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$2.6M to help increase number of Ohio State startups

Ohio State and TechColumbus have teamed up to increase the number of startup companies created from university research in a $2.6 million project.
The collaboration process, called Innovation Gateway, aims to inspire new innovations throughout different areas of OSU research.
Brian Cummings, vice president for technology commercialization for OSU’s Technology Commercialization and Knowledge Transfer, said the partnership with TechColumbus will allow proposals to flow more smoothly.  
“It’s really a collaborative effort between Ohio State and TechColumbus to accelerate ideas into new startup companies,” Cummings said. “It’s kind of a new model. It basically is a way to better assess ideas and then ideate the ideas, which means give them a more consumer-focused effort.”
Combined with the Technology Commercialization and Knowledge Transfer office, TechColumbus offers business advice for Central Ohio’s innovation economy.
Tim Haynes, vice president of marketing and membership for TechColumbus, said partnering with OSU made sense for the company.
“The Ohio State University is a top research university in the world,” Haynes said in an email. “With a wealth of ideas and technologies across a broad range of sectors, Ohio State has untapped potential to commercialize invention and intellectual capital. The identification and development of these ideas and their subsequent commercialization – through targeted support and resources that prove a concept and bring a solution to market – is what the Innovation Gateway is all about.”
According to an Oct. 24 press release, funding for Innovation Gateway cost $2.6 million. The new program comes in the same fiscal year as other changes in the technology commercialization office. Spokeswoman for Technology Commercialization and Knowledge Transfer Melanie Baker said the department has experienced some changes from within.
“We have also begun the reorganization of our internal structure, our technology assessment systems and support programs,” said Baker in an email. “We’re developing customized education initiatives that engage our colleges more in commercialization.”
Along with scouting possible ideas, the Innovation Gateway aims to consider multiple options for commercialization, such as licensing and sales, Haynes said.
Cummings said Innovation Gateway is expected to increase the number of startup companies as well as help the university community.  
“We want to start at least 10 to 12 companies a year with this program,” Cummings said. “It really is targeted toward Ohio State. This is for students, this is for faculty and how we generate better ideas, better startup companies.”
Haynes said he is optimistic about Innovation Gateway’s potential because it will give OSU researchers the chance to build companies with long-lasting impact.
“The Innovation Gateway will dramatically increase the number of new companies formed from Ohio State research and areas of technology expertise,” Haynes said in an email. “It will also give students a platform and a path for exploring their own entrepreneurial ambition.”
This fiscal year, more than 300 students are engaged in technology commercialization programs. Technology commercialization is currently tracking 38 possible startup companies, according to a fiscal year 2012 Technology Commercialization and Knowledge Transfer document.
Cummings said he is confident about what the future holds for prospective startups.
“We should see a lot more capital into those companies and much more sophisticated companies that create jobs in return for Ohio State,” Cummings said.

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