Tim opens the conversation with a brief discussion on the early goals of the organization, which included working with the University of Colorado and engaging high-potential, early stage companies to boost their growth, sales and employment. Over the years, Innovation Center of the Rockies (ICR) has expanded their outreach to include all four universities in Colorado, one in Wyoming and they are in discussions to continue expanding their footprint.
Tim describes what they found to be a similar challenge across the universities, which is the rate of invention tends to outpace the rate of commercialization. ICR helps tech transfer offices boost commercialization activity by matching industry experts with research and faculty to explore the commercial potential of technologies. A new company is formed about 1 in 10 times through this inventive and low-cost process that involves more than 1,500 volunteer advisors. Eric also talks about how their approach with faculty brings about trust and a greater willingness to work together.
Advice for others seeking similar outcomes include:
- Understanding the needs of the university;
- Adapting your service offerings to fit the university needs; and,
- Trying for early successes to demonstrate positive impact.
Making sure the faculty has a good experience with the business side makes them more likely to do it again, which in turn helps change the culture, Eric adds.
About Innovation Center of the Rockies
With firm footing in the Colorado entrepreneurial community, ICR draws from a pool of more than 1,500 volunteer advisors to provide expert matching for incubator clients in developing commercialization strategies for university inventions and help established companies overcome critical obstacles. A replicable model and formally organized network of business decision makers, entrepreneurs and mentors distinguish the program as a leader in the field. Efforts to commercialize research have resulted in the creation of 498 jobs since 2006, and ICR clients have attracted nearly $91 million in new capital.
About the Excellence in TBED Awards
SSTI’s Excellence in TBED Awards recognize exceptional achievement in addressing elements that have been found in successful tech-based economies. These include a research base that generates new knowledge, mechanisms for transferring knowledge into the marketplace, an entrepreneurial culture, sources of risk capital, and a technically skilled workforce. For more information visit: http://www.sstiawards.org.
Listen to the interview (approximately 18 minutes):