Tech Transfer eNews Blog

Research Bridge Partners looks to level the playing field for mid-continent universities


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: December 4th, 2019

Did you know that over the past five years, 75% of federal research funding has gone to institutions outside of California, Massachusetts and New York, while nearly 80% of venture investment went to companies located in those three states? Research Bridge Partners (RBP), a not-for-profit that seeks to bolster start-up funding and support for mid-continent universities, is working hard to change that.

 “While we don’t purport to have solved the problem, we’re working to help mid-continent universities create an ecosystem that cultivates success for spinouts,” says Jim Graham, director of investments at RBP.

The non-profit firm is trying to level the playing field for schools in the heartland, which it believes are at a distinct disadvantage compared with their counterparts in highly developed ecosystems that can rely on their existing networks, talent, and deal flow to reduce the costs of “pre-deal” work, which can be priced into future financing rounds.

Graham says RBP is much more than an investor. It does provide funding, but also connects mid-continent university TTOs with CEO talent, networks of service providers, partners, and customers that are too often lacking outside of a handful of coastal commercialization clusters.

“It’s not just about the money. Capital is mobile. Start-up commercialization requires a network of talented consultants, friends, and advisors,” Graham says. RBP helps connect academic co-founders in the middle of the country to these ecosystems, so they can create a sustainable model of their own — one that introduces the best scientific innovators to the best entrepreneurs.

The company has a three-pronged approach in how it achieves making these connections:

  1. It uses advanced analytics to identify the heartland university researchers with the most impactful innovation, who are most likely to co-found successful companies. It identifies the one to two percent of researchers who, if they were at places like Berkeley, Stanford or MIT, would have venture capitalists lining up at their office doors. To identify exceptional researchers across a distributed geography, these proprietary algorithms and statistical models examine publicly available information compiled on more than 15,000 principal investigators nationwide.
  2. It works with those researchers and universities to create start-ups based on their innovations that can compete in the national markets for capital and talent. RBP has developed a novel not-for-profit venture capital vehicle to finance the formation process.
  3. It collaborates with investors and executives throughout the country, and especially in coastal start-up clusters, to connect these labs and opportunities to national-caliber business talent and capital.

“The seed fund will further our goal of bridging leading edge research labs in the mid-continent to the mature networks of capital, talent, and services based in coastal venture clusters,” explains Isaac Barchas, co-founder and CEO of RBP. “This complements our ongoing efforts to support and enable academic innovators in the middle of the country by funding foundational corporate activities to activate the downstream venture cycle.”

A detailed article on RBP’s efforts to support mid-continent university innovations appears in the November issue of Technology Transfer Tactics. For subscription information, CLICK HERE.

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University consortium licenses more than 200 antibodies


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: December 4th, 2019

Absolute Antibody, a leading provider of recombinant antibody products and services, has partnered with the Recombinant Antibody Network (RAN) in a licensing deal that will make university-developed antibodies available to a wider scientific audience. continue reading »

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Drafting and Negotiating SaaS Agreements: Best Practices for University Tech Transfer Offices


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: December 4th, 2019

“Software as a Service” (SaaS) agreements are often confused with software licenses, but the two couldn’t be more different. So, if you are using a boilerplate license agreement for your SaaS innovations, stop immediately!

The misconception lies in the term “software.” For instance, a license agreement grants the licensee the right to use and house the software in-house, whereas the SaaS agreement is granting the user access to the software. This distinction raises a host of other issues that need to be addressed in the agreement in order to protect data, comply with regulatory issues, and ultimately protect your IP. That’s why Tech Transfer Central’s Distance Learning Division has scheduled this critically important webinar: Drafting and Negotiating SaaS Agreements: Best Practices for University Tech Transfer Offices, scheduled for next Tuesday, December 10, featuring Silicon Valley attorney and tech licensing expert Kristie D. Prinz of Prinz Law Office. Join us as Ms. Prinz takes a deep dive into best practices for drafting and negotiating SaaS agreements. For complete program details and to register, CLICK HERE.

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Silicon Valley start-up licenses cybersecurity technology from U of Memphis


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: December 4th, 2019

A Silicon Valley start-up has licensed a University of Memphis (UM) authentication technology that analyzes environmental conditions such as noise or light to improve cybersecurity. continue reading »

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U of Wollongong start-up advances cost-effective sensor to make radiotherapy safer


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: December 4th, 2019

A University of Wollongong (UOW) start-up is commercializing the world’s most advanced and cost-effective medical radiation sensor technology. continue reading »

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Study pegs U of Colorado Boulder tech transfer economic contribution at nearly $2 billion over five years


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: December 4th, 2019

A new report finds that the University of Colorado (CU) Boulder has contributed nearly $2 billion to the economy over five years through its tech transfer efforts. continue reading »

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Licensing Trade Secrets


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: December 4th, 2019

Trade secrets are an important consideration when licensing a technology. In fact, the addition of trade secrets to a patent license can increase the value of the license by three to ten times. Now there’s a comprehensive and authoritative source to help ensure that you receive the optimum value for your trade secrets.

In Licensing Trade Secrets, you’ll receive an overview of what constitutes a trade secret and how including this additional IP can affect the value of your technology licenses. Learn the importance of the specific language used, the economic value of trade secrets in the industries where trade secrets are most desired, and the actual valuations and rates used for trade secret licenses. Topics covered in this important resource include:

  • Trade Secret Value Sources
  • Trade Secret Floor Value
  • Factors that Prolong Trade Secret Value
  • Factors that Kill Trade Secrets
  • Inadvertent Disclosures
  • Trade Secret Agreement Terms

In Licensing Trade Secrets you’ll also find examples of actual license agreements that incorporate trade secrets. By reviewing these real-world documents, you’ll learn how other organization characterize and monetize their trade secrets and enhance the overall value of their technologies. CLICK HERE for more details or to order.

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Medical U of South Carolina spinout helps hospitals save millions in pharmaceutical costs


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: December 4th, 2019

A software start-up from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) is helping hospitals and others save millions of dollars in drug costs. continue reading »

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North East England universities launch new start-up seed fund


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: December 4th, 2019

A group of universities in North East England is partnering with VC firm Northstar Ventures to launch a new seed fund for start-ups. continue reading »

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Indiana U’s new Alumni Angel Network adds arrow to its funding quiver


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 27th, 2019

For many universities, fundraising is the primary focus of their relationship with their alumni. However, some universities are offering alums a different way of engaging with their alma maters: alums who qualify as angel investors can invest in university start-ups. Recently, Indiana University joined the ranks of universities offering this type of investment option by launching the IU Alumni Angel Network.

The new network complements the university’s existing venture programs, the IU Philanthropic Venture Fund (IU PhV) and the Quarry, all managed by IU Ventures, a not-for-profit affiliate of Indiana University.

Each of the three venture programs is unique in how they promote the university’s strategic goals. The Quarry helps faculty determine whether their innovation might represent an opportunity to license technologies or start a business around it. The Quarry also works with faculty to help them pursue SBIR/STTR grant opportunities or other early-stage funding. These early-stage innovations sometimes feed the pipeline for opportunities that seed the other venture programs.

The IU PhV, a philanthropic venture fund supported by donations from IU friends and supporters, funds enterprises created by IU faculty and alumni. The Alumni Angel Network allows alums to make private investments in IU PhV or directly in other university-related companies. “There is a threshold,” said Bill Stephan, vice president for government relations and economic engagement. “There has to be some IU DNA [in the start-up]. It could be a faculty member, a staff member, one of our alums. It could be a student.”

The alumni-focused vehicle fits well with IU Ventures’ continuum of funding initiatives, Stephan adds. The IU PhV provides capital for entrepreneurs, which the university sometimes leverages against other funds, such as later-stage angels or venture funds. The Alumni Angel Network is one possible source for these leveraged funds. It also fits in with the Quarry, in that Quarry companies that do not become part of the IU PhV portfolio could attract investors from the alumni network.

Alums pay a $1,500 fee to join the network. The university takes no equity in the companies in which the Alumni Angel Network members invest.

IU Ventures created the Alumni Angel Network in response to interest expressed by the alums themselves. “As we’ve been talking to folks about the philanthropic fund, we heard from a number of them that they would like to invest personally in some of these opportunities,” says Tony Armstrong, president and CEO of IU Ventures. “Now, an alum who is an accredited investor can make an investment of their own money in the fund as an equity investor and then hopefully benefit from the returns.”

Alumni who join the network, Armstrong adds, are typically looking for more than a financial return. The membership “gives them a chance to give back in whatever way they would like,” he comments. “We are trying to find different ways for our alums all over the world to get reconnected and reengaged with the university.”

A detailed article on the IU Alumni Angel Network appears in the November issue of Technology Transfer Tactics. For subscription information, CLICK HERE

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U of Arizona start-up develops advanced, low-cost treatment for sleep apnea


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 27th, 2019

A start-up from the University of Arizona (UA) is commercializing a technology that could revolutionize the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). continue reading »

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Empowering and Supporting Women and Underserved Populations in University Innovation and Entrepreneurship


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 27th, 2019

For TTOs and university research in general, the benefits of inclusiveness and diversity are clear — more ideas emerge, more IP is created, and a wider swath of your community becomes part of the innovation ecosystem. Clearly, encouraging a shift toward parity in research commercialization is more than just the societal right thing to do — it promotes economic growth. But how? Tech Transfer Central’s Distance Learning Division has secured leaders from two of the most successful university programs designed to bolster inclusiveness and diversity for this strategy-filled, eye-opening webinar: Empowering and Supporting Women and Underserved Populations in University Innovation and Entrepreneurship, scheduled for December 17th.

Kathy Sohar, PhD, Director of the Women’s Collaboratory for Innovators with UF Innovate at the University of Florida, and Nichole Mercier, PhD, Assistant Vice Chancellor at Washington University in St. Louis and the Managing Director of the Washington University Office of Technology Management, will discuss their respective programs, how they are bringing underserved communities to the commercialization table, and bringing positive change to their campuses — and how you can too.

For complete program details and to register, CLICK HERE.

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