Ashley Jennings, managing director of Innovation Center, smiling while sitting outside among some bushes

Ashley Jennings, Managing Director

Ashley Jennings is the managing director of the Texas Innovation Center, a University of Texas at Austin venture studio that helps researchers across campus navigate the process of translating their work into companies for the global market. She currently helps run a technology commercialization portfolio of 35+ deep tech startups spanning 10 industries, including alternative energy, advanced materials, biotech, CPG, data analytics, AI/ML, agribusiness, healthcare, robotics and SaaS. Combined, these companies have raised $164M+.

Prior to academia, Jennings helped co-found Texas’ first diversity-focused technology accelerator, which has since created 75 companies and 500+ jobs for the state. As a 2X entrepreneur, she also co-owned a video production agency, championing content for clients of all sizes, from local startups to Fortune 100 companies. Jennings started her career in network news, where she was a trained field producer based out of New York, working for ABC News and Al Jazeera America. Her time in news earned her five Emmy nominations along with a Peabody Award and two Edward R. Murrow Awards.

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Kyle Lilly, smiling while sitting in an office lounge chair

Kyle Lilly, Venture Associate

Kyle Lilly is an experienced professional with a talent for driving business growth and success. He has a proven track record of accomplishment in corporate planning, financial technology and startup design thinking. Kyle currently serves as a venture associate for the Texas Innovation Center, where he assists with Center events and programming and the development of startups within the portfolio.

Prior to this role, Kyle served as a business development representative in a fast-growing startup (Kinly Financial, acquired by Greenwood), where he played a key part in developing the company into a thriving organization. At Kinly, Kyle sourced and negotiated strategic partnerships while managing and closing numerous contracts with national brands, including Self, Freeman Capital and Tally. He also assisted heavily in customer discovery and user feedback of Kinly products by finding product market fit for the creation of new features. In addition to this, Kyle has a deep knowledge of CRM systems, including HubSpot software.


Rush Bartlett, executive in residence of Innovation Center

Rush Bartlett

Rush Bartlett is a serial entrepreneur who has previously started multiple healthcare technology companies; two have been acquired, one failed and one is growing with 20-plus employees. For the past three years, Rush has led the Texas Biodesign program as an instructor, teaching graduate students and clinicians across the UT system needs-driven innovation methodology. He was previously chief product officer at Lansinoh Laboratories, a women’s health company, and serves as the associate director for corporate education at Stanford’s Byers Center for Biodesign. He was a recipient of the Outstanding Young Texas Ex Award in 2019 and Silicon Valley Business Journal’s 40 under 40 in 2017.

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Texas Innovation Center Staff

Tracy Hatfield
Administrative Manager

Nicole Jones
Marketing Manager

Innovation Fellows

The Texas Innovation Center Fellows program gives undergraduate, graduate and MBA students an immersive introduction to technology commercialization, providing hands-on experience to translate research into viable opportunities for the market.

Current Innovation Fellows

Past Innovation Fellows

Lodge Innovation Scholars