Linden Rhoads leaving University of Washington tech transfer post

Linden Rhoads

Linden Rhoads

Linden Rhoads, who helped boost the number of startups coming out of the University of Washington over the past six years, is stepping down as vice provost of commercialization to return to private industry. She will remain with the UW through the end of 2014, serving as executive director for commercialization.

“She has created a great record of achievement at the UW,” said Provost Ana Mari Cauce in a press release. “She built a strong unit devoted to service and constant improvement.”

Under her leadership, the number of startup companies formed with technologies from the UW increased, as did the number of patent filings.

In a related move, the UW announced that electrical engineering professor Vikram Jandhyala will assume the new role of Vice Provost of Innovation.

Ed Lazowska, the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, said that Rhoads helped usher in a new era at the University.

Vikram

Vikram Jandhyala

“She has done many hugely innovative things — particularly notable because she inherited an office in complete disarray due to terrible leadership by her predecessor,” said Lazowska.

He added that Jandhyala is a “gem.”

“The tragedy is that he has stepped down as chair of UW’s Electrical Engineering department, where he was doing a phenomenal job,” said Lazowska. “The good news is that, once he made the decision to step down from EE, the Provost recruited him for this new role.”

Madrona Venture Group’s Greg Gottesman echoed those remarks, calling Jandhyala one of the university’s “unheralded treasures.”

“He is uncommonly brilliant and has worked in industry and as a professor, department chair and company founder,” said Gottesman, who worked closely with Jandhyala at Nimbic. “Very few people understand what it means to start a company from a university lab, take it through venture funding and ultimate sale. He is the perfect choice for this important new innovation role at the UW.”

Rhoads is the former president of Virtual i-O, and served in executive roles at startups such as AdRelevance, Singingfish and Nimble Technology. She’s also an angel investor, placing early bets on companies such as Zillow, Avvo and Escapia.

Here’s the memo that went out today from Provost Ana Mari Cauce:

Dear colleagues:

Vice Provost Linden Rhoads, who has contributed enormously over the past six years as Vice Provost for Commercialization, has announced that she would like to return to industry. She’s always been an entrepreneur at heart, so we are fortunate to have kept her here so long.

She’s created a great record of achievement at the UW. She built a strong unit devoted to service and constant improvement. During her tenure, C4C doubled the number of patents filed per year, as well as the number of start-up companies (this is the second year in a row with a record number of 17). Linden also spearheaded tremendous engagement with the regional business and investor community.

This opened an opportunity to transition to a new phase in the leadership of the University of Washington’s commercialization efforts. Vikram Jandhyala, Professor of Electrical Engineering and one of the inaugural UW C4C entrepreneurial faculty fellows in 2011, has accepted my and President Young’s request to join the UW leadership team. Vikram will become Vice Provost for Innovation, starting July 1. Linden will remain with us as Executive Director for Commercialization for the rest of 2014 and will continue to be a guiding presence going forward.

Vikram joined the UW faculty in 2000 after spending a few years in the electronic design software industry and has since been an engaged faculty member and administrator. He was chair of the department of Electrical Engineering from 2011 until earlier this year. Before that, he led Electrical Engineering’s professional masters program through early growth in 2009 and 2010, is the founding UW director of the UW-PNNL Northwest Institute for Advanced Computing (NIAC), and heads the Applied Computational Engineering (ACE) lab.

Professor Jandhyala holds degrees in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research has been funded by DARPA, DoD, DOE, NSF and industry groups. He has received numerous honors, including an NSF CAREER award, and awards from UIUC, IEEE, UW, and NASA. Working with his students, Vikram founded Physware (Nimbic) in 2006, a venture-backed cloud-based simulation software company which was acquired by Mentor Graphics in 2014. His current interests are social and organizational networks, computational science and big data, electronic design automation, technology entrepreneurship, and educational innovation.

Please join me in thanking Linden for her years of service to UW and in welcoming Vikram, who I am certain will advance the work of C4C to the next phase.

Best, Ana Mari

  • Dave

    Having a professor with one business experience is better than someone with no business experience. But still disappointing to not have more commercial experience and drive pushing that group and with commercialization as their main job function. UW has traditionally been awful to deal with, and it has cost many quality faculty members. Linden got UW to a point where it was at least possible to get something done, although still difficult. Hopefully the trend can continue.

  • As I See It

    Hopefully he will model the efforts after universities around the country that do this so much better than UW. I guess that would only be possible if the legal department was told to take a few risks.