Company and Leadership

What are the benefits for inventors and universities in working with VIC Foundry?

The VIC Foundry team has extensive technology commercialization experience and success. Working with our team can help steer technology development in the most impactful and commercially-promising directions. Access to SBIR and STTR funding is provided without the inventor needing to form a separate new company, which is time-consuming, distracting from the university research, while carrying significant costs and risks.

When the grant-funded development work goes as planned, a new company is formed to commercialize the technology with private equity funding ensured. VIC has a strong track record for successfully commercializing university technologies. The inventor takes a technical advisor role in the new company and can receive equity and consulting compensation.

For universities, it is an opportunity for licensing technologies that otherwise may never be licensed due to the stage of development at the university. Universities can benefit from subcontracted work back to the university, and from having a much higher chance of substantial licensing revenue compared to a typical faculty or student-led startup.

What are the benefits for investors?

For the VIC Investor network, the VIC Foundry provides an additional source of high-quality deal flow and de-risks highly promising technologies. It allows deeper insights prior to VIC making the go/no-go decision on a new start-up to commercialize the given technology.

Key Management

Calvin Goforth, PhD – Chief Executive Officer

In addition to serving as VIC Foundry CEO, Dr. Goforth is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of VIC Technology Venture Development. In these roles, he has raised tens of $millions in capital, helped bring several high value products from concept to market, and helped bring multiple companies to exit events.
He received a BS in Aerospace Engineering with Highest Honors from the University of Texas at Austin. Early in his career, Dr. Goforth held positions at NASA (where he worked alternate semesters while pursuing his BS) and Rocketdyne, where he worked in the space shuttle main engine performance analysis group.
He later received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. He then returned to his home state of Arkansas and took a position as an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Arkansas. There, he received the school’s Halliburton Outstanding Researcher Award in Mechanical Engineering for three straight years.
He left his faculty position to form Vector, Inc. with the vision to build open-architecture PC-based controllers. Goforth self-financed the company and developed its first product in one year. Product sales ramped up quickly and the company was sold at the end of its second year of operations. Dr. Goforth’s experiences with Vector and other early stage technology companies led him to found VIC Technology Venture Development.
At VIC he developed the company’s virtual enterprising business model to support the formation and development of technology start-up companies. Dr. Goforth also founded and manages the VIC Investor Network that provides seed capital into every new company VIC forms.

Xiaoli Su, PhD – Senior Scientist

Dr. Su has a PhD in Analytical Chemistry and a broad background in medicine (pharmacy). He has a proven track record in both academia and industry with over 20 years’ experience in automated analytical and bioanalytical systems, biosensors, chemical sensors, and assay development. His technical leadership has led to the successful development of self-contained microfluidic cartridge based automated immunoassay system, multichannel capillary immunoassay instrument, handheld photoelectrochemical biosensing device, novel nucleic acid amplification tests, and many other innovative technologies and products for rapid detection of a variety of biological and chemical species. In his research areas, Dr. Su has published one book chapter and 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and has 4 patents (issued and pending).

Natalie Gassman, PhD – Fellow

Natalie Gassman, PhD received a BA in chemistry from Michigan State University, where she was also a member of the Women’s Crew team. She earned a PhD from the University of California Los Angeles in chemistry in 2008. She held post-doctorate positions at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Her postdoctoral training focused on the role of DNA repair in response to environmental exposures and how modulated DNA repair mechanism contribute to cancer development. As an assistant professor of physiology and cell biology at the USA College of Medicine and a cancer researcher at MCI, Natalie focuses her work on characterizing the influence that environmental exposures has on DNA repair and characterizing how DNA repair proteins are altered or modified in the context of cancer. She has also developed a versatile detection method that helps identify deficiencies in repair mechanisms that give cancer cells a survival edge and hopes that these results can be applied in a clinical setting to tailor therapies for cancer patients. “Our team is trying to find the magic formula – how much DNA damage you have and how you will respond to treatment,” she said. “It’s personalized medicine for your genome.”

Kirt Gill, MD – Fellow

Kirt Gill, MD is currently a Radiology resident at the University of Texas Southwestern as part of the Clinical Scientist research track, where his primary topic of study is the application of Focused Ultrasound in opening the blood brain barrier. In 2019, he began working with Solenic Medical, Inc. (a VIC portfolio company) to explore his interest in medical device innovation, using his clinical training and background to serve as a key advisor to the leadership team. In addition to serving as a VIC Fellow in 2020, he will also be joining TMC in Houston as a BioDesign Fellow in the Fall. Dr. Gill has a Bachelor’s degree in Molecular/Cell Biology and Classical Civilizations from the University of California, Berkeley. He completed his medical training at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in 2018.

Monika Magon, PhD – Fellow

Monika Magon, PhD is a 2019 LifeArc-AUTM Technology Transfer Fellow, currently starting her career in science entrepreneurship. She recently moved to the Greater Chicago area after completing her postdoctoral research appointment at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. She earned a PhD in Physical Biology at the University College London and received a BSc degree in Biochemistry with Study in Industry from the University of Bristol. Monika has broad expertise in life sciences from cell biology, nanotechnology, imaging, drug and gene delivery, through to biomedical science and rare neuromuscular diseases. She is also passionate about data-driven storytelling, science writing, and communication.

Travis Nemkov, PhD – Fellow

Travis Nemkov, PhD is focused on developing innovative technologies and working with start-up companies for their commercialization. Immediately following graduation from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Travis continued work on his undergraduate thesis as part of a new spin-out company, AmideBio. As the company’s first employee, he helped establish operations and developed foundational technologies for the production of therapeutic peptides with high purity and yield at low cost. He then moved to the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus for his Doctorate in Structural Biology and Biochemistry, where he developed high-throughput omics tools to study systems-wide metabolism. In addition to his own research as a Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Anschutz, Travis co-founded Omix Technologies with other faculty members to provide these tools for companies in multiple areas, including the regenerative medicine, transfusion medicine, biofuel, and pharmaceutical industries. He is an author on over 80 publications and 2 patents.

Gregory Tucker, PhD – Fellow

Gregory Tucker, PhD obtained a Doctorate in Chemistry from the School of Molecular Sciences at Arizona State University and a Bachelor of Science from Tennessee State University. He is a professional chemist specializing in the synthesis and characterization of ionic liquids, molten salts, and solid-state compounds with research expertise in the biochemical, inorganic, materials, and energy-related areas. Dr. Tucker is a co-inventor with the Angell Lab Group on multiple issued U.S. patents for creating novel chemical compositions of matter for batteries and fuel cell technologies as potential power sources ranging from stationary systems, mobile devices, electric vehicles, and etc. He is a recent inductee into the National Academy of Inventors and one of the latest recipients of the ASU Laboratory Innovation Metals. In addition, he serves as a local liaison with the Central Arizona Section of the American Chemical Society. Lastly, Greg has been an integral partner with start-up teams, having launched various entrepreneurial ventures and one company being recognized by the Arizona House of Representatives as Small Business-of-the-Year in District #27 of Central Phoenix.