at the helm
Research-based innovation accelerator with Houston presence names new CEO
A national organization that helps accelerate scientists into entrepreneurs has named its new CEO.
Today, Activate announced Cyrus Wadia as CEO of the organization. Based California, Activate recently expanded to Houston . The two-year accelerator provides funding and support for its selected cohorts.
“Wadia personifies so much of what Activate is about,” says Activate’s founder and former CEO, Ilan Gur, who now heads ARIA, the UK’s multibillion-dollar innovation agency. “He is impact-driven, entrepreneurial, and cares deeply about people, family, and community. He’s one of the few people on the planet that I’d be proud and excited to have lead the next phase of what we started.”
Wadia’s new role takes effect on October 16. Todd Johnson has served as interim CEO for the past year, and he will return to his role on Activate’s board of directors with the transition.
Wadia most recently served as director of worldwide product sustainability at Amazon. He also oversaw sustainable business and innovation at Nike and was appointed assistant director of clean energy and materials R&D at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under President Barack Obama.
"I’m thrilled to join this incredible team at such an exciting moment for the organization. Because of Activate, scientists are designing new products, accelerating the creation of new businesses, and becoming leaders who will transform our future," Wadia says in the news release. "I look forward to building on this momentum to expand the role science leadership plays in solving society’s most pressing issues.”
As CEO, Wadia will lead the organization as it expands and operates its five communities. In eight years, Activate has advanced 188 fellows and 145 science-based startups, which have gone on to raise nearly $1.4 billion and create over 1900 jobs.
“Activate has transformed into one of the most impactful science innovation communities in the world in less than a decade,” says Liesl Schindler, Activate board chair. “The extraordinary people and culture of Activate give us nothing but confidence as we transition into the organization's next phase of growth—with Cyrus Wadia now at the helm.”
Next year, Houston will have its inaugural cohort. The program's led locally by Jeremy Pitts, managing director for Activate Houston, who was named to the role last month .