Lisa Dhar has taken over Northwestern University’s Innovation and New Ventures Office following the retirement of Alicia Löffler last year.

Headshot of Lisa Dhar

Lisa Dhar has been promoted to associate vice-president for innovation at Northwestern University and will lead the Innovation and New Ventures Office (INVO) from today.

Dhar has been with the institution since 2016 when she joined INVO as director of new business ventures for engineering. She was responsible, among other things, for the gap funding vehicle N.XT Fund.

She additionally took on interim duties as executive director of the Querrey InQbation Lab in August 2022. Her successor there, once selected, will report to her at INVO.

She had previously spent seven years in various positions in the Office of Technology Management at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Before this, she co-founded and was vice-president of media development at InPhase Technologies, spun off from Bell Labs, which went on to raise $90m of funding. The company fell into bankruptcy years after Dhar’s departure.

Dhar, selected after a nationwide search, follows in the footsteps of Alicia Löffler, who retired in December. Löffler had led INVO since its inception in 2010 and joined the Talking Tech Transfer podcast in 2020 to talk about her achievements.

Northwestern’s commercialisation efforts have grown significantly since 2010 and its companies have now raised more than $2.75bn. The university’s portfolio of inventions stands at nearly 2,600.

INVO, apart from handling research commercialisation, is also responsible for the Querrey InQbation Lab and N.XT Fund, as well as The Garage and Lakeside Discovery, a partnership with Deerfield Management created in 2018.

Dhar said: “Innovation and entrepreneurship are increasingly important facets of Northwestern’s identity.

“I am excited by the many opportunities to work closely with the broader Northwestern community to make a difference in our world — by cultivating entrepreneurs across the University, translating Northwestern’s intellectual property into new and established companies and facilitating our next generation of startups.”

Thierry Heles

Thierry Heles is the editor of Global University Venturing, host of the Beyond the Breakthrough interview podcast and responsible for the monthly GUV Gazette (sign up here for free).