NC State’s Office of Technology Commercialization and New Ventures has just completed its most successful year ever, launching a record 15 startup companies, executing a record 169 licenses and options and filing 241 patents in the past 12 months. And, with new resources focused on assisting NC State faculty and startups, the trend is likely to continue.
OTCNV has expanded its Executive in Residence program to bring experienced entrepreneurs, investors and industry executives to campus to connect with university innovators and early stage startup companies. The XIR group meets monthly with NC State research teams interested in launching a startup to offer feedback and guidance.
To support startup companies that are beginning to gain traction in the marketplace, OTCNV has continued to partner with the Durham-based Council for Entrepreneurial Development, one of the most experienced nonprofit entrepreneurial support organizations in the country. This partnership allows NC State startups to access CED’s Venture Mentor Service and its group of experienced entrepreneurs and investors.
WIN a Big Win for Startups and Angels
OTCNV was also part of a cross-campus initiative to launch an alumni investor network to support university-affiliated startup companies. The Wolfpack Investor Network, or WIN, was launched last fall to connect NC State alumni angel investors with promising university affiliated startup companies. The network already has over 70 new members who are bringing new capital, connections and resources to invest. To date, WIN members have invested in six startups: Reveal Mobile, Feelgoodz, EmployUs, 410 Medical, Filter Easy and Medicom Technologies Inc..
WIN has also joined forces with other regional universities in the area to form the Triangle Venture Alliance, a partnership comprised of Duke, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina Central University, and NC State.
In order to support technology commercialization efforts across the Research Triangle region, OTCNV partnered with the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps Node in last June to offer an “Introduction to I-Corps” program. The four-week program introduced teams from NC State, UNC Chapel Hill and Duke to the NSF I-Corps methodology, which stresses rigorous market assessment and validation. The program helped commercialization teams reduce market risk and maximize success by challenging their assumptions through discussions with potential customers to identify product-market fit. Teams that successfully completed this short course are now eligible to apply for the full NSF I-Corps national program.
“NC State values collaborative partnerships that allow us to advance our goals of spurring technology-driven economic growth,” said Kelly Sexton, assistant vice chancellor for technology commercialization and new ventures. In recent reports issued by the Association of University Technology Managers and The Milken Institute, NC State was ranked in the top 10 universities for licenses and options executed.