Chicago Innovation Mentors (CIM)

CIM is MATTER's program designed to accelerate the development of science-based ventures.

What is CIM?

CIM is a 6-month team-based mentoring and scholarship program focused on science-based ventures. It has connected over 225 mentors supporting and catalyzing the commercialization of more than 190 early stage science-based ventures, which cumulatively have raised roughly $200M, building any biopharmaceutical, device, diagnostic, or software solutions. CIM was founded by a consortium of Chicago-area universities and industry partners in November 2010 and formally joined the MATTER family in January 2016.

How it works

  • Ventures

    Through a rigorous evaluation process, CIM accepts science-based ventures ranging in maturity from idea stage through early customer acquisition and financing.

  • Mentors

    Mentors have deep technical expertise: 86% hold advanced degrees; and demonstrated business acumen: most have executive-level experience.

Monthly Meeting

Each month, MATTER gathers CIM mentors for a catered event. Following networking, ventures pitch their ideas to the mentors, who choose teams they want to coach.


The day after the monthly meeting, mentors are matched with the venture teams they'll be advising for the next six months.

Ventures and Mentor Teams Meet

Ventures meet with their mentor teams for 90 minutes each month to help them meet milestones. MATTER staff help ventures navigate the educational and business development resources MATTER provides.


After 6 months, ventures graduate CIM. While many launch their CIM ventures as businesses, CIM teaches some that their venture ideas aren't viable. This supports a tenet of the program: failing fast.

    Benefits for Ventures

  • 6 monthly, 90-minute in-person meetings with mentor team.
  • Key card providing 24x7 access to MATTER’s shared workspace and logins for all relevant systems.
  • Curated, hands-on support from the MATTER team to help navigate program opportunities, recruit mentors, and monitor and report on progress.
  • Opportunities for branding and exposure, including placement on MATTER’s website, inclusion in promotional materials, and more.
  • Access to MATTER programming and events.
  • Apply to be a venture

    Benefits for Mentors

  • Advise innovators bringing life-saving technologies to market with no commitment beyond monthly 90-minute sessions.
  • Monthly formal networking receptions to provide regular access to seasoned executives and entrepreneurs.
  • Exposure to a regular pipeline of next-gen technologies to keep abreast of industry trends.
  • Formalized learning opportunities to help hone “mentorship toolkit,” enabling future success and development opportunities.
  • Limited access to MATTER programming and events.
  • Apply to be a mentor

Meet Endotronix

Endotronix set out to create wireless health monitoring devices to improve and streamline care for patients with advanced heart failure. They enrolled in CIM in April 2012 and worked with mentors Israel Raz and Jim Kelly. The program accelerated their development and growth. Since graduating CIM, Endotronix has raised multiple rounds of funding, culminating in a $32M Series C round in July 2016.

Advisory Board

Steven Gould, MD

Chair, CIM Advisory Board

Jeff Coney

Director of Economic Development, Northwestern University

Steven C. Kuemmerle, Ph.D.

Director, Technology Commercialization and Licensing, Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, University of Chicago

Gregory Morin

Director of Strategy and Innovation, Argonne National Laboratory

Suseelan Pookote

Assistant Director of Business Development at the Office of Technology Management, University of Illinois

Warren Ribley

President & CEO, Illinois Biotechnology Organization (iBIO) & the iBIO Institute

Questions about becoming a venture, mentor, or partner?

Let us know.