What would you do with plastic batteries or silver ink pens that write electric circuits?
“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…”
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.
“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…”
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
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.
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…”
J&J has been moving quickly the past few months on a new initiative to help biotech startups get up and running…
“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…”
New Technology Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to Promote Entrepreneurship, Commercialization and Start-Up Creation for Heterogeneous Computing.
“SUNNYVALE, CA, Jan 17, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) — AMD AMD +0.71% today announced the first AMD Fusion Center of Innovation at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, designed to focus on the innovative developer environment and software performance advancements enabled by heterogeneous computing. The center will fund, mentor and promote new commercial enterprises emerging from the vast intellectual property and research expertise in the University of Illinois community. The University has been a hotbed of new start-ups since the creation of the first widespread web browser — Mosaic — developed by Marc Andreessen in 1992. Through access to AMD Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) technology and platforms, the AMD Fusion Center of Innovation will help bridge access to new AMD heterogeneous computing technology with the innovative spirit stimulated and nurtured on campus.
To kick-off the AMD Fusion Center of Innovation, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is offering a course aimed at kindling the spirit of entrepreneurship by bringing a mix of expert speakers to cover the specifics of AMD heterogeneous computing technology, while also providing invaluable, how-to background on entrepreneurship, commercialization and start-up creation. This course will be offered by the university’s College of Engineering, Technology Entrepreneur Center (TEC), as “ENG/TE 360/460: Lectures in Engineering Entrepreneurship AMD Section…”
NYC plays catch-up to create centers, attract venture capital.
From Crain’s NY Business:
“In recent years, the Bloomberg administration and its partners in academia and business have worked to overcome barriers to commercial biotech, from lack of space to lack of funding. The focus is now turning to what some consider the most difficult obstacle: a scarcity of entrepreneurial instinct in a medical-science community that widely thinks “going commercial” means to succumb to the dark side. From networking and pitching events to mentoring, advocates are trying to build the kind of startup ecosystem that has helped make the city’s Internet industry the fastest growing in the country.
“Innovation is a mindset; it’s a culture,” said Jonathan Lewis, a former Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center surgeon, and founder and CEO of Manhattan-based cancer-drug developer Ziopharm Oncology Inc. “It’s been applied to high-tech, and now it has to be applied to biotech.”
It remains to be seen whether such efforts can replicate here what developed organically in biotech hot spots like Boston and San Francisco. Venture capitalists expect that it will take years, along with a string of successful companies and a coterie of seasoned biotech entrepreneurs who can invest in and mentor the next generation of startups…”