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…”
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…”
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.
“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…”
Harvard Accelerator Program, Proving Its Mettle with Startups and Pharma Partnerships, Looks to Raise Big New Fund
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.
“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…”
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]
DHJ Center for Entrepreneurship [web]
Project Olympus [web]
Open Field Entrepreneurs Fund announcement [web]
Martin Lehr, Osage University Partners, takes an in-depth look at UPenn’s UPSTART business model as an example of a growing trend in academic tech-transfer offices to facilitate early stage startup formation and incubation.
The main thrust of UPStart is to mature technologies to a point where they can attract private investment or be licensed to a corporate partner. To do that, UPStart offers a robust service offering to aspiring entrepreneurial faculty members and their co-founders.
Read Full Article [web]
Osage Partners [web]
From OUP’s press release:
BALA CYNWYD, PA—(Marketwire – February 24, 2011) – Osage University Partners announces the final closing of Osage University Partners I, achieving its target fund size of $100 million. The novel venture capital fund has affiliated with leading universities to make direct investments in their most promising startup companies.
Osage University Partners has created a unique model through which it manages the coinvestment rights held by its affiliated universities. These coinvestment rights provide Osage with contractual access to invest in the future financings of some of the most promising startup companies that have licensed technology from these universities. Affiliate universities then share in Osage’s profit and can use their proceeds to stimulate further educational, research and commercialization initiatives. [read full article]
Osage University Partners [web]