Up to 20 UW startups will have funding by the end of this fiscal year, thanks to help from the UW Center for Commercialization (C4C).
The C4C has funded eight companies in the past six months. By the end of this fiscal year, they expect to fund 16 to 20 — twice as many as the average over the past five years.
SNUPI Technologies, one of the eight spin-outs, received a $1.5 million grant in venture funding in December. Founded by a UW CSE professor, a UW graduate student, a Duke University professor, and a Seattle entrepreneur, SNUPI has won over venture-capital companies by developing a low-powered wireless sensor that can detect various home hazards.
“C4C has provided subsidized space and many opportunities to speak with other entrepreneurs for SNUPI,” said Jeremy Jaech, CEO of SNUPI.
C4C provides gap funding as financial support for startups. It also provides infrastructure, patent agents and attorneys, mentorship, and connections to venture capital investors. In return, C4C shares part of the startups’ profits.
“Over the last four to five years, all our resources to help the startups have grown: We now have more human-capital entrepreneurs in residence and more business expertise,” said Patrick Shelby, director of C4C New Ventures.
Due to the increased resources, C4C is now offering more help than five years ago when there wasn’t so much interaction between researchers and the office.
“They are the bridge,” said Ronald Berenson, president and CEO of KitoTech Medical, one of C4C’s spinout companies.
Berenson was once an entrepreneur and consultant-in-residence for C4C, and he took over management of KitoTech Medical after he was introduced to the great commercial prospect of the company at C4C. He indicated that KitoTech Medical will stick with C4C for the foreseeable future while the company continues to develop its products and technology.
Startups that have used the subsidized space in Fluke Hall can decide whether they should stay or move out based on their own development progress. Meanwhile, C4C works closely with all the startups to help them find private funding.
“We have all these resources and a tremendous ability to help potential startups to get going,” Shelby said. “And we are excited to help. So we encourage researchers with innovative ideas to approach C4C.”