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To Stay On Top, The U.S. Must Invest In Research Universities

March 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Everywhere you look around the world we see investments in the future which recognize what the 21st Century will look like. Isn’t it about time we did the same?

From Forbes, by Craig Barrett:

“The road to economic success has been pretty bumpy so far this century. Over-speculation in real estate, excessive government spending, unfunded and unaffordable pensions, the collapse of financial institutions, and the worldwide competition for jobs have all exacted their toll. As individuals, companies and countries search for something magical to promote a competitive future, there is strong evidence that the ultimate wealth-creating machine is something created here in America and increasingly being noticed and copied by the rest of the world.

That something is the American research university, where a unique blend of the best and brightest students from around the world, top quality professors with aggressive research programs, and a close association with private industry has combined to spin off entrepreneurs with bright ideas for the next generation products, services, and new companies. Look no farther than Stanford and UC Berkeley as the catalysts for Silicon Valley, or MIT as the parent for thousands of start-up companies along Route 128 in Massachusetts. Sure, other countries have their prestigious universities, but none matches ours when it comes down to spinning off smart people with smart ideas and the resultant wealth creation.

Have others noticed this phenomenon? Certainly the answer is yes…”

READ FULL ARTICLE [web]

Allied Minds Creates Unique Crowdsourcing Website for Commercializing University Technology

March 14, 2012 Leave a comment

What would you do with plastic batteries or silver ink pens that write electric circuits?

From MarketWatch:

“A private equity firm that invests in university-derived inventions, Allied Minds, Inc. today (3/7/2012) announced the creation of AlliedMindStorm.com, an open innovation website that invites the public (Thinkers) to brainstorm new commercial applications around exciting technologies (Challenges) developed by researchers at universities across the country. Any “Thinker” whose specific application of the technology results in a new startup will receive $25,000. In addition, smaller prizes will be given out for best-in-class suggestions.

“Allied MindStorm represents the manifestation of our firm’s mission: we want a diverse community of people working together to transform invention into innovation,” Allied Minds CEO Chris Silva said. “Although our primary goal is to create new businesses based around the best suggestions we receive, our ultimate motivation is changing the way the public thinks about how technology evolves from an idea into a commercial application.”

Hundreds of American universities market thousands of technology inventions to investment firms each year. Many of these are technologies with obvious commercial uses. Some of the most ambitious and intriguing research, however, gets passed over because of too many unanswered question about what is the best application to develop a sustainable product or service. Allied MindStorm.com is the first crowdsourcing platform within the institutional investment industry designed to answer these questions in order to commercialize research more efficiently…”

READ FULL ARTICLE [web]
Allied MindStorm [web]
Allied Minds [web]

U. Washington Launches Startup Incubator, Aims to Double Startups in Three Years

February 21, 2012 Leave a comment

The W Fund plans to invest $250,000 to $500,000 in about 25 to 30 early-stage companies over the next five years, focusing efforts on upstarts that have strong ties to research universities in the state.

From UW:

“The University of Washington today (2/8/2012) unveiled a new business incubator that will provide startup businesses access to critical lab and office space on the UW campus for their work.

The incubator is one key element in a larger commercialization initiative announced by President Michael Young today that will double the number of startups produced by the UW – from an average of 10 a year to 20 – during the next three years.

The UW Center for Commercialization New Ventures Facility, which opened today, showcases the UW’s commitment to spinning out an increasing number of companies built around UW research. The incubator will be led by the UW Center for Commercialization New Ventures program and is located in UW’s Fluke Hall.

The space will initially host 15 companies and when finished will have space for 25 startups, providing 11,500 square feet of lab space and 11,500 square feet of office space…”

READ FULL ARTICLE [web]
NEW VENTURES FACILITY [web]
U. of Washington Center for Commercialization [web]

U. Of Michigan’s B-School Awards $90,000 to Student Startups

February 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Fashion Forward Maternity Receives $22,500 for Online Maternity Fashion Concept; Finalist @Fingertips Receives $26,000 in Prizes and Grants for Touchscreen Devices for the Blind

From UM:

The Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business today announced the winners of the 2012 Michigan Business Challenge and recipients of the Applebaum Dare to Dream Grants and Mayleben Family Venture Shaping Grants for U-M student startups. Award winners and grant recipients received funding totaling nearly $90,000 for innovative new business concepts and compelling business plans. Several teams will go on to compete at intercollegiate business plan competitions where winning Michigan teams in 2011 brought home $326,350 in prize money and services.

“The Michigan Business Challenge and Dare to Dream grant program exemplify how the Zell Lurie Institute connect students from multiple disciplines and provide teams with the support and resources needed for the development of nascent business ideas into compelling business plans with the potential to launch,” said Tom Kinnear, executive director of the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. “This multi-faceted, learn-do approach prepares entrepreneurially ambitious students with life-long entrepreneurial skills and connects them with key individuals important to their career pursuits…”

Top 3 winners:

  • The Pryor-Hale Award for Best Business for $20,000 went to Fashion Forward Maternity – a socially responsible online boutique where savvy professional women can borrow high quality and designer maternity and nursing fashions at a fraction of the price of new.
  • Runner-up for $10,000 to Converge Medical Technologies – a medical device company that develops patient brain function monitoring solutions through principles of neuroscience.
  • Erb Award for Environmental and Social Sustainability for $7,500 to @Fingertips – a for-profit social-entrepreneurial company that builds devices enabling the blind to use modern touchscreen devices.

READ FULL ARTICLE [web]
Zell Lurie Institute fro Entrepreneurial Studies [web]
Michigan Business Challenge [web]

How to Kill a University Spin Out

January 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Transferring research technology into a startup requires a process approach as the path from the lab to the market, from raw technology to product, is long and risky.

Great insight from Babs Carryer, New Venturist:

“There are lots of ways to screw up in entrepreneurship. There are particular challenges in commercializing university technologies. Getting from the lab to the marketplace, from benchtop to bedside, is fraught with many valleys of death. This is the first of a series of posts about those pitfalls. In this post I describe three case studies of real things that happened to real people around intellectual property, founder partnerships, and the interaction between business and science people.

Background. In my work with Carnegie Mellon’s Project Olympus, for which I fill the role of Embedded Entrepreneur, and in my past as co-founder and President of LaunchCyte, I have worked closely with academic researchers and faculty inventors. My goal is to commercialize breakthrough innovations into startup companies that develop products, provide jobs, and, hopefully, create wealth (so that we can do this all over again).

While there is much literature out there for budding entrepreneurs, I find that the material is not suited to academic entrepreneurs. I define academic entrepreneurship as commercialization stemming from deep technical research conducted within an academic institution. Academic entrepreneurship is the process of bringing to market the innovations discovered in the academic laboratories. There are two commercialization options for academic entrepreneurs: licensing to an existing company or creating a startup. My focus is on the latter…”

READ FULL ARTICLE [web]
Project Olympus [web]
LaunchCyte [web]
CMU’s Tech Transfer Center [web]

J&J Opens San Diego Biotech Startup Center

January 20, 2012 Leave a comment

J&J has been moving quickly the past few months on a new initiative to help biotech startups get up and running…

From Xconomy:

“Johnson & Johnson’s West Coast research leader, Diego Miralles, has met with a lot of biotech entrepreneurs who are curious about what J&J is doing to foster more startups at its facility in San Diego. At some point, a skeptical question usually comes up.

“What’s the catch?” Miralles says he’s sometimes asked.

He insists there isn’t any catch.

“We are genuinely trying to help the industry,” Miralles said last week in a meeting at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. “We think helping the biotech industry helps us. We strongly believe that a rising tide lifts all ships.”

J&J (NYSE: JNJ), which is based in New Brunswick, NJ, has been moving quickly the past few months on a new initiative to help biotech startups get up and running, through its new 30,000 square foot Janssen Labs startup space on the Torrey Pines Mesa. As Bruce first reported here in October, the idea is to create a space at J&J’s facility where 18-20 fledgling companies can get modern lab space, supplies, professional facilities management, and equipment that is supposed to free up the entrepreneurs to focus more on their science…”

READ FULL ARTICLE [web]
Press Release (including list of first startup residents) [web]
Janssen Labs at San Diego [web]

Universities in Innovation Networks

January 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Universities play a vital and extensive role in driving innovation in the United States. They offer a vast research base (a total of $50 billion nationwide), the ability to teach and develop a fresh new workforce (3 million graduates each year), goodwill of successful alumni, the ability to convene disparate expertise, and a deep commitment to local communities.

From Center for American Progress:

“The United States is known for its innovativeness and entrepreneurial spirit. Between half and three-quarters, or even more, of all economic growth in the last half-century can be tied to technological innovation, depending on which study you use. Yet in the last few decades, measures increasingly demonstrate that the United States is falling perilously behind in innovation.

When we think of technological innovation, we think of inventors, entrepreneurs, and corporations joining novel ideas with financial capital and market opportunities. Efforts to increase innovation should help support circumstances for the private sector to bring new products and services to market. The spark of technological innovation, however, often begins well before the opportunity is obvious or attractive to private sector. As a result, the partnership between the U.S. government’s funding of research in the nation’s public and private universities plays a larger role than most observers recognize.

Universities play a vital and extensive role in driving innovation in the United States. They offer a vast research base (a total of $50 billion nationwide), the ability to teach and develop a fresh new workforce (3 million graduates each year), goodwill of successful alumni, the ability to convene disparate expertise, and a deep commitment to local communities. Universities have been important players to date, and we have an opportunity to further nurture these vibrant ecologies to sustainably generate greater innovation and economic growth…”

READ FULL ARTICLE [web
READ THE REPORT [web]
Report’s Author, Krisztina Holly @KrisztinaHolly [twitter]