Tech Transfer Central

Creating An Accelerator Furnace for University Technology: Arizona’s Success Story

Format: On-Demand Video/Transcript, or DVD
Originally presented: April 23, 2013

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Price: $197
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Last year, Arizona State University’s tech transfer office found itself bogged down with 330 patents and copyrights on the shelf. These innovations were going nowhere fast.

Enter AZ Furnace, a unique accelerator program designed to showcase the school’s research discoveries in the hopes that they would form the basis for promising start-ups. The furnace has quickly become a key factor in getting more new ventures launched and more of the school’s IP “formed” — taking what the furnace’s developers say start out as “blocks of metal” into well-shaped technologies with commercial potential. AZ Furnace goes far beyond the incubator concept, and is being recognized as a best practice for accelerator programs.

Now you can learn from the tech transfer executives involved what makes the effort so successful, and how you can emulate that success at your own institution. Join us for an inside look and glean the lessons learned from this incredible success story:

Creating An Accelerator Furnace
for University Technology:
Arizona’s Success Story

Order today to get all the details in this in-depth case study program. You’ll hear from the leadership team at Arizona State, who’ll describe this creative and comprehensive approach to moving “stale” innovations into fruitful start-ups, jobs, and economic gains for the state. Here’s a brief look at the agenda:

  • Addressing the Problem
    • Going beyond the tech transfer office
    • Integrating with TTO, economic development, and research park
    • Building on ASU Venture Catalyst
    • Need for state-wide program, resource-sharing, and best practices
  • The Process
    • Triage: Finding potential start-up technologies “in the pile”
    • Translation: Rewording summaries so non-scientists can understand
    • Validation: Verifying IP is “unencumbered”
    • Marketing the program
    • Control: Managing communications with inventors
    • Competition: Teams and business models
  • Key Accelerator Components
    • More than just an incubator
    • Mentoring and “Super-mentors”
    • Office space in key locations
    • Training: “Rapid Startup Schools” and “Lean Launchpad”
    • Connecting teams with management talent
    • Pitch Practice, SBIR writing resources, Start-up Competitions
    • Accountability and a finite timeline

Your Program Leaders:

CHARLIE LEWIS, Vice President of Venture Development AzTE. Charlie Lewis manages the creation and growth of new ASU spin-out companies for AzTE. Charlie brings 20 years of entrepreneurial and private equity experience to AzTE. Prior to joining AzTE, he served as general partner for two Arizona venture capital funds, Arris Ventures and Paradise ’94. He directed the investment committee responsible for analyzing due diligence findings and appropriating more than $25 million in private capital with an emphasis on early-stage technology companies. During that time, he was involved in the acquisition of three portfolio companies, one by a public corporation (NYSE: IDR). Prior to his venture fund experiences, Charlie was vice president of sales and marketing for Tritium Technologies. There he developed the marketing plan and managed the sales process for the company’s digital vibration attenuation products. He also served as International Director for Distribution for ANVT, Inc. In that role, he formulated the North American and European distribution plans and gained key insight into international trade relations. Charlie was a founding partner of Midas Computers in 1984 after graduating from Arizona State University with a B.S. in computer science. The company designed software tools for small retail businesses and was acquired by POS Systems in 1993.

GORDON MCCONNELL, Assistant Vice President for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Venture Acceleration, Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development. Mr. McConnell joined ASU in June 2011 in the role of Executive Director for Venture Acceleration, managing the Venture Catalyst unit based in ASU SkySong which includes the Edson Student Accelerator program. Prior to relocating to the U.S., Mr. McConnell was Deputy CEO of the Dublin City University (DCU) Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship in Ireland. As part of his role at DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship, he co-founded and was the first director of the Propeller Venture Accelerator in Dublin and a charter member of the Techstars Network.

WILEY LARSEN, Venture Manager, joined Venture Catalyst in November 2011 and assists ASU faculty, staff, and alumni with commercializing their technologies. He has 5 years of experience as a marketing and business development consultant for new ventures as well as extensive experience evaluating business plans, preparing entrepreneurs for pitch events, and coaching SBIR/STTR applicants on phase I and phase II commercialization planning. In addition, he has managed strategic planning initiatives for economic development clients and non-profit organizations. Prior to joining Venture Catalyst, Mr. Larsen served as Director of Strategic Partnerships for Development Capital Networks, where he was responsible for venture and licensing forums, business plan competitions, and entrepreneurial training workshops.

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