Karen E. Kerr
Karen Kerr is the Senior Director for New Ventures & Alliances at the University of Southern California (USC) Stevens Center for Innovation. In this role, Karen leads a growing team that will actively pursue startup opportunities from USC discoveries and expertise while coordinating with resources on and off campus to create an environment at USC and beyond that is conducive to new ventures. Her team will also manage funding and mentoring programs.
With more than 15 years of experience in building and investing in early stage companies, Karen has an extensive background in university technology transfer, venture capital, intellectual property, and startups. She is the founder of Agile Equities, a venture development company specializing in emerging technology companies. Prior to joining USC, Karen served as Director of Business Development, Targeted Acquisitions for Intellectual Ventures' (IV) Invention Investment Fund. Previously she served as the U.S. Head of Business Development for IV's Invention Development Fund (IDF), where she forged numerous strategic relationships with university, government, and industry partners that expanded the IDF portfolio and diversified its acquisition channels. She also served as a Managing Director at ARCH Venture Partners and an associate at both Patricof & Co Ventures and ARCH Development Corporation.
Karen has invested across a broad array of companies in life science, information technology, communications and semiconductors, including such companies as Amberwave Systems, Silverstorm Technologies (fka InfiniCon Systems), Teach.com (Intellinex/E&Y), Ensemble, Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) and Diversa (NASDAQ: DVSA).
Karen is a director of the National Association of Seed and Venture Funds and a member of the National Science Foundation SBIR/STTR Advisory Committee, the Florida Technological Research and Development Authority Advisory Board, the Physical Sciences Division Visiting Committee at the University of Chicago, and the Office of Technology Commercialization's Industrial Advisory Board at Rutgers University. Karen previously served as a Trustee of Bryn Mawr College, director of the Chicago Public Education Fund, and senior advisor to Akoya Capital in Chicago. She is also a member of the Charter Class of Kauffman Fellows. In 2000, Karen was selected by Crain's Chicago Business as one of the 40 under 40 leading business professionals in Chicago.
Karen earned a PhD. in Physical Chemistry from The University of Chicago and an A.B. in Chemistry from Bryn Mawr College.