Professional Development
Career development / Municipal government / Startups

Robert Stolle is stepping down from VIPC’s top position

The president and CEO spent 13 years heading up the Virginia innovation funding organization.

Robert Stolle. (Courtesy photo)

As of Thursday, there are changes happening in the Virginia funding scene.

Robert Stolle, the president and CEO of the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC), announced his departure from the organization. Stolle has worked with the funder for 13 years and was promoted to the top role three years ago after serving as the senior VP of operations.

During his tenure, Stolle most prominently saw the organization’s rebrand from the Center for Innovative Technology to VIPC, which included consolidating programs created to help boost tech and entrepreneurship in the state. In his time with the organization, Stolle said that VIPC has gone from making under $3 million in investments each year to bringing in $12 million annually.

“I’m delighted that VIPC has become a mainstream part of Virginia’s economic development strategy,” Stolle said. “We are responsible for the early-stage companies, for the startups, the founders, and so I’m really glad that that has all come together and that we’re in the position we’re in right now.”

Virginia’s Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade Joseph Benevento will take over as interim CEO starting in September while a permanent replacement is found. Stolle will continue on in an advisory role until the end of October.

Stolle said that he’s not retiring after leaving the organization, but felt that now was the right time to look for someone new who could lead VIPC through its next phase. He hopes to continue working in the space in a less demanding role going forward.

For VIPC, he’s hoping that the funding arm can push forward in research. He noted that one of Virginia’s biggest issues is that it’s “middle of the pack” with research, with many folks opting to complete their work at powerhouses like Johns Hopkins, Stanford and MIT. He sees this prowess happening through commercialization, with programs to recruit and retain eminent researchers to help build labs and spaces for innovation.

“Our goal is to make sure that we’re providing support for that because that’s where the innovation begins,” Stolle said.

In the meantime, though, he’s grateful for the work he’s been able to do with VIPC and beyond.

“I’ve been there for 13 years now, three as the CEO, and sometimes it just boggles my mind that I have had the opportunity to do those things,” Stolle said. “And I’m grateful to the staff who does so much for Virginia.”

Companies: Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation

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