Eric Toone, vice provost and director of the Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative, will leave Duke at the end of May to join Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), a new $1.5 billion investor-led fund that will invest in clean energy technologies.
BEV is the first funding vehicle of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, a Bill Gates-led group dedicated to advancing technologies related to energy generation, transmission and use.
Professor Kip Frey, director of the Law and Entrepreneurship Program at Duke Law School, will serve as interim director of the Innovation & Entrepreneurship (I&E) Initiative as a nationwide search is conducted for a permanent replacement.
Under the leadership of Toone, who has headed I&E since 2013, the initiative has experienced tremendous growth, including the construction and opening of the Bullpen, the initiative’s home in downtown Durham, as well as the growth of the I&E team from eight employees to 28.
“I have enjoyed building and growing the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative, and I am confident that the initiative will continue on its path to being a leader in university entrepreneurship,” Toone said.
Toone also led the creation of the initiative’s vast array of programs and offerings, including an Innovation & Entrepreneurship Certificate for undergraduates, the year-long Melissa & Doug Entrepreneurs program and the Duke Angel Network, which matches Duke investors to Duke-affiliated companies.
“Eric has been a valued colleague and an exceptional leader for Duke I&E, successfully building an entrepreneurship program that serves our entire Duke community,” said Provost Sally Kornbluth. “We wish him all the best as he takes his many talents to Breakthrough.”
Frey has been a professor at Duke since 1994 and currently teaches entrepreneurship and intellectual property policy. In addition, he is a serial entrepreneur and former venture capitalist. Because Frey serves as a senior strategist for translation services for I&E, he is already immersed in the initiative and its offerings.
"I am excited about leading the I&E team forward and building on the tremendous programs and projects already established,” Frey said. “Duke I&E will continue to collaborate across campus to bring innovation to the Duke community."
A release about Toone’s new appointment can be viewed here.