Category Archives: Blog

The Faculty Founder – Management Team Relationship

A university startup, in the early days, typically has a small team, usually one or more faculty who were involved in the founding of the company and several lead management and business people (President, CEO, CSO, VP Business Development or R&D) who may or may not have been involved in the founding of the company. Given the early stage of the company, team chemistry is paramount for the venture to be successful. Sometimes, however, the chemistry is less than optimal leading to conflicts which can then lead to a more serious problems of stagnation of company growth, splitting up the team, or folding of the company.  Let’s examine the elements of the relationships between the scientific founders and the startup management team.

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Filling the Talent Gap for University Startups: Graduate Students and Post-Docs

The Problem: The Talent Gap

University startups are typically built around a technology or discovery from faculty research. As the startup forms, it needs a number of critical elements to in increase the likelihood for success. While a significant amount of attention is focused on gap funding for the early-stage startup, of equal and perhaps more importance is bringing talent into the company. The talent required for university startup falls into to domains: technical and business. Continue reading

EIR Programs and Other Ways of Engaging Outside Experts

Orin Herskowitz, from the tech transfer office at Columbia University, recently published an overview the Columbia’s Executive-in-Residence (XIR) program along with data from similar programs at 26 other universities. These programs, also referred to as Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIR) programs, help to bring expertise in-house for various purposes but the general theme is to provide input, advice, connections related to the commercialization of technology. Continue reading

Why Commercialize University Research?

When I left private enterprise and came to the university, I was confronted with this question. The question isn’t should universities commercialize their research but rather why? The should question has explored in another post. As I explored the why question, it became clear that the answer depended on who was being asked. So these are the answers I got. Continue reading

Should Universities Commercialize Research?

I’ve been reading Daniel Greenberg’s book Science for Sale: The Perils, Rewards, and Delusions of Campus Capitalism. It raises a number of issues around universities and their role in commercializing inventions discovered through scientific research. Continue reading