Tech Transfer Central

Shedding Light on Little Known and Costly Blind Spots for University Start-Ups

Format: On-Demand Video/Transcript, or DVD
Originally presented: August 29, 2012

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Price: $197
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For every university start-up that achieves a successful exit, there are dozens that go bust… 

Even for the most experienced and well-funded entrepreneurs, creating a start-up is risky business. With the odds already stacked against you, the last thing you need is for your fledgling university spinouts to falter due to foreseeable mistakes and poor execution.  

That’s why Technology Transfer Tactics’ Distance Learning Division has gathered a team of experts to help you identify and overcome the little known yet costly blind spots that often cause university start-ups to stumble or simply fail before they are able to reach critical milestones and achieve their full potential.

Our A-level team will expose these risks and offer solid solutions in a distance learning program not only for TTO managers and staff, but which is designed to be shared with all faculty, students, and business leaders involved in your school’s start-up activity. 


  • Forming A Corporate Entity:      
    • How the right choice of business structure can help – or hurt – your start-ups chances of success
  • Management Team Missteps to Avoid   
    • Researchers as start-up execs – can it ever work?
    • Ensuring the right mix of skills and expertise
    • Avoiding the traps of “vanity” start-ups
    • How ego battles can doom the new business
    • When inventors are less than fully on board and cooperative
    • Avoiding the “great science without great business and marketing” trap
  • IP Ownership and Protection Issues:
    • Ensuring clear title and freedom to operate
    • Assessing patent strength
    • Infringement risks and withstanding challenges from deep-pocketed competitors
  • Funding Issues
    • Underestimating capital requirements
    • Setting and achieving milestones to attract follow-on funding
    • Avoiding dilution traps
    • Ensuring lean practices and avoiding high cash burn rates
  • Competitor issues
    • Understanding your advantages, disadvantages, and accurately assessing competition risks
  • Supply chain and distribution issues:
    • Careful partner selection
    • Anticipating scale-up dilemmas
  • Market issues:
    • Adequately assessing market size and predicting penetration
    • Defining customer needs
    • Creating and executing business and marketing plans
  • PLUS! You’ll hear the hard lessons learned from iContact — a real-world start-up that had great success, but not without hitting some bumps in the road
  • And much more…   

Your Expert Team of Presenters:

GERARD ELDERING, Founder and President, InnovateTech Ventures. Mr. Eldering specializes in venture creation based on inventions licensed from universities and research institutions. Gerard has been working in the technology transfer community for more than a decade and is passionate about the creation of professionally managed and funded start-up companies. Prior to launching InnovateTech, he founded and served as Director of the Technology Transfer Office at The MITRE Corporation.

BURTON B. GOLDSTEIN, University Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Professor, Department of Economics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Mr. Goldstein has been involved in entrepreneurship most of his professional life. After six years as a practicing attorney, in 1982 he co-founded Information America. In 1998, Goldstein founded NetWorth Partners. NetWorth combined with Mellon Ventures in 2000 and Goldstein became a Mellon Ventures Partner. He served on the Board of Directors of both private and public companies during his tenure at Mellon Ventures. In the spring of 2004, Goldstein was appointed University Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Subsequently he was named Professor  in the Department of Economics. In these positions Goldstein is intimately involved in numerous activities aimed at making UNC a more entrepreneurial university, including teaching and development work.

EMILY E. HARRIS, Shareholder Attorney, Davis Brown Law Firm. Ms. Harris is a member of the firm’s Intellectual Property Department. Her practice focuses on obtaining patent, trademark, and copyright protection for firm clients and providing litigation support to the intellectual property litigators. She is a registered patent attorney, able to practice in front of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. She has a passion for technology and advocates for start-up businesses, especially in relation to intellectual property and cyberlaw matters. Harris is the co-founder of Davis Brown’s own start-up business, The Start-Up Launchpad.

DR. JONATHAN YORK, Co-Founder, Cal Poly Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship.  Dr. York is an entrepreneur and educator who has dedicated his career to helping companies succeed and teaching students about entrepreneurship. He recently joined the faculty of the Orfalea College of Business at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo as the first professor dedicated to entrepreneurship, where he is focused on helping students understand and experience the challenges of management and decision-making in growth companies. As a CEO and consultant, he has worked for years in entrepreneurial companies facing key strategic and operational issues: readiness to raise capital; marketing and sales development; people and team issues; board and investor relations; and product development. He has long been involved in assisting his clients in everything from business planning and raising capital to managing rapid growth and seeking exit opportunities.

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