The lack of true early-stage capital and innovation developmental support is a major challenge in advancing promising university technology from the lab to commercial and investment partners. Research institutions are leading through the implementation of university gap funding (proof of concept, startup, venture) and accelerator programs to bridge this “valley of death”. Over the past 15 years, these programs have evolved into sophisticated investment, evaluation, development, and commercialization support mechanisms to nurture the most promising opportunities in emerging, high-growth technology areas. Smart companies and investors are taking notice and making it a strategic, external innovation and investment priority to partner with these university gap fund and accelerator programs through applied research, proof of concept projects, corporate venture investments, and advisory/mentorship in return for insights, competitive positioning, and access to future technology and start-ups. COVERGENCE is where we meet, learn, and talk about what we can do together to catalyze innovation through university gap fund and accelerator programs. Dr. George presented at COVERGENCE this year, highlighting his successes bridging academic research and entrepreneurship.