As the Chief Executive Officer of UI LABS, Caralynn Nowinski Collens oversees the entire research and commercialization collaborative, including the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) and City Digital.
Prior to UI LABS, Caralynn was Associate Vice President for Innovation & Economic Development at the University of Illinois. Caralynn spent her early career in venture capital and corporate finance, primarily focused on technology-based university spin-outs. She was a Principal with early-stage venture capital firms ARCH Development Partners and Midwest Venture Partners, and Senior Vice President of Sikich Investment Banking. As a graduate student, she co-founded SanoGene Therapeutics, an early-stage biotechnology company, where, as CEO, she led the company’s spin-out from the University of Illinois and raised a strategic equity investment.
Caralynn is a Governor-appointed member of the Illinois Innovation Council and currently serves as a member of World Business Chicago’s ChicagoNEXT Council of technology leaders. Principal among her honors are inclusion on the Crain’s Chicago Business 2008 “Forty Under Forty” List and in the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Emerging Leaders Class of 2014. She is a frequent guest speaker on technology entrepreneurship and early stage investment.