Laura Kilcrease, an Austin tech leader and mentor to entrepreneurs over the past three decades, is leaving Texas for a job in Canada.
Kilcrease has been named CEO of the Alberta Innovates Corp., which provides government funding for research in sectors including agriculture, energy, healthcare and technology in the Western Canadian province.
Kilcrease was born in London and moved to the United States in 1984. She founded the Austin Technology Incubator in 1989, and served as executive director until 1996.
ATI, which is part of the University of Texas, was one of the country’s first technology business incubators. Under Kilcrease’s leadership, the incubator launched 70 companies that secured an estimated $170 million in funding.
From 1992 to 1997, Kilcrease served as executive director of the University of Texas IC2 Institute’s Center for Commercialization and Enterprise, which developed commercialization strategies for universities, government laboratories and research consortia, and R&D departments of major corporations.
In 1999, Kilcrease founded Austin venture capital firm Triton Ventures, which invests in spin-out and early-stage technology companies.
“Becoming CEO of Alberta Innovates, an almost $300 million corporation, allows me to take all my experiences with Austin's innovative and entrepreneurial community and scale them to a province (statewide) level in Alberta,” Kilcrease said. “I think globally and act locally, perhaps this is just the reverse: act globally to connect the people of Texas to Alberta and think locally by making these connections benefit everyone.”
Kilcrease has also been an advocate of recruiting more women and minorities into Austin’s tech community, and has helped lead Women@Austin - an organization founded three years ago to draw more women into tech leadership roles.
"I think there's been a realization that the more inclusive Austin's tech community is, the more innovative it is," Kilcrease said in an October interview.
In hiring Kilcrease, the Alberta government cited Kilcrease’s decades of work creating collaborations between businesses, universities, government and various public and private institutions.
“She has demonstrated that with the right supports, innovative researchers and entrepreneurs can diversify an economy and create new jobs in both emerging and traditional sectors,” Deron Bilous, Alberta’s economic development and trade minister, said in an announcement.
Kilcrease will report to the Alberta Innovates Board, which is comprised of 11 business leaders and innovators.
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