IDEA Center launches 25 startups in 2020, its companies raise $20 million

Author: Nicholas Swisher

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The IDEA Center at the University of Notre Dame launched 25 startup companies in 2020, bringing the total number of startups since the IDEA Center’s founding in 2017 to 89 and the total number of official Notre Dame startups to 113. The University’s active startups also collectively raised over $20 million in investment, a 194 percent year-over-year increase from 2019.

In 2020, the University’s 74 active startups, 23 of which were founded before the launch of the IDEA Center, reported 125 full-time jobs, up from 99 in 2019, with an average salary of $79,000. Collectively, the 64 companies also reported generating $8.6 million in product sales and creating 68 part-time jobs, for a total of 190 jobs, up from 153 the year before.

“Despite a devastating pandemic that has resulted in a record 700,000 businesses closing in the U.S. alone last year, the IDEA Center was still able to launch 25 new companies in 2020, a number consistent to what we have produced in previous years,” said Bryan Ritchie, vice president and the Cathy and John Martin Associate Provost for Innovation at Notre Dame. “And while the University’s startups were also negatively impacted by the pandemic--25 of our companies launched in previous years ceased operations in 2020--the total number of jobs our startups created actually increased, as did the average salary.

“What’s more, the record $20 million our active startups raised in investment last year indicate exciting future growth for our early-stage companies.”

Notre Dame student entrepreneurs are responsible for founding 18 of the 25 Notre Dame startups launched in 2020. Notre Dame faculty, alumni and members of the community created the other seven. 

Last year’s 25 startups represent a number of industries, including health care, education, consumer electronics, gaming and finance.