Startup Technology Commercialization: How It Works

The startup study done by leaders in the field such as Brown, Kozmetsky, Smilor and David Birch reveals that big companies don’t innovate well they want products, not raw technologies. It’s the small and medium-size companies that can have a raw technology and turn it into a product; but they lack adequate resources to proceed. Consequently, over 75 percent of the licensable technologies sit on the University shelves.

Here in the state of Utah, we’ve made a considerable effort to improve the dissemination of technologies caused by R&D in our research institutions. As you might be aware, the University of Utah this past year exceeded MIT and is the number one University in brand new high tech startups.

Brigham Young University has a larger percentage of exemptions per dollar of study than other associations that are members of AUTM, the Association University Technology Managers, of which nearly 2,000 institutions participate.

The study institutions get their R&D funds, which can be expended on research activities, the study often leads to intellectual properties. These intellectual properties are supplied to the Technology Transfer Office for them to find the application and possible licensees of the technology. Here in Utah, which is normally typical nationally, 84 percent of all of the patents are for manufactured products and 16% are for applications and internet innovations.

The majority of the possible candidates identified for use of those intellectual properties are among the large producers, where there are roughly 3,000 in America or are implemented into new high tech startups, generally, spin-offs from the research institutions.

The system of earning R&D funds, accomplishing the study, supplying it to the Technology Transfer Office for them to find a person to use the new intellectual properties is a”push” system, that is to say, a ‘Products Offered’ methodology. This technology push mentality (instead of market pull) two big items became obvious.

First, more than 75 percent of each the inventions and technologies developed annually aren’t licensed, transferred to business or integrated into products. Secondly, due to the manpower necessary to run technology transfer, the focus has mostly been, as previously mentioned, on the 3,000 large producers or to their own high tech startups.

Ignored in this procedure are the more than 300,000 moderate to small manufacturers that are resource constrained and therefore left from the procedure. It’s important to remember that while Universities and Federal Labs provide a few technologies, business supplies over 95 percent of their commercialization activities that bring new technologies in the kind of new products to market.

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