Tech Transfer eNews Blog

‘Double Down Experiment’ seeks to help Purdue start-ups scale up


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: January 15th, 2020

The Purdue Foundry has completed the selection of the first cohort for its Double Down Experiment (DDX) — nine businesses ready “to reach the next level” of their development – and has begun working with the start-ups. The companies were drawn from the total of 250-plus start-ups helped by the Foundry in the past six years.

The new program addresses what many tech transfer observers see as a gap in the continuum of support universities offer their start-ups. In most TTOs, once new ventures are launched, they may get some support, but many don’t, or they get to a certain inflection point and don’t reach the next level. DDX is a program specifically geared toward changing that, and bringing more support to start-ups that have exhibited good potential but which struggle to scale.

Members of the program’s first cohort were selected based on three main criteria — revenue earned, funding acquired, and full-time jobs filled, says Angela Goldenstein, director of growth for Purdue Foundry. “The Foundry, now in its seventh year, had previously proved to be successful training entrepreneurs and forming companies,” she notes. “This addresses ‘what’s next’ once they’re up and running and had some traction, to help them grow.”

The nine companies were chosen, she adds, by leadership from Purdue Foundry, in partnership with the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship at Purdue and Purdue’s Office of Technology Commercialization. “We’re looking for companies that have started to see traction on any of those three metrics, all of which will again be used to measure progress at the end of the program,” notes Goldenstein. “It’s designed to be a year-long program, and we will have new cohorts join every six months from then on, on a rolling basis.”

A detailed article on Purdue’s Double Down Experiment appears in the December issue of Technology Transfer Tactics. For subscription information, click here.

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Start-up focused on treating nerve damage enters Cornell incubator


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: January 15th, 2020

Renerva, a medical start-up focused on treating nerve damage, has joined Cornell University’s McGovern Center life sciences incubator. continue reading »

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Qualified Opportunity Zones: A Powerful Program for University Research and Economic Development


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: January 15th, 2020

With over 8,700 qualified opportunity zones in the U.S. — and many of those in close proximity to university campuses — there are countless prospects for universities to invest and partner with their local communities to encourage business growth and economic development while bolstering their research and commercialization ecosystem at the same time.

The Opportunity Zone legislation included in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provides compelling and powerful incentives designed to drive economic development. Educational institutions are well positioned to take advantage of these incentives, bringing new projects, partners, jobs, and entrepreneurs that nurture the research and commercialization enterprise on and off campus. Some colleges and universities have already become pioneers in “O-zone” structures — attracting capital and partners to develop large-scale projects such as innovation districts, incubators, research parks, science centers, and other research-focused developments.

With that said, putting together legally compliant structures represents a sizable challenge. 

That’s why Tech Transfer Central’s Distance Learning Division has partnered with John Balboni, co-head of Sullivan & Worcester LLP’s National Opportunity Zone Practice Group, and Brian Darmody, CEO of the Association of University Research Parks, for this interactive webinar that will explore one of the hottest topics for 2020: Qualified Opportunity Zones: A Powerful Program for University Research and Economic Development, scheduled for Thursday, January 30. For complete details and to register, click here.

Also coming soon:

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Lab1636 announces first project to turn Harvard research into novel therapeutics


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: January 15th, 2020

Lab1636, a research and development partnership between Harvard University and the investment firm Deerfield Management Company, has announced its first project aimed at turning Harvard research into novel therapeutics. continue reading »

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UConn start-up aims to use robotics to help educate children with autism


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: January 15th, 2020

A spinout from the University of Connecticut (UConn) is working to bring helpful robots into special education classrooms around the world. continue reading »

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Invention Disclosure Management: Proven Strategies for Boosting Quantity and Assessing Quality


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: January 15th, 2020

Disclosures are the lifeblood of the university innovation cycle, and a huge portion of your TTO’s time is spent vetting and analyzing them for potential commercialization. On one hand, you don’t want to skim over your backlog and potentially miss a windfall. And on the other, too often you find yourself spinning your wheels on disclosures that just don’t make the grade to appease faculty egos.

Tech Transfer Central’s Distance Learning Division has created a collection of three programs that target key disclosure management challenges, including faculty outreach and engagement, effective triage, and standardizing post-disclosure activity and communication. Invention Disclosure Management: Proven Strategies for Boosting Quantity and Assessing Quality includes all presentations in three formats — DVD, online video, and print transcript — so they can be shared conveniently throughout your organization when and how you wish.

For complete details and to order, click here.

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Study examines why female-led start-ups attract less funding


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: January 15th, 2020

A new study from Oxford Brookes University shows that women entrepreneurs make up only a small fraction of start-up founders based on university research.

Funded by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the study examines the barriers to the participation of female researchers in university spinouts. It also found that women in executive positions were more likely to work in smaller start-ups, and that the more female founders a start-up had, the less funding it tended to receive.

Simonetta Manfredi, head author of the study, says the findings are significant, as university start-ups are becoming increasingly important due to government incentives to demonstrate the real-world impact of university research.

Other studies in fact show that there are real benefits to encouraging diversity in tech start-ups. According to research conducted in 2017 by McKinsey & Co., companies with the greatest gender diversity on their executive teams were 21% more likely to outperform peers on profitability and 27% more likely to create superior value.

As for the reasons behind the lack of diversity, Robin Mellors-Bourne, co-author of the Oxford study, says one problem is that so few women study physics or engineering, reducing the pool of potential founders. Manfredi points to the male-dominated culture in science, as well as the lack of female entrepreneur role models.

The study also looks into why female-led start-ups tend to attract less funding. Olivia Champion, founder of the successful start-up BioSystems Technology, suggests that women tend to ask for less, possibly a reflection of the attitudes of male investors who don’t take female-led companies as seriously.

Champion recalls being conscious of pitching for significantly less money than her male counterparts. “I stripped it all back to think, ‘What’s the absolute least I could ask for?’” she says. “The guys all ask for loads of money and get it.”

The next stage of the study is slated for release in April and will examine whether men and women have different characteristics that may affect their involvement in start-ups, such as variances in self-confidence or willingness to take risks.

Source: The Guardian

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

Now on DVD or online video: Learn from leaders at two of the most successful university programs designed to bolster inclusiveness and diversity in this strategy-filled, eye-opening webinar. For complete details, click here.

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Mahana Therapeutics licenses digital irritable bowel syndrome tech from King’s College London


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: January 15th, 2020

Digital therapeutics company Mahana Therapeutics has entered into a licensing and collaboration agreement with King’s College London to commercialize a digital treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). continue reading »

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Penn start-up develops advanced surgical tools for cancer diagnosis and treatment


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: January 15th, 2020

A University of Pennsylvania start-up is developing surgical tools that can be maneuvered in difficult areas in the body to diagnose and treat cancerous tumors. continue reading »

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UW-Madison start-up develops a better way to find breast cancer tumors


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: January 15th, 2020

A start-up from the University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison has created a new way to detect tumors during breast cancer lumpectomies. continue reading »

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FutuRx launches start-up based on CNS research from Tel Aviv U and Glasgow U


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: January 15th, 2020

FutuRx, Israel’s leading incubator for biopharmaceutical start-ups, has launched a new venture in collaboration with Ramot at Tel-Aviv University and Glasgow University to commercialize a new method for treating neurological disorders. continue reading »

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Comings and goings


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: January 15th, 2020

Montclair State University has chosen Karen Cahn, a former digital media executive and founder of iFundWomen, to serve as its first ever Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR). The EIR program is designed to leverage the experience and knowledge of successful start-up founders to help support the Feliciano School of Business and its Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, which aims to encourage women to launch their own businesses.

Cahn, an early digital media executive at companies including Google, YouTube and AOL, also launched iFundWomen, which provides female start-up founders with mentorship and access to capital through crowdfunding and grants. In her new role, Cahn will mentor students and advise Carley Graham Garcia, the executive director of the business school and the Center.

“Karen’s success, not only as a media executive but as an entrepreneur now focused exclusively on closing the funding gap for female founders, makes her the perfect advisor to our student start-ups,” says Graham Garcia. “Karen is focused on growing our region to be an innovation hub, especially innovation led by women…. She is the perfect addition to our expanding program.”

Cahn comments, “The entrepreneurial spirit is alive in New Jersey, and I’m so thrilled to be a part of it. And with the Feliciano Center’s commitment to women entrepreneurship, this was a natural partnership with iFundWomen.”

Source: Montclair State University

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Towson University (TU) has named Patrick T. McQuown the new executive director of entrepreneurship. McQuown comes to TU from James Madison University, where he served as executive director of the Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship and launched a summer accelerator program for student start-ups. In his new role, McQuown will lead TU’s entrepreneurship strategy and oversee the TU Incubator. He will also lead the university’s forthcoming “StarTUp” hub, slated to launch this year.

“Patrick’s arrival, coupled with the launch of  StarTUp in 2020, comes at an exciting time for our university,” says TU president Kim Schatzel. “This role is instrumental in catalyzing TU’s entrepreneurship efforts, as well as connecting Maryland’s entrepreneurs to TU’s outstanding people and programs.”

McQuown comments, “I’m looking forward to coming to Towson University and joining the university leadership in creating a world-class entrepreneurial ecosystem. It was clear to me that, from the president on down, entrepreneurship was top of mind.”

Source: Technical.ly

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The University of Louisville (U of L) has hired Kevin Gardner, former vice provost for research at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), to serve as executive vice president for research and innovation. In his previous role, Gardner helped establish UNH as a leading research university, taking it from a Carnegie High Research Activity university to a Carnegie Very High Research Activity university. He has also served as associate state director of New Hampshire’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), helping to develop a statewide plan to boost engagement among universities, research-based companies and state government.

“Dr. Gardner brings excellent credentials to this position,” says U of L president Neeli Bendapudi. “As important, he brings energy, enthusiasm and communication skills that will help us build our research enterprise and share that knowledge to benefit our students, our community and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We are excited to have him join our team.”

Source: The Louisville Cardinal

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