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Can the U.S. Government “Out-Startup” Silicon Valley?

October 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Lean LaunchPad, Steve Blank, Stanford and the Nat’l Science Foundation Set Out to Prove They Can Starting Sunday, Oct. 9

From BusinessWire:

“One hundred of the best U.S. scientists and engineers are about to start one of the most exciting science experiments ever attempted — can you turn Rocket Scientists into startup founders? It might be called the U.S. Government versus tech incubators like Y-Combinator, as the National Science Foundation (NSF) creates a full-fledged incubator, complete with mentoring, for 100 teams of top engineers and scientists.

The National Science Foundation, which funds all non-medical science and engineering research in the U.S., is giving out 18,000 grants a year — with a $7 billion annual budget for innovation. This new Innovation-Corps program will infuse “startup” culture, training and mentoring for the best science and engineering funded by NSF–taking the best projects out of the science labs and universities to speed privatization and job creation, following the path of incubators like TechStars and Y-Combinator…”

READ FULL ARTICLE [web]
NSF I-Corps Program [web]
I-Corps 1st Round of Awardees Announced [web]
Stanford Technology Ventures Program [web]
I-Corps introduction by Steve Blank [web]

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How University of Michigan executives resolved their clash over startup investments

October 7, 2011 Leave a comment

The analysis examined the performance of the university’s startups over the past 30 years — including the 104 spinoff companies launched by the U-M Technology Transfer Office over the last decade. U-M analyzed how the university’s endowment would have performed if it had invested in those startups at an early stage.

From AnnArbor.com:

“The University of Michigan’s decision to invest up to $25 million in its own startup companies offers a telling glimpse at how the university is balancing its investment pursuits with a stated desire to boost the economy.

The move also revealed a private debate in which U-M executives clashed over whether the university’s own spinoff companies were worthy of cash.

U-M President Mary Sue Coleman announced Wednesday morning that U-M’s $7.8 billion endowment would deliver up to $500,000 to every early-stage U-M startup that has already secured venture capital from an outside source.

It’s an admission that the university has missed out on past investment opportunities that would have helped its own startup companies expand — and earned the university’s endowment big financial returns…”

READ FULL ARTICLE [web]
University of Michigan startups [web]
University of Michigan Announces Initiative to Invest Endowment $$ into Startups [web]

Harvard Accelerator Program, Proving Its Mettle with Startups and Pharma Partnerships, Looks to Raise Big New Fund

August 29, 2011 Leave a comment

The five-year goal for the Accelerator Fund is for one or two drug candidates born from Harvard research to be in Phase 1 clinical trials, and for at least one of the program’s startups to enter into exit talks with another company.

From Xconomy:

“The Accelerator Fund, which Xconomy wrote about in early 2008, was created to help Harvard scientists commercialize their inventions by forming industry partnerships, licensing technology, and starting new companies, primarily in life sciences and biomedical fields. As technology development head and senior associate provost Isaac Kohlberg puts it, “The pipelines of Harvard were empty.” The school “suffered from a branding issue with stakeholders about the role of technology development,” he says.

Kohlberg and his team, which includes Curtis Keith, chief scientific officer of the Accelerator Fund, were brought in to overhaul Harvard’s tech transfer and development offices…”

READ FULL ARTICLE [web]
Harvard’s Office of Technology Development [web]
Technology Development Accelerator Fund [web]

ASU Student entrepreneur initiative applications increase 32 percent

June 24, 2011 Leave a comment

The Edson Initiative — which offers student teams funding, office space, mentorship and training to accelerate their venture concepts — attracted 250 applications in 2011, a 32 percent increase over the 190 entries the previous year

From ASU:

“In only its sixth year, the unique Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative at Arizona State University experienced significant growth in interest in 2011 – further evidence of the growing entrepreneurial spirit at the university.

The Edson Initiative — which offers student teams funding, office space, mentorship and training to accelerate their venture concepts — attracted 250 applications in 2011, a 32 percent increase over the 190 entries the previous year. More than $1.2 million has been awarded to student teams during the life of the program and more than $200,000 will be granted to the student teams chosen this year. The program is one of the largest privately funded business plan competitions at a U.S. university…”

READ FULL ARTICLE [web]
ASU SkySong [web]
Entrepreneurship at ASU [web]

Carnegie Mellon Launches “Greenlighting Startups” Initiative

June 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Greenlighting Startups, a portfolio of five new and existing campus incubators, is uniquely designed to further speed the organic growth of company creation at CMU.

“The CMU initiative creates multiple portals through which the university can help turn research from award-winning professors and world-class students into thriving companies that provide new jobs and solve real-world problems. With Greenlighting Startups, CMU will be in a stronger position to serve as an engine for commercializing innovation, job growth and new business creation.”

Greenlighting Startups groups include the Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation (CTTEC); the Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship; Project Olympus; Quality of Life Technology Foundry; and the Open Field Entrepreneurs Fund (OFEF).

Read full press release [web]

CMU’s “Five Percent, Go in Peace” plan standardizes licensing terms for startups [web]
CTTEC [web]
DHJ Center for Entrepreneurship [web]
Project Olympus [web]
Open Field Entrepreneurs Fund announcement [web]

Fits and startups: Is university tech transfer flawed?

May 16, 2011 Leave a comment

The Salt Lake Tribune reports on the Technology Commercialization Office of the University of Utah, its recent startup stats, and current business model…

Since 2005, the U. has aggressively pushed technology into the marketplace, using graduate students to develop business plans, help faculty turn inventions into products and in many cases, establishing the businesses and pursuing grants. The process is shrouded in secrecy because of confidentiality agreements, yet the TCO operates outside of a policy framework and with limited faculty oversight.

Meanwhile, some entrepreneurs who want to license technology complain that the TCO is slow to propose terms, costing them precious time and sweat. When the terms finally come, entrepreneurs say, the terms won’t sustain a successful business.

Comments posted by SLT readers are an interesting read as well.

Read Full SLT Article [web]
U. of Utah TCO [web]
Announcing U. of Utah record startup stats [web]
Article: Utah’s experiment in U. tech-transfer [web]
U. Utah TechVentures model [web; pdf]

Connecticut Considers New Bills to Support Tech-Transfer

April 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Connecticut state legislators are proposing several bills to increase the state’s supporting role in technology transfer and regional entrepreneurship…

With a growing desire to boost technology transfer efforts in Connecticut, lawmakers are considering several bills that aim to encourage the commercialization of dormant research or technology sitting on the shelves of universities and corporations.

The measures include creating an Intellectual Property Factory that would fund university-mentored student teams that work to commercialize research and technology held, but ignored by Connecticut-based companies. [more]

Full article [Hartford Business Journal]
UCONN Tech Knowledge Portal [web]
Yale Technology Transfer [web]