Minimally Viable Episode 28: Chase Bonhag, Founder of FirstIgnite on Bridging the Gap of Academia and Industry

In today’s episode of Minimally Viable, we talk to Chase Bonhag, founder of FirstIgnite. He shares about his start at Illinois Ventures, the venture capital arm of the University of Illinois, and how that shaped his path in creating FirstIgnite. He saw the intellectual capability available at universities that needed to be connected with the right companies. Chase shares about the evolution of FirstIgnite. How it began with helping universities market their research to companies and evolved to the creation of an academic expert network. This network focuses on connecting academic experts with companies who need their expertise to solve a problem. He shares how their unique technology has streamlined the process of connecting academia and industry. FirstIgnite is at the forefront of connecting companies with a problem to academics with the answer. We also discuss the process of growing an early-stage startup and when to leverage external technology to produce better products faster. Chase shares the benefits of joining YC and how that experience forced them to make decisions faster and helped them grow and generate their academic expert network. We talk about the future of FirstIgnite and how the company will continue to grow and make an impact. (FirstIgnite – Providing the linkage between people, ideas, and growth.)
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