Nav: Home

Benefits of university seed cap programs

March 10, 2017

Tampa, Fla. (Mar. 10, 2017) - When universities engage in technology transfer, the process of commercializing the innovations and inventions of academic faculty members, "seed capital" to fund start-up companies often comes from entrepreneurs and venture capitalists from outside of the university system. These necessary funds have far-reaching effects and benefits; however, additional benefits, both for the community and the institution, can be realized when the seed capital comes from the innovation and invention-founding academic institutions. "University Seed Capital Programs: Benefits Beyond the Loan," a paper outlining these benefits, has been published in the current issue of Technology and Innovation, Journal of the National Academy of Inventors® (full text).

Benefits to be derived from university-based funding for start-up companies include "expanded funding opportunities, hiring and retention of top entrepreneurial faculty, goal setting, entrepreneur development, economic development, and university engagement," said paper lead author Donna L. Herber, University of South Florida (USF) Research and Innovation.

University-based startups are at greater risk for failure than other start-up ventures because their products and technologies are typically in earlier stages of development than those not university-based, the authors write. The level of risk can be offset with funding originating from the university by utilizing the university foundation and office of research and technology transfer. Because the university is part of the community, the effects of this bridge funding extend beyond the campus and into the community, said the authors.

"Getting that first dollar is a huge challenge," explained Herber. "Seed loans--along with founder money and sweat equity--can provide those crucial first dollars....Where no matching [funds] programs exist, the university program can be used as a catalyst to bring partners to the table with matching money."

University seed cap programs can also be useful in developing entrepreneurship among faculty members and students and helping the start-up founder remove his or her 'academic cap' and take on the mantle of the business person, wrote the authors.

Included in the paper are several case studies that demonstrate the benefits of university seed funding for start-ups that blossomed with the help of university offices of technology transfer.

Case studies

The USF Research Foundation's Seed Capital Accelerator Program for companies affiliated with the Tampa Bay Technology Incubator (TBTI) supports and provides funding for existing start-ups that formed based on licensing USF technologies. To help better the odds toward successful commercialization, the program provides up to $50,000 for these start-ups.

"The objective," said Herber, "is to help companies reach specific goals in one year or less, allowing start-ups to reach critical development milestones and get to market more quickly. TBTI and USF Patents & Licensing provide support and training along the way."

Among the startups in Florida that received the $50,000 funding were ClearSpec LLC, founded in 2011 to develop a medical device; Moterum Inc., founded in 2014 to commercialize a walking assistive device for stroke patients; and Scientific League LLC, founded in 2011 to create STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) educational materials for K-12 students.

The paper also outlines similar success stories coming out of Purdue University, the University of Texas, the University of Chicago, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Washington State University.

Measuring the success of university funding programs

"How do we measure the success of university funding programs?" is a question the authors also tackled, a question that is complicated by the variety of ways in which success can be measured.

Direct measurements of success can include loan repayment or equity payout rates, which demonstrate positive return on investment. Indirect measurements may include numbers of license agreements executed, companies formed, jobs created, sponsored research generated, and products launched. "There are direct and indirect measures of success," wrote the authors. "Ultimately, success depends on the goals of the program."

"Programs based at the university are uniquely poised to bridge the gap between academic research and commercialization, as they are housed at the very institution that spawned the technology," concluded the authors. As co-author Paul Sanberg, senior vice president for research, innovation, and economic development at USF, notes, "In essence, there is a sense of ownership that strives for, and drives toward, a company's success. The company's success is then the university's success."
Co-authors on the paper include: Joelle Mendez-Hinds and Paul Sanberg, USF Research & Innovation; Jack Miner, Office of Technology Transfer, University of Michigan; Marc C. Sedam, The Office of Research, University of New Hampshire; and Kevin Wozniak, Office of Industry Engagement, Georgia Tech Research Corporation.

The National Academy of Inventors is a 501(c)(3) non-profit member organization comprising U.S. and international universities, and governmental and non-profit research institutes, with over 3,000 individual inventor members and Fellows spanning more than 200 institutions, and growing rapidly. It was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society. The NAI offices are located in the USF Research Park in Tampa. The NAI publishes the multidisciplinary journal, Technology and Innovation.

University of South Florida (USF Innovation)

Related Stroke Patients Articles:

Heart failure patients have similar odds of dementia-type brain lesions as stroke patients
A type of brain damage linked with dementia and cognitive impairment is as common in heart failure patients as it is in patients with a history of stroke, according to findings from the LIFE-Adult-Study presented today at ESC Congress 2019 together with the World Congress of Cardiology.
How to help patients recover after a stroke
The existing approach to brain stimulation for rehabilitation after a stroke does not take into account the diversity of lesions and the individual characteristics of patients' brains.
Many stroke patients not screened for osteoporosis, despite known risks
Many stroke survivors have an increased risk of osteoporosis, falls or breaks when compared to healthy people.
Stroke patients treated at a teaching hospital are less likely to be readmitted
Stroke patients appear to receive better care at teaching hospitals with less of a chance of landing back in a hospital during the early stages of recovery, according to new research from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).
Standardized stroke protocol can ensure ELVO stroke patients are treated within 60 minutes
A new study shows that developing a standardized stroke protocol of having neurointerventional teams meet suspected emergent large vessel occlusion (ELVO) stroke patients upon their arrival at the hospital achieves a median door-to-recanalization time of less than 60 minutes.
Drug reduces inflammation in stroke patients
An anti-inflammatory drug given to patients in the early stages of a stroke has been shown by researchers at The University of Manchester and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust to reduce harmful inflammation.
Stenting system shown to benefit certain stroke patients
A specialized stenting system used to open blocked arteries in the brain resulted in a low complication rate among a specific group of patients with stroke histories, a study led by Cedars-Sinai researchers has found.
Combining stroke treatments shows improved outcomes for ELVO stroke patients
Intravenous thrombolysis pretreatment may improve mechanical thrombectomy outcomes in emergent large-vessel occlusions (ELVO) patients, according to a new study presented today at the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery's 14th Annual Meeting.
Stroke patients take the lead in their rehabilitation
EPFL spin-off Intento has developed a patient-controlled electrical-stimulation device that helps stroke victims regain mobility in paralyzed arms.
Many stroke patients do not receive life-saving therapy
Many ischemic stroke patients do not get tPA, which can decrease their chances for recovery.
More Stroke Patients News and Stroke Patients Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at