Tech Transfer eNews Blog
Technology Transfer Tactics sample issue

Raise the bar for new venture creation to fuel start-ups with lasting power


By David Schwartz
Published: July 22nd, 2014

It’s no secret that the business of start-ups is fraught with risk and uncertainty. Most statistics suggest that there is a better than even chance that a new company will sputter before reaching its fifth year. However, new metrics from the University of Colorado’s (CU) technology transfer office strongly suggest that there are ways to significantly outperform these odds when launching new, technology-driven companies.

The TTO reports that 132 companies based on CU technologies have been formed over the past two decades, and of these, all but 27 are still operational or have been acquired by other companies. Further, an analysis conducted by the Colorado Innovation Network (CIN) suggests that for the companies formed with CU technologies between 1996 and 2006, an impressive 82% have endured at least five years — a much higher rate than what was observed nationally (48%) during this period, according to the CIN analysis.

What’s the secret to establishing start-ups with lasting power? Kate Tallman, the interim associate vice president for technology transfer at CU, maintains there is no magic bullet, but she credits CU’s success in this area, at least in part, to a keen understanding of what the university’s role in the innovation ecosystem should be. “What I see happening is a lot of investments by universities in robust start-up infrastructure and trying to drive their start-up communities,” she says. “I think one of the keys to our success is that the TTO understands that our role is to be a feeder.”

Another key to CU’s success in the start-up arena is that the state has been generous in providing proof-of-concept funding so that university biomedical discoveries, in particular, can be developed to the point where they are healthy and attractive for commercialization. “We have developed more than $20 million in proof-of-concept funding (a vast majority of the dollars going to biomedical companies) since 2007 on CU projects and companies, with nearly $11 million of that coming from state matching funds,” explains Rick Silva,the senior director of technology transfer for CU’s Denver and Anschutz Medical Campus office. “That money enhances the validation package underlying the technology of many companies. Thus, they are well-positioned for SBIR [Small Business Innovation Research] funds. Our spinouts have won $60 million in SBIR/STTR funding since the CU proof of concept programs were initiated in 2007.”

Silva adds that the TTO strongly encourages suitors to establish a commercial driver before taking a license. “This is usually a founder who is incentivized by common stock and the potential of a salary once SBIR and small business grants are obtained,” he says. “This deters premature start-ups.”

Another tactic that deters start-up formation from occurring too early: the TTO pushes hard for new companies to assume the financial responsibility for patents. “This means most investor-founders don’t start the company until it is ready to take on some true business responsibility,” says Silva.

Tallman adds that CU has optimized a staged agreement process that helps to ensure that potential founders have met a set of conditions before they can exercise option rights and move to a license. This helps to put new companies on a solid footing, she says. A detailed article on what’s behind CU’s success in creating sustainable start-ups appears in the July issue of Technology Transfer Tactics. To subscribe and access the complete article, as well as the publication’s subscriber only archive filled with hundreds of success strategies for TTOs, CLICK HERE

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Big patent troll loses infringement case as Alice Corp. ruling takes hold


By David Schwartz
Published: July 22nd, 2014

One of the biggest patent trolls in U.S. recently lost a major infringement case after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled its patent was too abstract. continue reading »

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Don’t miss it tomorrow: How to Build and Nurture an Innovation District


By David Schwartz
Published: July 22nd, 2014

With economic development now firmly established as a key priority for most Tech Transfer Offices, a growing number of offices are investing significant time and resources into collaborating with local stakeholders on the creation of vibrant innovation districts. These large-scale projects require intimate cooperation with local governments, business leaders and real estate developers — and the results can be breathtaking. But successfully creating the partnerships, plans, funding channels, and support for these efforts is anything but simple, and requires long-term vision and commitment. That’s why we’ve scheduled webinar “How to Build and Nurture an Innovation District,” coming TOMORROW, July 24th.

This timely program features the leaders of innovation district initiative at both Georgia Tech the University of New Mexico. In this case study style program, Stephen Fleming, Vice President of the Enterprise Innovation Institute at Georgia Tech, and Lisa Kuuttila, CEO & Chief Economic Development Officer at STC.UNM, the tech transfer and economic development arm of the University of New Mexico, will share the specific strategies and tactics that must underlie efforts to build and grow a vibrant innovation district. For complete program details and to register, CLICK HERE.

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Study finds crowdfunding can be an effective tool for early-stage research


By David Schwartz
Published: July 22nd, 2014

A new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia suggests that crowdfunding could become a successful avenue for helping to take early-stage research to market. The study analyzed 97 crowdfunding campaigns that set out to support work in cancer and rare diseases — two fields for which government and VC funding has recently declined. continue reading »

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Choosing the right crowdfunding approach for your start-up


By David Schwartz
Published: July 22nd, 2014

In his recent guest post for BetaBoston, Lee Hower of Boston VC firm NextView Ventures breaks down the different ways crowdfunding can be harnessed by start-ups, and how to choose which approach is right for your company. continue reading »

Crowdfunding for University Start-Ups in 2014: Opportunities and Risks ~ Learn exactly how the recently amended Jobs Act affects solicitation of funds from investors and what opportunities the proposed Regulation A+ will bring. Click here for details >>

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Why more start-ups are running their own crowdfunding campaigns


By David Schwartz
Published: July 22nd, 2014

In her recent post for Entrepreneur, Sally Outlaw, CEO and co-founder of peerbackers and Crowdcast Network, discusses the rising trend among start-ups of launching and managing their own crowdfunding campaigns without the assistance of a well-known third-party platform. continue reading »

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Florida Atlantic U licenses technology to block texting while driving


By David Schwartz
Published: July 22nd, 2014

Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and PortNexus, a South Florida-based tech company, have entered into an exclusive licensing agreement to develop and commercialize a patent that will potentially save lives on the road by blocking the driver’s cell phone activity. continue reading »

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U of Utah to build Google-style residence hall for entrepreneurial students


By David Schwartz
Published: July 22nd, 2014

The University of Utah is building a residence hall where entrepreneurial students can both live and work, similar to the headquarters of Facebook and Google. The new Lassonde Studios is part of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, a division of the University of Utah’s Eccles School of Business. On the ground floor of the residence, a 20,000-square-foot workspace called the “garage” will be open 24 hours a day to offer students 3D printers and space to build prototypes. continue reading »

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Reference offers full-text biotech license agreements for benchmarking, market comparables


By David Schwartz
Published: July 22nd, 2014

Valuation, royalty rate, and other deal term benchmarks are vital tools when it comes to negotiating license agreements in the biotech industry. But specific contract details and market comparables are hard to come by, and the research required is time-consuming at best.

In the Royalty Rates in Biotech: BVR’s Guide to Full-Text Licensing Agreements, we’ve gathered over 500 pages of full-text copies of actual licensing agreements in the biotech industry. These hard-to-find agreements provide valuable guidance for valuing your IP, setting royalty rates, arriving at workable deal terms, and addressing a host of other complex issues in your agreements. With access to the complete licensing agreement text — many of which involve university licensors — you’ll have critical real-world data and templates to help ensure you receive optimum value for your valuable IP. The guide is filled with real-deal information and comprehensive transaction details.

For complete details or to order, CLICK HERE.

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U of Alabama start-up uses material found in shrimp shells to extract uranium from the ocean


By David Schwartz
Published: July 22nd, 2014

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded a University of Alabama (UA) start-up approximately $1.5 million to develop an alternative material to potentially extract uranium from the ocean. continue reading »

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Washington State U start-up develops method to grow trees three times faster


By David Schwartz
Published: July 22nd, 2014

A Washington State University (WSU) start-up has developed a method to grow trees three times faster while saving water and reducing the need for pesticides. continue reading »

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Comings and goings


By David Schwartz
Published: July 22nd, 2014

University Research Park (URP) at the University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison has selected Aaron Olver, head of the city of Madison’s economic development office, to serve as managing director starting September 8th. “Aaron has extensive experience as a leader on economic development in the Madison region and across the state,” says Rebecca Blank, chancellor at UW-Madison and chairwoman of the research park’s board of trustees. “He has the skills to lead University Research Park as it grows and changes.” Opened in 1984, URP houses 126 start-ups based on UW-Madison technologies, which together employ 3,600 people. In addition to the main campus, Olver will oversee development of URP’s second campus, which was launched in 2009. Source: Wisconsin State Journal

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