“Kellogg has the best entrepreneurship program out there because the curriculum actually lets you … build your company while in school.”
Tyler Wanke ’15 was in medical school when he and two surgeons came up with an idea to revolutionize breast cancer treatment.
Wanke came to Kellogg and the MMM program to bring the idea to life.
He took a leave of absence from medical school and quickly built a team from across the Northwestern community. Before long, Innoblative was created with Wanke as CEO and co-founder. The medical device company’s first product was a radiofrequency ablation probe to treat a surgical cavity, such as one made after removing a breast tumor. It allows surgeons to perform an intra-operative procedure and eliminate residual, potentially cancerous tissue in minutes.
So how did Wanke get from idea to product, all while being a student?
He leveraged the Kellogg Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative, which enabled Innoblative to win 11 awards, including first place at the University of Texas-Austin’s Global Venture Labs Investment Competition, the self-proclaimed “Super Bowl of investment competitions.”
He took advantage of Kellogg’s Zell Scholars program that provides support for students turning their startups into market- and funding-ready businesses.
And most importantly, he tailored his experience to fit what he — and his company — needed.
“I was picking my class schedule to sync up with the company, thinking, ‘What does the company need right now?’” says Wanke, who hopes to bring Innoblative’s first device to market so it can help the patients it was created for. “I think Kellogg has the best entrepreneurship program out there because the curriculum actually lets you work on your company with faculty for credit and build your company while in school.
“It was like drinking from a fire hose, and I learned many new valuable things every single day.”