Activation Capital’s President and CEO Announces Departure


Chandra Briggman’s Leadership Noted as Visionary, and Her Work as Catalytic in Inclusive Innovation and Regional Economic Growth

RICHMOND, Va., July 8, 2024 – Activation Capital, an innovation ecosystem development organization, announced today that Chandra Briggman, president and chief executive officer of Activation Capital, will depart the organization to pursue new opportunities to build innovation ecosystems and drive economic development.  

“Chandra Briggman’s pivotal time at Activation Capital has been defined by impact, and her impressive body of work has energized our region,” said Michael Rao, chairman of the Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority Board and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) president. “In 2020, Chandra was recruited from Boston/Cambridge, MA, to grow the economic impact of Activation Capital. In four years, two of which were at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, she helped reenergize the organization with a new vision and strategy. Chandra executed a bold roadmap that has since grown our regional innovation economy and strengthened Activation Capital’s sustainability model for the future.” 

Briggman has served as president and CEO of Activation Capital since May of 2020 and, since that time, has grown Activation Capital into a leading innovation ecosystem development organization known for its bold vision and effectiveness at building and creating impact at the speed of a startup. Her work at Activation Capital included a strategic pivot and sharpening of the organization’s operational model. Among significant success milestones include the following: 

  • Implementing a three-pillar strategy that grew the regional innovation economy through ecosystem development, space-making, and venture development.
  • Creating a new vision to turn around multiple legacy assets to revitalize and sustain a robust regional entrepreneurship and innovation economy, including raising approximately $50 million to execute this work. 
  • Modernizing systems and operations to create a scalable grant management platform poised to continue transformational wins for the Commonwealth of Virginia. 
  • Co-leading the launch of the Alliance for Building Better Medicine designed to repatriate manufacturing of essential medicines to the Commonwealth of Virginia, reshore jobs, and bolster national security.
  • Working with over a hundred stakeholders to win the Build Back Better Regional Challenge ($53 million), a TechHub Designation, and a National Science Foundation Engines Type 1 award – one of only three regions to nationally achieve the triple win.
  • Co-leading the design of Project VITAL – a multi-regional life sciences scale-up initiative to competitively position the commonwealth on a national level. 
  • Raising $31 million to build an inclusive, state-of-the-art innovation center to meet critical needs for lab space, STEM training, and innovation hub space with first-floor retail to revitalize the Virginia Bio+Tech Park.
  • Designing a long-needed educational and support program, Frontier BioHealth, to provide highly specialized training, targeted mentorship, and relationship building to help scale pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device, and health-focused consumer products companies.
  • Building a strong brand image for Activation Capital.

“At heart, I’m a builder, and what I do well, I have done,” said Briggman. “The opportunity to contribute to Activation Capital and the Central Virginia community has been a highlight of my career. It gave me an opportunity to sharpen the organization’s strategy, secure the growth capital necessary to flourish and align every action with a mission-centric outcome. Together, we built a team of experts who are focused on execution and excellence during the next phase of Activation Capital. My goal was always to create the team, prove our model, and then transition to the next opportunity to build.”

An interim president/CEO will be named soon. And a search for a permanent executive will be conducted.

“Chandra is a builder and visionary, and as a result, Activation Capital has grown to be something much bigger than it was before she joined,” said Rao. “We are grateful for her unwavering commitment, passion, and guidance that she brought to her critical work at Activation Capital and the legacy of innovation she has created for our region.” 

About Activation Capital

Activation Capital is a leading innovation ecosystem development organization that provides social, knowledge, and financial capital to clusters, entrepreneur support organizations, and entrepreneurs, accelerating their progress through development and maturation. Activation Capital, an independent authority of the Commonwealth of Virginia, is on a mission to grow life sciences and other advanced technology innovation by promoting scientific research, commercialization, and ecosystem development that attracts and creates 21st-century jobs and companies. It operates the 34-acre Virginia Bio+Tech Park – the hub of life science and technology innovations in Central Virginia. It oversees the Cluster Accelerator for Advanced Pharmaceutical R&D and Manufacturing and supports developing and expanding the region’s startup ecosystem. For more information, visit




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