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University Of Maryland's Ventureaccelerator

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Creating a Technology Incubator and Creating a Seed Fund

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1520.1 - 12.1520.18



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Paper Authors


Scott Laughlin University of Maryland

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Scott Laughlin is Director of the VentureAccelerator at the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (MTECH). Mr. Laughlin is a former Partner in IDG Ventures, a $600M family of private funds invested in early stage technology companies. Prior to his career in venture capital, Mr. Laughlin was a successful senior executive in Silicon Valley-based start-up companies, including a company sold to Microsoft. Mr. Laughlin received his B.A. from Princeton University (’90).

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Scott Magids University of Maryland

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Scott Magids is Director of MTECH Ventures, one of the two main branches of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (MTECH). Mr. Magids is the primary architect of the VentureAccelerator program. Mr. Magids is a serial entrepreneur and private equity investor in the technology and marketing industries. Mr. Magids received his B.S. (with highest honors) from the University of Maryland.

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David Barbe University of Maryland

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David Barbe is Executive Director of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (MTECH), Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Faculty Director of the CEOs Program. He received B.S. (’62) and M.S. (’64) from West Virginia University and the Ph.D. (’69) from The Johns Hopkins University in Electrical Engineering. He is a Fellow of the IEEE. His publications deal with electronics technology and technology entrepreneurship. Dr. Barbe received the ASEE Entrepreneurship Division Outstanding Entrepreneurship Education Award in June 2003.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The University of Maryland’s VentureAccelerator 1. Introduction

In the 21st Century, universities will play a central role in the health of the US “innovation economy”. According to a recent National Science Foundation report, in 2004 science and engineering expenditures at universities and colleges amounted to almost $43B, with $27B from the federal government, $2B from industry and the remaining $14B from state and local government, institutional and other sources.1 This funding provides an exceptional foundation for new scientific discovery, as well as for the advancement of applied technologies.

Unfortunately, a relatively small percentage of these new discoveries ever translate into long- term commercial successes. Several impediments, both institutional and market-driven, conspire to keep inventions from finding their way into, or better yet becoming the foundation of, commercial ventures. Examples of institutional impediments include: (a) lack of market acceptance for university licensing practices, (b) conflict of interest concerns for faculty, particularly within public universities, (c) lack of alignment between publication of findings and application for patent protection, and (d) weak or nonexistent entrepreneurship culture and education for science and engineering faculty and students. Common market impediments include: (a) limited initial seed-stage funding for the development and improvement of prototypes, (b) the difficulty of creating functioning early-stage management teams and (c) the mismatch between talents required for commercialization and a university’s traditional career rewards.

Two other factors hamper technology venturing on campus. First, most US universities do not have reliable venture-building expertise at the seed-stage level. Venture-building expertise includes access to funding and team-building networks, as well as experience in planning and launching ventures. Second, most regions suffer from inadequate hands-on, seed capital resources willing to invest early in the life of a new technical venture. These voids in a region’s venturing ecosystem discourage many technologists within universities, and other institutions, from embarking upon the commercialization of innovations.

Given these impediments, to achieve their most effective role in the innovation economy, research universities require new, more aggressive models of commercialization. Traditional models of Intellectual Property (IP) licensing are insufficient alone to unlock the untapped commercial opportunities stemming from scientific and technical discoveries on campus.

One of the most promising paths forward is the creation of formal programs that empower students and faculty to take an active role in commercializing their inventions through new company formation. Such a program requires more than information and education; it requires direct, hands-on assistance with most facets of business formation, planning, networking, financing and team building. United States colleges and universities have a tremendous untapped entrepreneurial resource in their students and faculty.

Recently, the University of Maryland’s Clark School of Engineering, through its VentureAccelerator Program, has pioneered the provision of specific and dedicated services for

Laughlin, S., & Magids, S., & Barbe, D. (2007, June), University Of Maryland's Ventureaccelerator Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2379

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