Fed Tech Lab Program: Leveraging External Entrepreneurship to Commercialize Federal Technologies
The Fed Tech Lab Program (https://www.fedtech.io) was born in 2013 as part of the National Science Foundation's Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program to help commercialize the inventions from the $140 billion invested each year in federally funded research institutions. The program, an offshoot of the Washington, DC-area I-Corps effort, recruits inventors in federal laboratories with promising technologies, and matches each inventor with an experienced entrepreneur screened to ensure that he or she has the right background and understanding to take that invention to market. Fed Tech runs each team through a process of rigorous customer discovery and business model building to optimize its go-to-market strategy. Fed Tech runs several of these cohorts per year, and has engaged the premier R&D labs and entrepreneurs across the nation to spin out technologies that improve lives and drive economic growth.
In this talk, members of the Fed Tech team will share the challenges and success stories from our experience in helping entrepreneurs starting companies based on federally funded intellectual property. We partner with technology transfer offices at partnering federal labs to make it easier for entrepreneurs to access research discoveries, incentivizes entrepreneurs and researchers to form a company, and help them to go to the next level once company is formed. In particular, the speakers will discuss the unique technology licensing issues that arise in this cooperative approach to founding start-ups using federal laboratory inventions. In particular, the program has taken advantage of new provisions offered by federal agencies to grant exclusive licenses to start-ups in cases where a nonexclusive license would pose a barrier to attracting external investment. For example, National Institute of Health established “NIH Startup Exclusive License Agreements” to facilitate licensing of intramural NIH and CDC inventions to startup companies. Because it takes longer and more resources to bring early stage biomedical technologies to market, it makes sense for an agency like NIH to pioneer an agency wide program to reduce risk for startups.
CEO, Hyperion Technologies LLC
Managing Partner, Fed Tech Lab Program
Chief Strategy Officer, EYL Inc.
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
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