After nearly two decades on Wall Street and five years running a private consulting practice, Kate joined Intellectual Ventures (IV) to lead healthcare efforts focused on future invention strategy with the Invention Science Fund (ISF) and commercialization of existing inventions. With deep business knowledge in the healthcare and life sciences industries, Kate is focused on contributing to the business of invention that enables our world to become smarter, more livable, more prosperous, and simply, better.
What inspires you most about what you do?
The people that I get to work with. I work with the leading minds in medicine and science around the globe. More importantly, on the inside here at IV, we’ve got many of the most advanced minds in so many disciplines, some of the most prolific inventors in the world. I’m able to shepherd those ideas and make business sense of them – the ultimate goal is always to do as much as we can with those inventions.
My work has also pushed me to think more creatively. That’s something I’ve always wanted, to be more creative in generating ideas, and that’s what I’ve experienced at IV. I’m a part of so many fascinating projects, and I’m right at the genesis of all these ideas and innovations. The wide variety of things we’re responsible for and the jobs we are doing here is just, well, fun and intellectually challenging.
How did you find your way to IV?
I spent 18 years on Wall Street, basically covering the business of the business of medicine. The life sciences, bio, and healthcare industries were my specialty in investment banking. In 2006, I left to start my own consulting practice in the same general space. I focused on a lot of business strategy, mergers and acquisitions, and investor relations for early stage startups and later stage public medical companies. During that time, I met an individual who worked here and after a number of conversations it looked like an opportunity for me to apply my background and skillset to something I’d never done before.
What's the most interesting or significant project you've worked on at IV?
I have quite a few examples, but one that really stands out is a specific Invention Session. For these sessions, we’re thinking about defining and answering the question of “What are the big unmet needs?” in a particular space. Would they make solid business sense? Here’s how invention sessions work: First, we bring together a room full of inventors and experts, and look to tackle really significant problems. In the past, I’ve had the opportunity to research, prepare, and design session topics. Those particular sessions led to the creation of patents where I actually got to be named on as an inventor, which to me was really exciting. We are now seeing that these inventions have relevancy in some of the business development work we are doing. In other words, we have interesting ideas to bring to the table that the world really cares about.
Right now, I’m working on a very new way to look at mental health issues. We’re working with one of our lead inventors and it’s a very exciting project. I’m also focusing in on ophthalmology where there is a significant interest in new solutions from the industry, and without much avail so far. There are a number of projects that are equally as interesting and I’m thrilled to be pursuing these different avenues.
Do you ever think about the impact that you're making on future technologies?
It’s significant. I believe we are going to make a momentous impact in the next couple of years as well as 10, 15, 20 years from now. We’re not just involved in mere iterative ideas, but are looking at innovation profiles that stretch out far beyond the next three, four, or five years. The interesting thing about ISF is that when we’re inventing we have a bit of luxury—but not without a strict discipline—of working with our inventors and scientific team to ensure we can throw the stone far. It’s with a dedicated practice to make sure it fits within a business concept of relevance both clinically and commercially and in a very substantial way in a “change the world” kind of way. That is true for all of our great successes and spin out technologies at ISF. It’s nice to be a part of a company that’s dedicated to nurturing, financing, and really championing invention and inventors throughout all phases of the process.
In short, we have a unique recipe for success: We have the ability to think about these innovations and their potential impact long term and aren’t driven by the notion of delivering merely iterative solutions. We’re focused on how we can make a truly significant impact for the future as we enable evermore invention to happen.