Tech Transfer eNews Blog

UW-Madison launches venture studio plus searchable database for entrepreneurial resources on campus


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 18th, 2020

The University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison and WARF are building out new programs for innovators as the school attempts to match its start-up successes with WARF’s long history of licensing successes. The university has launched a new searchable database to help students and faculty members connect with the school’s entrepreneurial resources, and at the same time is setting up a new venture studio to support start-ups founded by students and faculty members.

The database, “Start In UW-Madison,” features a robust search engine to help aspiring entrepreneurs explore university programs that support innovation in a range of fields such as healthcare, clean tech, food science, and biomanufacturing. The database is searchable by university audience, type of business assistance, industry specialization, and many other categories.

Discovery to Product (D2P), a commercialization support arm of UW-Madison and WARF, launched Start In as a “one stop shop” for campus entrepreneurs. The database is available on the schools Innovation Network website, which brings together news, events, and resources from over 30 university-based entrepreneurship programs.

“A key part of D2P’s mission is to serve as the front door for faculty, staff and students to help find and connect with resources,” says D2P Director Andy Richards. “Start In UW-Madison really allows us to showcase the wide range of incredible resources and expertise available right here on the UW–Madison campus, supporting innovators from all corners of the university.”

Meanwhile, UW-Madison’s new venture studio — launching in partnership with the WARF and the Indianapolis-based accelerator High Alpha Innovation — combines a team of experienced entrepreneurs with a pool of capital to provide hands-on support and funding to select start-ups.

“The goal of the studio is to launch scalable and venture-backed companies off our campus,” says Greg Keenan, WARF’s senior director of ventures & accelerators. “If the studio isn’t spinning out companies, it will not be successful.”

The studio will launch one new start-up this spring through a “sprint week” of intensive competition between up to five top ventures, with each team compressing the first six months of a company’s build-out into four days.

“A venture studio is all in, in terms of both capital invested in the start-ups it creates as well as the support it provides to those start-ups,” says Elliott Parker, CEO of High Alpha Innovation. “It is intense because we know, at the end of the week, that we’re putting real time and money and reputation on the line to make that happen.”

Kieran Furlong, a representative with D2P, says the new studio could help Wisconsin become well-known for creating successful start-ups. “We are going to see an increased number of spinouts from UW-Madison,” she says. “It in turn contributes to the state’s economy, to job creation. It also contributes to the reputation of both the university and the state.”

Sources: The Innovate Network and WisBusiness

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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