Karen Kerr is the Senior Director of New Ventures and Alliances at the University of Southern California’s Stevens Institute for Innovation. She is responsible for accelerating the formation of startup companies out of university research. Before joining USC Stevens in 2011, Karen was Director of Business Development, Targeted Acquisitions for Intellectual Ventures (IV) Invention Investment Fund (IIF). Previously she served as the US Head of Business Development for IV’s Invention Development Fund (IDF). In that role, she forged numerous strategic relationships with university, government, and industry partners that expanded the IDF portfolio and diversified its acquisition channels. Karen has over 15 years of experience as a venture investor in seed and early stage technology based companies. She founded Agile Equities, a venture development company and previously served as a Managing Director at ARCH Venture Partners and an associate at both Patricof & Co Ventures and ARCH Development Corporation.
Karen has invested across a broad array of companies in life science, information technology, communications and semiconductors, including such companies as Amberwave Systems, Silverstorm Technologies (NASDAQ: QLGC), Teach.com (Intellinex/E&Y), Ensemble Technologies, Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN) and Diversa (NASDAQ: VRNM).
Karen is a director of the National Association of Seed and Venture Funds and a member of the National Science Foundation SBIR/STTR Advisory Committee, the National Institute of Standards and Technology Visiting Committee on Advance Technology, and the Florida Technological Research and Development Authority Advisory Board. She serves on the Physical Sciences Division Visiting Committee at the University of Chicago and the Office of Technology Commercialization’s Industrial Advisory Board at Rutgers University. Karen previously served as a trustee of Bryn Mawr College, director of the Chicago Public Education Fund, and as a senior advisor to Akoya Capital in Chicago. She is a member of the C200 leading business women and in 2000 was selected by Crain’s Chicago Business as one of the 40 under 40 leading business professionals in Chicago.
Karen earned a PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Chicago and an AB in Chemistry from Bryn Mawr College. She is a member of the Charter Class of Kauffman Fellows.