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NY, WI, IN Initiatives Address Region-Specific Barriers to Commercialization

November 14, 2013

Follow-on funding, access to technology, talent and resources all can be barriers to commercialization and successfully spinning off sustainable companies. Always seeking a quicker, more viable path to market for technologies and products, university-based programs and public-private partnerships try to tackle these hurdles, which often times are region-specific. Such is the case in Long Island, NY, where a recent partnership between a nonprofit organization and venture capital firm is working to address access to capital concerns. Other recent initiatives addressing region-specific barriers have launched in Indiana and Wisconsin.

New-York based Accelerate Long Island (LI) will partner with the area's largest venture capital firm to fund local startups through access to a $213 million fund. A shared interest in advancing research-based startup companies through commercialization helped bring about the alliance. The goal is to move beyond seed funding to give the startups coming through the Accelerate LI pipeline an avenue to potentially access the type of cash to get them going, reports Xconomy. Referring to the area as "capital starved," Accelerate LI's executive director Mark Lesko said in the article that combining forces with Topspin Partners could help companies have a better chance for success. This is especially true for biotech companies that require more funding.

In Indiana, expediting university-based technologies to market is the intended outcome of a partnership formed between Purdue and GE. Under the agreement, GE technology commercialization experts will help identify innovations being developed at Purdue, such as enhanced medical diagnostic imaging, advanced propulsion technologies, solar technologies and others. GE and Purdue leaders also plan to meet periodically to discuss strategies and objectives derived from university-based research. Earlier this year, Purdue opened a space on campus called Purdue Foundry to act as a central resource for helping entrepreneurs and inventors prepare inventions for market. Officials hope the new space will help Purdue reach its goal of doubling the amount of startups over the next two years.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) credits its creative research faculty and a rich set of entrepreneurial resources for their success in spinning off tech companies. But connecting all of the pieces through one centralized center for entrepreneurial expertise can help expand the number of innovations that reach the market and better support the formation of new companies, officials say. UW-Madison and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation hope to achieve this goal through Discovery to Product or D2P. The initiative will be led by a director and supported by a team of mentors in residence, each with specific industry experience. The mentors also will serve as advisors and coaches to faculty and students seeking to commercialize technologies. Initial funding of $1.6 million from the UW-Madison with matching funds from WARF will help get the project up and running. The group also plans to provide investment capital.

Indiana, New York, Wisconsincommercialization, higher ed