• Join your peers at SSTI's 2024 Annual Conference!

    Join us December 10-12 in Arizona to connect with and learn from your peers working around the country to strengthen their regional innovation economies. Visit ssticonference.org for more information and to register today.

  • Become an SSTI Member

    As the most comprehensive resource available for those involved in technology-based economic development, SSTI offers the services that are needed to help build tech-based economies.  Learn more about membership...

  • Subscribe to the SSTI Weekly Digest

    Each week, the SSTI Weekly Digest delivers the latest breaking news and expert analysis of critical issues affecting the tech-based economic development community. Subscribe today!

Venture Capitalist Donates $22M for USC Tech Commercialization Center

December 06, 2004

For many university tech transfer operations, the need to generate revenues to support the office and attempt to meet the often pie-in-the-sky expectations of school administrators can force licensing efforts toward only the biggest deals. Thanks to a large donation to serve as an endowment, the University of Southern California (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering will be able to count on $1 million in interest income to support its technology transfer activities.

USC alumnus and successful venture capitalist Mark Stevens donated $22 million to the school for the creation of a technology commercialization institute. The Mark and Mary Stevens Institute for Technology Commercialization (SITeC) will have a dual mission -- provide a professional staff to help researchers and commercialize new technologies. Staff at the institute will provide a full range of consulting services, from market analyses to third-party investor introductions, effectively building new links to industry in addressing the overlapping technical, legal and business aspects of commercializing.

One of the changes for universities in the 21st Century, Stevens said, will be a shift toward interdisciplinary study. SITeC can be a key element in taking ideas from the various schools and turning them into technologies, he added. The institute will collaborate with the Marshall School of Business and the Gould School of Law in order to strengthen tech transfer capabilities university-wide.

In addition to providing services, SITeC will stress a curriculum known as the "Stevens education." The curriculum includes course work in technological entrepreneurship and offers optional minors at all levels. It also provides faculty workshops and courses.

University officials noted the institute is a resource for the entire campus, as non-engineering students also will be able to take SITeC courses. Curriculum will focus on the technological aspects of tech transfer such as the methods for assessing market readiness, legal aspects, intellectual property protection, licensing and royalties along with operational aspects such as business plan development, marketing, management, valuation and feasibility aspects, and ethics.

Stevens is a partner at Sequoia Capital and a member of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering Board of Councilors and the USC Board of Trustees. More information about SITeC is available at: http://www.viterbi.usc.edu/research/sitec/