Neil Kane, the founder and president of Illinois Partners, LLC, is a leading authority on technology commercialization and innovation, currently teaches at Michigan State University where he developed their undergraduate entrepreneurship program and within 2.5 years brought it into the Top 25 among undergraduate entrepreneurship programs according to The Princeton Review. He teaches in the undergraduate entrepreneurship and executive MBA programs. He is the Innovation Expert in Residence at the Research Park at the University of Illinois.
He is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Energy Foundry and was the founding CEO of Advanced Diamond Technologies, Inc., a firm he co-founded in 2003 by licensing technology from Argonne National Laboratory (U.S. Dept. of Energy). Mr. Kane is the former co-Executive Director of the Illinois Technology Enterprise Center at Argonne and Entrepreneur in Residence with Illinois Ventures, LLC at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In these roles he was founding CEO of several startup companies based on university or federal laboratory research in areas such as power electronics, photovoltaics, polymers and medical diagnostics. He has closed multiple rounds of venture capital from various sources and has secured numerous SBIR/STTR and other government contracts and awards.
Earlier he was Regional Business Development Manager for Microsoft Corporation in Chicago. In this role he identified, negotiated and closed a $25 million equity investment. He began his business career at IBM where he was the liaison to Andersen Consulting (later Accenture) and helped create the strategic business alliance between IBM and Accenture that became the model for the industry. In this capacity he earned membership into IBM’s Golden Circle. He began his career as a manufacturing engineer in IBM’s San Jose, California disk drive facility where he designed robotic tooling.
He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (high honors) and a Masters of Business Administration from The University of Chicago. He has attended graduate school at the Australian Graduate School of Management at The University of New South Wales in Sydney and did further graduate study in Japan on a scholarship from the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). He was named a 2007 Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum and attended their annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland in 2007 and 2008. In 2007 he received recognition from the National Science Foundation for Outstanding Entrepreneurship, and in 2009 he was named a “Mover & Shaker” by Frost & Sullivan. In June 2010 he was an invited witness on the panel From the Lab Bench to the Marketplace: Improving Technology Transfer in the U.S. House of Representative’s Subcommittee on Research & Science Education. In 2011 he was asked by Governor Pat Quinn to serve on the Illinois Innovation Council. Also in 2011 he became a mentor for the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps. In 2012 he again was an invited witness in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2013 he was a national expert panel member at the Lab-to-Market Inter-Agency Summit at the White House Conference Center in Washington, DC.
He is a co-author of The Innovator’s Secret Formula.