Jean-Jacques Degroof

An International Scholar in Brussels, Belgium

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Jean-Jacques Degroof has worked in the financial industry, in academia, and in the last three decades in venture investment. A native of Belgium, his educational history begins at the Catholic University of Louvain (now UCLouvain) in Belgium, where he earned a degree in Business Administration in 1980, graduating with honors, and one in Labor Studies, again with honors. After moving to the US, Jean-Jacques extended his education by graduating with a Master of Science and a Ph.D from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Sloan School of Management. His thesis was entitled “Spinning Off Ventures from Academic Institutions Outside High-Tech Entrepreneurial Areas.”

After graduating from the UCLouvain, Jean-Jacques Degroof served in the Belgian armed forces and worked in the financial industry during the 1980s and early 1990s. He then transitioned to academia in Boston where his research on the commercialization of academic inventions led him to immerse himself in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. His first opportunity to help scientists launch a venture in order to bring their invention to market appeared during those years. It has become the main focus of his career at that point. Since then, Jean-Jacques has helped launch and grow through his funding and advice numerous ventures, mostly originating from academic labs, both in the US and in Europe. In spite of leaving academia full time, he has continued to be a regular lecturer at a number of academic institutions.

In the mid-2000s, Degroof became more active in the charitable sector, with a focus on supporting innovative solutions to problems related to aging. He also seed-funded academic research about the aging brain. His other philanthropic focus has been entrepreneurship education by supporting programs training aspiring entrepreneurs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Jean-Jacques has been an active alumnus of his alma mater, serving on several visiting committees and advisory boards. He is the author of the book titled “From the Basement to the Dome. How MIT’s Unique Culture Created a Thriving Entrepreneurial Community” (MIT Press 2021).

  • Education
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology