Tech Transfer Central

Increase Mobile App Disclosures through On-Campus Contests

Case Study of UPenn's "AppItUp Challenge"
Format: On-Demand Video/Transcript, or DVD
Originally presented: November 12, 2014

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Price: $197
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apps-2The ever expanding market for mobile apps presents technology transfer offices with a tremendous opportunity for new revenues as well as new relationships with students and faculty creating apps on campus. But how do you capitalize most effectively and create an ongoing, meaningful revenue stream – as well as a great way to build good PR and new relationships – without overloading your already stretched TTO staff?    

Though it seems like everyone you meet has an app idea, most don’t know the first thing about how to actually get their idea into the fast-changing and unique mobile apps marketplace.  Likewise, many TTOs aren’t yet up to speed on commercializing mobile app ideas — how to turn them into something tangible, protect the IP if possible, deal with developers, distributors and app stores, and do it efficiently enough and with enough volume that it is both meaningful and doesn’t overly tax your already overloaded staff.

The University of Pennsylvania’s UpStart Program has a success story to share – a campus-wide competition called AppItUp. The competition casts a wide net looking for the next big app idea, tapping not only computer scientists and business majors but also nurses, doctors, historians, poets, lawyers and anyone else who has an app idea but no way of making it a reality.  The AppItUp challenge serves to filter through these ideas to find the most promising, then works with partners in mobile app funding, development and marketing to build companies around these high-potential apps.   

In its inaugural season, this innovative competition uncovered over 185 promising mobile app ideas and proceeded to whittle them down to the top 10 “most likely to succeed” as a company, then connected them with both investment and development partners.

Technology Transfer Tactics’ Distance Learning Division has tapped the leadership team from UpStart and AppItUp for a case study webinar, so you can learn from their success and adapt their best ideas in your own program:

Increase Mobile App Disclosures
through On-Campus Contests:
Case Study of UPenn’s “AppItUp Challenge”

You’ll hear directly from two tech transfer execs who have been instrumental in the successful app development program – here’s a quick look at the agenda: 

  • How the AppItUp challenge was conceived
  • How a powerful network of investors and developers were enticed to participate in this 8-month commitment
  • Eligibility criteria for competitors  
  • Insight into what made the 2013 winners shine above the rest
  • Success stories from finalists and their app development progress thus far
  • How the program has positively impacted both the TTO and UpStart and their reputations across campus
  • The university’s financial and administrative stake in the winning teams
  • Support provided to semi-finalist teams in terms of:
    • Presentation
    • Prototype
    • Business mentoring
  • How UpStart supports app-based start-ups through:
    • Forging strategic partnerships
    • Conceiving sales and funding strategies
    • Assistance with outside CEO searches
    • And more…

Meet Your Panel of Experts:

Michael Poisel, Director, PCI Ventures is responsible for identifying technologies that are candidates for PCI Ventures support and for the UPstart program, transitioning the technologies into start-up companies, assisting principal investigators with funding strategies including grant applications, as well as the structuring and negotiating licensing deals with the start-up companies.

Karina Sotnik, Senior Consultant, PCI Ventures, is responsible for helping PCI Ventures, UPstart and UPstart companies with marketing and business development activities. She is also responsible for creating custom programs within PCI Ventures and UPstart.

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