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What led to the success? Nappi cites five factors:
1. Sell Different. Temple business students work with inventors to target companies and make sure that the technology in question is getting to the desk of the person who needs it. The collaboration between business students and inventors may not be novel, but Nappi says they have gone beyond the norm to create a strong partnership with the entire business school to better package technologies, assess commercial potential, and build business plans. PureNano Technologies (http://www.purenanotek.com/), which won the Be Your Own Boss Bowl at the Temple University Fox School of Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute, is a product of the collaboration between inventors at Temple and Fox graduate students. By putting the two together, a group won enough cash, professional services and products to launch the company.
Another group, Enterprise Management Consulting (EMC), works with Temple inventors to develop full ready-for-market business plans. “We aren’t just approaching companies with a one-pager,” says Nappi. “We are trying to better package the technology so that we can really demonstrate the potential values.”
2. Use What’s There. Along with boosting licensing dollars, Nappi says his office has also been concentrating on developing more start-ups, and the key to that endeavor is taking advantage of some of Philadelphia’s business assets. “Philadelphia has a lot of great resources, and we partner with them. That helps us develop the risk, advance our technologies, and form new ventures.” Among the local resources are BioStrategy Partners (http://www.biostrategypartners.org/ — on whose board Nappi sits), a virtual life sciences incubator that helps bring the right expertise to the table with inventors and assists in formulating the right business and development milestones to achieve commercialization. University City Science Center has a similar program called QED that helps bring the right business expertise to specific technologies.
3. Remember What You Have. While new licenses are great, Nappi says maximizing value from active licenses is also important. The Temple OTD is adding a licensing manager position to focus on deal making and maintenance with a goal of leveraging more business from existing relationships.
4. Look for What’s New. Social media is a factor in the increasing success at Temple, says Nappi. Senior Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Education Ken Blank, PhD, uses LinkedIn, specifically, to market innovations. “This is still preliminary, but we have received increased contacts through LinkedIn,” Nappi says. “There is little cost, and we’ll monitor it to see its impact.” Twitter may be on the horizon, too, he adds.
5. Remember The Internal Customer. Outreach within the wider Temple community has also jump-started revenues. When Blank came to the university, Nappi says, he made it a point to physically visit every single department to talk about the Office of Technology Development and Commercialization. “He built face-to-face awareness that brings [research] to us that we might not have seen,” he notes. For example, Nappi cites agricultural technology that might never have been commercialized had Blank not done his walkabout. That success likewise bolstered awareness among other departments of the potential for their innovations as commercial ideas. “This awareness has directly increased invention submissions to our office,” Nappi says. There were 44 inventions submitted this fiscal year, compared to an average of 30 per year over the previous five fiscal years. “We have also hosted distinguished speakers, organized commercialization workshops, and participated in faculty orientations to increase awareness.”
The increase in invention disclosures is also being fueled by a significant increase in research activity. Temple had $97.9 million in sponsored research expenditures in fiscal year 2010 – a figure that was projected to increase to $130 million for the just-ended fiscal year. “While these milestones certainly represent important momentum for Temple, we are focused on reaching much larger goals,” Nappi declares.
He concludes that for Temple, “the difference is having an innovation and entrepreneurship institute willing to take the technology, pull an MBA team together and help that team build a business plan. That willingness to work together towards the common goal is vital, and the impact is incredible.”
Contact Nappi at 215-204-5293 or email@example.com.
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