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BrightEdge receives $1.25M grant to launch fellows program

Grant deepens relationship with key industry stakeholder The WoodNext Foundation.

BrightEdge, ACS’ impact venture capital arm, has received a $1.25 million grant from the WoodNext Foundation, a donor-advised fund sponsored by the Greater Houston Community Foundation, to fund the creation and launch of its ACS BrightEdge Entrepreneurship Fellows Program. The program will cultivate the next generation of impact innovators and entrepreneurs by providing professional development, mentorship, and access to investors and strategic partners.

The ACS BrightEdge Entrepreneurship Fellows program will comprise a 12-month curriculum for ACS-affiliated postdoctoral and early career researchers, who will continue their technical development while advancing their new commercial ventures. Fellows will be selected based on alignment with ACS mission priorities and BrightEdge’s investment focus areas which include novel biomedical products, improvement of patient response to therapy, enhancing infrastructure for research and development, reducing health disparities and patient burden, and promoting prevention and screening.

“Through the generosity of the WoodNext Foundation, we’re able to expand BrightEdge’s ability to further drive innovation and deepen impact across the cancer-care continuum,” said Alice Pomponio, managing director of BrightEdge. “The ACS ecosystem has long funded grantees who go on to form great companies. The Entrepreneurship Fellows program is a natural extension of that work and will boost commercialization in mission priority areas and back the most promising talent. It will also enhance BrightEdge’s deal flow and ability to find promising pre-seed investment opportunities.”

The WoodNext Foundation manages the philanthropy of tech innovator and Roku founder and CEO Anthony Wood and his wife Susan Wood. Its priorities include mental health, homelessness, scientific and biomedical research, disaster recovery, and economic opportunity with a focus on addressing root causes.

The $1.25 million grant deepens ties between the WoodNext Foundation and BrightEdge. In 2021, WoodNext joined the BrightEdge membership-only Founders Circle by making a foundational $1 million donation. Learn more in the Feb. 1 announcement.

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