Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Warf News & Media

Building Momentum: A message from Leigh Cagan

Photo of Cagan LeighThis springtime I am writing to share some personal news—that I plan to retire from WARF this fall—and, more importantly, to express my sincere thanks to all of you who have helped make WARF Accelerator a success for WARF and UW-Madison. The program was just getting underway when I moved from Silicon Valley to join WARF late in 2010. Launched earlier that year with three Market Focus Areas— pharmaceuticals, medical devices and information technology—and a dozen Catalysts, the program was long on vision, but short on the organization and processes needed to fulfill its very high potential.

WARF Accelerator has since established a strong footing with dedicated, industry-experienced management and robust, yet innovative, project selection and tracking processes. It has grown to encompass six different Market Focus Areas with the invaluable help of over 40 highly accomplished Catalysts. It has built a strong brand identity within the increasingly rich fabric of programs on and off campus that cultivate entrepreneurship. And with insight from our Catalysts and milestone-based funding from WARF, the program has helped enable commercialization of a wide range of innovations from UW-Madison. With 34 license or option agreements now in place for 18 different technologies, our commercialization partners range from global industry leaders— such as GE Healthcare—to any of the 13 new startups for whom WARF Accelerator innovations provide technology differentiation and competitive advantage.

WARF Accelerator could not have achieved these results without you, and with your continued support many more great things are yet to come. In closing, I will simply say—to the UW-Madison research community; to our Catalysts, WARF staff and Trustees; and most especially to WARF Accelerator’s exceptional leadership team of Greg Keenan and Lori Allen—thank you all for everything you’ve done and for allowing me to be a part of it.

On, Wisconsin!

Leigh Cagan