The idea for InnoCentive came to Alph Bingham and Aaron Schacht in 1998 while they worked together at the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company. They brainstormed the idea for InnoCentive – what they originally dubbed “Molecule.com” and later “BountyChem” – during a session focused on exploring the application of the Internet to business. In 2001, InnoCentive was launched by Jill Panetta, Jeff Hensley, Darren Carroll, and Alph Bingham, with majority seed funding from Eli Lilly. Darren Carroll led the launch effort and became the first CEO.
In 2005, InnoCentive was spun out of Eli Lilly with investments led by Spencer Trask of New York. In December 2006, shortly after president and CEO Dwayne Spradlin took the helm, the company signed an agreement with the Rockefeller Foundation to add a nonprofit area designed to generate science and technology solutions to pressing problems in the developing world.
In 2006, Prize4Life partnered with InnoCentive to launch the $1 million ALS Biomarker Prize, which was a Grand Challenge designed to find a biomarker to measure the progression of ALS – also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease – in patients. In February 2011, the $1 million prize was awarded to Dr. Seward Rutkove for his creation and validation of a clinically viable biomarker. In early 2011, InnoCentive launched four more Grand Challenges on behalf of Life Technologies.
Today, InnoCentive is a privately-held, venture-backed firm that has experienced consistent year-over-year growth. Based just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, the company has posted more than 2,000 Challenges to its global Solver community, in addition to thousands of internal Challenges – those targeted at private communities such as employees – executed by customers using InnoCentive’s Challenge Platform. InnoCentive currently enables Challenges in a wide variety of disciplines, including Business and Entrepreneurship, Chemistry, Computer/Information Technology, Engineering and Design, Food and Agriculture, Life Sciences, Math and Statistics, and Physical Sciences.
InnoCentive’s Solver network now consists of over 380,000+ creative and talented individuals from nearly 200 countries, with an added reach of millions through our strategic partnerships.