the most active venture capital investors in Indiana and the Midwest and elevating the university’s reputation as a major supporter of entrepreneurial faculty, students, staff and alumni,” said IU Vice President for Government Relations and Economic Engagement Bill Stephan. “By strategically steering crucial seed and early-stage capital to IU-affiliated innovators, she has helped ensure the successful launch of numerous companies in our state’s key economic sectors, including the life sciences and pharmaceuticals. These companies, many of which Teri continues to mentor, are helping to build a more prosperous and innovative Indiana and improving the lives of people here in the Hoosier state and beyond.”

Willey manages two other successful IU Ventures’ funds: the $10 million Innovate Indiana Fund, which was established in 2010 to support innovation at IU and has been fully invested, and the Shoebox Fund, which was launched with a gift of $60,000 from Donna and John Shoemaker in 2020 to support student innovation and entrepreneurship at IU. A member of IU Ventures’ board of directors and investment committee, she has also overseen the establishment of the inaugural Executive in Residence Program with a diverse cohort of business leaders who help evaluate new investment opportunities and share insights and real-world experience with the founders and leaders of companies in the IU Ventures portfolio.

“Venture-backed companies are increasingly vital to the performance of our local, state and national economy, and funds like the Indiana Philanthropic Venture Fund, which Teri has so effectively led and grown, continue to fuel the success of high-potential, early-stage businesses,” said Tony Armstrong, president and CEO of IU Ventures. “We are enormously grateful to Teri for her vision, her expertise and her dedication to ensuring that the best entrepreneurs from Indiana and beyond have access to critically needed capital at the initial development stages of their new ventures that, in turn, generate high-quality jobs for Hoosiers and contribute to a growing culture of entrepreneurship and innovations across our state.”

Willey expects to step down from her managing director role in early November and work at a reduced capacity with IU Ventures through the end of the year. She plans to devote more time to various personal and professional interests, including supporting therapies for devastating inheritable blood diseases and harnessing promising developments in RNAi therapeutics to treat genetic diseases.

Each year has presented us with new challenges, and the team at IU Ventures has consistently met these with creativity and poise and with excellent results,” Willey said. “All of our accomplishments are the accomplishments of this team of staff, advisors, volunteers, donors, company founders and co-investors. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with all of them, what I have learned from the challenges we have faced together, and to contribute to this important effort.”

Prior to joining IU Ventures, Willey served as vice president of the prestigious Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, where she directed the laboratory’s commercialization and technology transfer activities, including patenting, licensing, company startups, and corporate partnerships and collaborations.

She has also served as vice president for technology and business development for Mount Sinai School of Medicine; founding chief executive of Cambridge Enterprise Ltd., the technology commercialization affiliate of the University of Cambridge in England; founder and managing Partner of ARCH Development Partners, a seed and early-stage venture fund focused on university and corporate spin-outs; and vice president of start-ups at ARCH Development Corporation, a subsidiary of the University of Chicago, which commercialized technology from the university and Argonne National Laboratory.

Her prior experience also includes technology transfer and business development roles at Northwestern University, Purdue University and International Minerals and Chemical. She has been an advisor to policy makers, universities and companies, a past president of the Association of University Technology Managers, a former Bye Fellow of Christ’s College Cambridge in England and an Indiana Sagamore of the Wabash.

About IU Ventures:

IU Ventures invests in and supports IU-affiliated early-stage companies. Its investment programs include the IU Philanthropic Venture Fund, IU Angel Network, Shoebox Fund and Innovate Indiana Fund. It further supports IU founders through the Executive in Residence Program and IU Founders and Funders Network. Student support is provided through a variety of engagements, including the new IU Venture Fellows Program. Each program takes unique approaches to accelerate and support the positive impacts that entrepreneurs affiliated with IU already achieve across the world. IU Ventures is a recognized leader in increasing opportunities for diverse and historically underserved entrepreneurs and investing in Indiana startups with a shared commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Media Contact:

Ryan Piurek
IU Ventures