Posts Tagged: "university startups"

The Evolution of University Technology Transfer: By the Numbers

In recent years there has been a paradigmatic shift towards commercializing technology through startups. There is a universal understanding that university inventions are in early technology readiness level and need substantial development to be ready to go to market. Many universities have taken it upon themselves to fund some of the startups, sometimes co-funding alongside venture funds… The next frontier for this industry will likely be in the transformation of data-rich sectors using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies. One area largely accumulating data is the healthcare sector. Medical knowledge is doubling every 73 days, yet we are barely scratching the surface of utilizing this data. With our computing power today and the new era of AI we are at the cusp of a healthcare revolution. Academic institutions are sitting on massive amounts of valuable data that is vastly underutilized, and research institutions will soon begin to recognize and develop healthcare data into the next revolutionary asset.

A Practical Guide to Startup Funding

What if your startup is a university startup based on university developed and patented technology? The goal is not only to create a domestic corporation, but also to create a local corporation that leverages university technology. Moving to China isn’t an option for a university startup, regardless of the technology and likelihood of attracting funding from venture capitalists. Fortunately it is not as difficult to find investors as you may think. Equity crowdfunding is on the path to surpass venture capital as the preferred way for startups and small businesses to raise capital. In a nutshell, equity crowdfunding is the sale of equity (or debt) in your business directly to investors using an online platform instead of a stock brokerage firm.

Open Letter Exaggerates the Benefits of Recent Patent Reforms

HTIA’s letter argues that venture capital funding and startup activity have grown in recent years, further proof of their view that the federal government has properly pursued patent system reforms. Using data tools available through PwC MoneyTree, the HTIA cites data indicating that venture capital investments in the U.S. have increased from $32.8 billion in 2012 up to $61 billion in 2016, representing an 86 percent increase in that time. Of course, the letter easily lets go of the fact that the graph shows that venture capital funding actually dropped significantly by about $15 billion between 2015 and 2016 alone, a point the HTIA’s own data graphs prove. As for startup activity, the HTIA collected data from the Kauffman Index of Startup Activity to make its argument that startup activity has increased by 194 percent between 2012 and 2016. Again, there’s no acknowledgement of a concerning recent data point, here the absolute stagnation of new startup activity between 2015 and 2016.

AUTM Licensing Survey: Ominous trend likely attributable to eroding patent rights

Concerns about the ability of academic institutions to keep contributing to the U.S. innovation economy go well beyond federal funding stagnation according to the recent AUTM survey. In an executive summary section entitled The Perils of Eroding Patent Rights, AUTM notes that a slight decrease in options and exclusive license agreements compared to the number of non-exclusive license agreements could be due to fears that licensing companies have over protecting the intellectual property under the current iteration of the U.S. patent system. In 2016, option agreements were down year-over-year by 7 percent while exclusive licenses dropped 2.1 percent. Non-exclusive license totals, however, rose by 2.1 percent to 4,201 such license agreements in 2016. A sharp increase in startups ceasing business activity, up 37.4 percent to a total of 331 such startups, is another “ominous trend” which AUTM notes is likely attributable to eroding patent rights.

The changing face of university technology transfer

Today (TTOs) are increasingly being run by professionals who are experienced in startups, licensing, monetizing and have tremendous depth of technical knowledge in a variety of fields. But they are all waging a losing battle in an industry where 73% of the offices are losing money and an additional 16% just breakeven. It is not because of the efficiency of these offices, it is because of the underlying business model… But the impact of technology transfer on the US economy has been enormous. Since 1980 more than 5,000 startups have been created. From 1996-2013 technology transfer has contributed $518 billion on the US gross domestic product, and $1.1 trillion on the US gross industrial output.

Benefit of the Secondary Patent Market to Startups

The validity of secondary markets for a variety of goods and services is never questioned. Securities are sold and resold many times after their initial offering, homes and buildings and built and resold many times, as are automobiles. A quick review of the products listed an eBay leaves little doubt that a robust secondary market exists for many goods and services across the American economy. However, not everyone is in agreement that a secondary patent market is beneficial. For some reason, many people villainize companies that practice patent licensing. Even resorting to the use of pejorative terms such as “patent troll” to describe these businesses. These detractors fail to account for the fact that inventors may not be the most efficient licensors. In addition, they don’t take into account that, just as a builder generates revenue to build more buildings by selling their current ones, companies that sell or license patents help fund further R&D with the proceeds.

Innovation only occurs when entrepreneurs are incentivized to take risks

Believing that innovation does not come from risk taking inventors, entrepreneurs, start ups, or even from the likes of Silicon Valley, is naïve in the extreme. Unfortunately, this “you didn’t build that” belief system seems to permeate President Obama’s thinking with respect to innovation, and has trickled down within the Administration. This view is also shared by many in Congress too. Sadly, this fatalistic view removes the virtues of work and ignores the sacrifices it takes to succeed. Worst, such a world-view belittles risk taking, which is an absolute prerequisite to business success, particularly with respect to innovation.

The Quid Pro Quo – How Bad Patents Can Harm A Startup Company

There are many examples of patents that had virtually no value because the claims were undetectable, unenforceable, or ridiculously narrow. In the process of getting a worthless patent — a bad patent, the company gave up their complete roadmap for how to manufacture and use their product. These bad patents are not just a waste of money, but their competitive advantage is eviscerated by disclosing everything they know. The bottom line: Some patent applications can be very damaging to a startup company.

Tech Transfer 101: It’s A Better World with University Technology

AUTM collects quantitative data and facts about the benefits of university tech transfer, but the qualitative evidence is actually the most important. With the Better World Report, which just hit 500 stories, AUTM provides evidence that university tech transfer makes a better world. Just look at those stories in the Better World Report; they’re heartwarming. It is amazing that some of the critics tend to overlook or completely discount the very real stories of success. I don’t know what the critics are after— I guess the success of university tech transfer doesn’t fit the narrative that they wish to impose on everybody.

Does University Patent Licensing Pay Off?

Patent licensing or creating new companies is not a get rich quick path for schools despite the occasional blockbuster invention or Google spin-out. Indeed, enriching universities is not the goal of the Bayh-Dole Act which spurred the rapid growth of TTO’s. Still, every state now sees its research universities as key parts of their economic development strategy shows that it’s not just the traditionally dominant R&D universities that are making significant contributions under Bayh-Dole… AUTM estimates the impact from sales of products based on licensed academic research in 2012 totaled $80 billion dollars – that’s double the entire federal investment in university research. Another study found that university patent licensing supported 3 million jobs between 1996-2010 (that’s an average of 200,000 jobs per year).