Venture Connectors


What is the Sputnik Moment? The moment when a country or a society realizes that it needs to catch up with apparent technological and scientific developments made by some other country or countries by increasing its investment into education, innovative research and development, etc. Today’s Sputnik Moment is harder to see. While the Soviet Union once threatened the United States’ leadership in space technology, today, China threatens U.S. technology leadership in virtually all technologies of the future. Meanwhile, the pandemic has put a new spotlight on science and research and our reliance on its advancement. As with the Space Race, America is anticipated to stimulate a new age of innovation, and we could see billions in federal dollars invested in new resources for this new industrial and technological boom. Importantly, the United States’ development of new regional technology hubs is critical to this plan, and Kentucky is as eligible for this transformational investment as any region in the country.

Join Venture Connectors on Wednesday, Feb. 2, to hear from Ian McClure, University of Kentucky’s Associate Vice President for Research, Innovation and Economic Impact, as he presents “The Case for Kentucky,” and then hosts Sujai Shivakumar, Director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Renewing American Innovation Project, for a conversation on the U.S. innovation policies that are under microscope and the Kentucky opportunities at hand. McClure leads innovation and entrepreneurship at the UK and is the Chair-Elect of AUTM, the leading association for university technology transfer. Dr. Shivakumar is a nationally and internationally recognized expert on public policies related to innovation, technology-based regional economic growth, public-private technology partnerships, and the skilled technical workforce. Click here to register for the event.

At UK, McClure leads efforts to translate the university’s discoveries for the public good, seek equitable returns on its intellectual property, develop innovative approaches to develop, fund and support opportunities for near-stage research, seek grant funding to enhance UK’s investments in innovation, and expand industry and other collaborative research programs.

Previously, McClure served as Executive Director of the UK Office of Technology Commercialization, where he oversaw a team of staff managing the university’s innovation, intellectual property and startup portfolios. In addition, he is an advisory board member for the Oak Ridge Institute, Chair of IPwe’s Advisory Committee for University Technology Transfer, Launch Blue Advisory Board member, a PI on two NIH grants, and is a co-founder of Kentucky Commercialization Ventures, a state-funded program to provide IP and tech transfer services to all other universities in the state that do not currently have dedicated IP and tech transfer resources.

He began his career as a mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and intellectual property (IP) transactions attorney. Following private practice, he helped build IPXI, a startup company in Chicago and the world’s first financial exchange for IP and technology rights, which he led through product development, capital raise, proof of concept and growth to 30-plus full-time employees and two offices.

Venture Connectors is pleased to return to the Muhammad Ali Center in 2022! Doors open at 11:45 a.m., with the program from noon to 1 p.m. and networking afterward. Members attend free, and guests are $40. For questions, email us at