Track C

C4 Best Practices for Supporting Entrepreneurial Technology Commercialization

Track: Startups and Gap Funding

Target Audience: Advanced

Don Rose, University of North Carolina

Karin Immergluck, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco
Jack Miner, University of Michigan

Commercialization of university research through spin-out companies is becoming more popular and represents an increasingly important path for technology transfer. In the past, entrepreneurial activities of faculty founders were, at best tolerated, and at worst, discouraged. As universities embrace innovation and entrepreneurship across campus, technology transfer offices are beginning to support research-based startups, either from within their offices or by working with other groups across campus (e.g. business schools). This panel will focus on best practices among leading research universities, addressing the following: establishing an effective proof-of-concept/technology development funding mechanism to help enhance a technology and help launch the startup; developing funding beyond proof of concept (e.g. a venture fund) to help get companies investor-ready; supporting Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants for early-stage companies; and streamlining the licensing process for startups. The panel will also explore the extent universities should be actively involved in incorporating companies; establishing incubation to support companies and balancing incubation with conflicts of interest and intellectual property protection; engaging outside entrepreneurs in the startup process when there is very little money to pay them; and engaging outside investors to encourage their investment in university startups. For the past five years, Carolina KickStart has built many of these support mechanisms. In doing so, we have interacted with a number of universities to understand best practices in this area.

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