Tech Transfer Central
Industry-Sponsored Research Management

Escaping the Valley of Death: Overcome the Funding Gap for Early-Stage University IP

Format: CD or as MP3 download
Originally presented: January 23, 2008

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Over 400 tech transfer professionals listened live on January 23! Now you can hear every word of this important 90-minute conference, digitally recorded, on either a CD or via online audiostream, plus access to all handouts.

As you know, one of the greatest perils in technology transfer is the “Valley of Death,” the vast desert filled with the carcasses of great innovations that became literally cash-starved before reaching the oasis of commercial viability.

Money to feed these “starving” but promising inventions is tighter than ever. A continuing squeeze on federal and private research funding, combined with the trend toward later-stage and “safer” investments among VCs and other investors, has made it increasingly difficult to secure the gap funding your researchers need. So how can you find the dollars needed to nourish your innovations beyond the lab into patenting, prototyping, proof of concept, and on the path toward commercialization?

A growing number of creative tech transfer experts are implementing new funding strategies to bridge the monetary void and nurturing more IP toward successful commercialization than ever before. To help you and your fellow tech transfer professionals bridge the funding gap, we’ve assembled an expert panel of technology management veterans, who’ll share the details of these gap funding strategies so you can adapt them in your own institution — and avoid the Valley of Death.

Escaping the Valley of Death:
Overcome the Funding Gap for Early-Stage University IP

In this recording of the original live audioconference — produced by Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter — you’ll learn how to create new internal funding mechanisms as well as tap into outside sources of support so you can keep your promising early-stage technologies from dying on the vine. You’ll come away with dozens of practical ideas and strategies you can implement in your organization, and get the critical dollars you need to cultivate high-potential research and bring it to the next level.

Get the funds you need to take more research out of the lab and into the market!

In this 90-minute session, you’ll get expert guidance and proven methods for boosting early-stage financial support and getting more of your researchers’ inventions out of the lab and into the marketplace.

We’ll cover:

  • establishing university venture funds
  • building alumni angel networks
  • “option” funds and other risk-reduction strategies
  • in-house seed, validation, marketing, and other “springboard” awards
  • self-sustaining fundraising campaigns
  • SBIR/STTR bridge funding programs
  • “first-look” investor forums
  • finding VCs with an early-stage focus
  • new sponsored research models
  • researcher royalty reinvestment programs
  • tapping into regional economic development funding
  • incubation strategies
  • using “virtual” incubators
  • getting to early-stage milestones: technology and market validation
  • and much, much more!

Meet Your Expert Panel

Allen J. Dines is Assistant Director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Office of Corporate Relations (OCR), where he assists the business community in accessing the diverse resources of the university. As Assistant Director, he also serves as Program Manager for OCR’s entrepreneurship programs including its Startup Initiative and the UW-Madison Kauffman Campus-wide Entrepreneurship program. Mr. Dines joined UW-Madison in 2001, bringing with him more than 25 years of experience in industry and technology management. He founded, grew and sold two biotech startups, and in his initial position at the university he served as Assistant Director for Business Development, where his major focus was commercialization of university technology through startup business development. In 2002, Mr. Dines co-founded the Midwest Research University Network (MRUN), an alliance of Midwest research institutions dedicated to regional cooperation in the commercialization of university research through new business creation.

N. Stephen Ober, MD, MBA, is Director of New Ventures in Boston University’s Office of Technology Development (OTD) and is responsible for managing BU’s venture creation process for faculty spin-off companies. The program includes several early-stage award programs, gap-funding programs, a venture capital fund, and an incubator facility. Prior to joining BU in 2004, Dr. Ober was president of biotech company BG-Medicine, Inc., which he co-founded after serving as president and chief executive officer of Synergy, a successful health information and data management company. Prior to Synergy, Dr. Ober spent five years as executive vice president and corporate medical director of Private Health Care Systems (PHCS), one of the largest national managed care companies in the country.

Matt Thomas is Director of Business Development for the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA), where he promotes technology transfer and commercialization for Jefferson Lab and more than 60 SURA member universities’ inventions and technologies. Among other new initiatives, he created the SURAfund program, designed to bridge the “valley of death” by providing seed-stage equity investments linking university start-ups with VC partners across the country. In addition to pursuing licensing opportunities and start-up companies centered around promising new technologies, he also identifies and establishes relationships with business partners for joint research and development across all SURA program areas. Before joining SURA in 2002, Mr. Thomas was the Chief Operating Officer at Sydcor Enterprises, an Austin, TX-based start-up company providing supply chain and inventory management services to Dell Computer Corp.

Who Should Listen

Technology transfer managers and professionals, licensing specialists, research managers, venture development managers, IP consultants, VC execs, angels, investment bankers, economic development officers, incubator directors, and others with an interest in early-stage technology funding.

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