Research Foundation News

December 11, 2018

International commercialization, startup expert joins Purdue as chief entrepreneurial officer

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue Research Foundation President Brian Edelman announced Tuesday (Dec. 11) that Scott Henderson, an international commercialization expert, will serve as the foundation’s new chief entrepreneurial officer.

Henderson will provide leadership to the Purdue Foundry, an entrepreneurship and commercialization accelerator, and Purdue Ventures, a capital and talent hub. He also will work closely with the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization and Purdue University to guide the award-winning Purdue commercialization ecosystem, which has spawned more than 200 startups, generated more than 300 jobs and brought nearly $350 million in funding and investments to Purdue startups in the past five years.

“Purdue already has a highly successful entrepreneurial system, but it is ready to take the next giant leap,” Edelman said. “Scott will move this program to that goal by connecting C-level suite executives to entrepreneurs to project and office managers and help us further develop an extraordinary space where people connect and develop ideas and collaborate on solutions.”

Henderson comes to the foundation from Sandbox Communities, a company he formed four years ago in Atlanta where he created social environments in commercial and university research parks and innovation mixed-use districts that led to collaboration and breakthroughs. He also has experience in promoting entrepreneurship and innovation.

He will be doing similar work for Purdue, where he will seek to foster a dynamic entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem for the foundation and Purdue University, and specifically for the Discovery Park District, a designated opportunity zone. The district is a 400-acre, $1 billion purpose-driven community on the western edge of campus that will include laboratories, advanced manufacturing facilities, offices, retail shops, restaurants, housing, green space, trails and an airport with a 7,000-foot runway. His responsibilities also will include leading the Purdue Foundry, where professionals with experience in entrepreneurship support and direct Purdue innovators who are creating startups.

Greg Deason, the foundation’s senior vice president for entrepreneurship and place making, said Henderson’s extensive experience in identifying and attracting entrepreneurs and startups was a key factor in hiring him.

“Scott has shown through his work at Sandbox Communities, Georgia Tech and elsewhere that he is a world-class connector of people,” Deason said. “He is an entrepreneur, a marketer and has created dynamic social environments that blend corporate and university environments. We know he will play a key role in helping Purdue move ideas to impact while creating vibrancy in the Discovery Park District.”

Henderson will join Purdue on Jan. 7.

“Purdue is known worldwide for its innovations and innovative results,” Henderson said. “I’m excited to join this community and look forward to bringing people together at Purdue’s Discovery Park District and beyond.”

The Discovery Park District already has several projects underway. Construction began in January on Aspire, an $86 million, 835-bed complex that will include studio, two-bedroom and four-bedroom apartment styles. Construction began in September on SEL Purdue, a 100,000-square-foot facility for electric power research that will support 300-plus new high-tech jobs. Construction also began in September on the Convergence Center for Innovation and Collaboration, a five-story building that will serve as the main hub for Discovery Park District. The center also will bring the Purdue Foundry, an entrepreneurship and business accelerator, Purdue Ventures a capital and talent hub, the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization, the Purdue Office of Corporate and Global Partnerships and other Purdue assets under one roof.

Before starting Sandbox Communities, Henderson helped launch Hypepotamus, a collaborative workspace and media publication for entrepreneurs in Atlanta. He also worked for Startup America Partnership, a national movement funded by the Steve and Jeanne Case Foundation and Ewing Kauffman Foundation to inspire entrepreneurship.

Henderson succeeds Dan Hasler, who in September was named Purdue’s executive vice president for communication.

Companies interested in locating in the Discovery Park District or Convergence Center should contact David Broecker, PRF’s chief innovation and collaboration officer, at or Adam Chavers, senior vice president at Browning, at 317-344-7333.

About Purdue Research Foundation

The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. Established in 1930, the foundation accepts gifts; administers trusts; funds scholarships and grants; acquires property; protects Purdue's intellectual property; and promotes entrepreneurial activities on behalf of Purdue. The foundation manages the Purdue Foundry, Purdue Ventures, Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization, Discovery Park District, Purdue Research Park and Purdue Technology Centers. The foundation received the 2016 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Innovation from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at

Writer: Tom Coyne, 765-588-1044,

Sources: Brian Edelman,     

Greg Deason,

Research Foundation News

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