News

New Austin Technology Incubator leadership featured in the Austin Business Journal

New ATI Director Mitch Jacobson highlights ATI’s focus on “deep tech.”

Today’s Austin Business Journal featured a story on new leadership at the Austin Technology Incubator.

Mitch Jacobson, who has led the ATI Clean Energy Incubator since 2009, was named in October as director of ATI.

Highlights of the article:

“We’re doubling down on this type of ‘deep tech,’ where we’re trying to solve really hard problems with tech solutions” — something Austin’s other incubators and accelerators aren’t doing, Jacobson said. “And we intend to be a better and more influential partner in the community’s startup arena.” …

“We also want to improve our efforts working within UT, across all disciplines, to find technologies developed here that we can commercialize to tackle challenges like carbon capture, city-utility water leaks and the reuse of water in fracking.” …

Linking the inherent expertise that spans so many spheres within UT itself — and with the greater Austin community — is key to what differentiates ATI among the rest of the incubators and accelerators in the Texas capital, said Gregory Pogue, interim executive director of UT’s IC² Institute. ATI operates within the institute.

“Taking advantage of that allows us to work more solidly toward solving the most difficult problems with deep tech,” Pogue said. …

New people in charge of ATI’s focus areas:

Dr. Lisa McDonald, biological and health sciences
Richard Amato and Dr. Michael Webber, clean energy
Dr. Mark Sanders, transportation and mobility and water
Dr. Charles Upshaw, who specializes in the internet-of-things within water

ABJ subscribers can read the full article.

Read more about the ATI team on the Austin Technology Incubator website.

ATI team

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Southwest I-Corps accepting applications for winter 2018 regional program

Researchers are invited to explore the commercial value of their innovations and qualify for a $50K NSF commercialization grant.

Southwest I-Corps Winter 2018 regional programSouthwest I-Corps is now accepting applications to its next regional program, running January 25 – February 22, 2018.

The NSF I-Corps regional program will facilitate the commercial evaluation of academic research and innovation, and develop potentially eligible teams for the national NSF I-Corps program and a $50,000 I-Corps team grant. During the program, teams will be introduced to the fundamental I-Corps principles, helping teams explore the potential value of their research or innovation, and quickly and effectively validate their commercialization strategy.

The NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) enables teams of scientists, researchers and engineers to explore the commercial potential of their research or innovation. By learning how to assess commercialization opportunities, teams gain a better understanding of their market, customers, competitors and industry.

The IC² Institute hosts the headquarters of the Southwest I-Corps Node, which serves universities and research centers in Texas and adjacent states.

For more information, download the flyer, see the announcement on the Southwest I-Corps website, or contact Aprille Busch, Southwest I-Corps Assistant Director, at abusch@ic2.utexas.edu.

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Hear ATI’s Mitch Jacobson on Austin’s collaborative incubator/accelerator scene

Austin Technology Incubator Director Mitch Jacobson spoke with KUT about Austin’s wealth of resources for startups and ATI’s commitment to “deep tech.”

“Whoever is an entrepreneur in Austin is lucky, because of the amount of resources we have in the city for entrepreneurs, between the accelerators and incubators and events like South By Southwest and events that go on any day of the week,” said Jacobson. He said Austin now has many options for entrepreneurs, and organizations cooperate to find the best fit for each startup.

Regarding ATI’s role, Jacobson said the incubator now focuses on what they call “deep tech.” “We’re working on technology that solves big problems with big solutions, so, energy technology, water technology, infrastructure technology and the biosciences: drugs, medical and diagnostic equipment.”

Listen the full story at KUT.org.

Mitch Jacobson on KUT

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Richard Amato at HATCH! FAIR in Hanoi

In September, IC²’s Richard Amato served as a judge and panel moderator at HATCH! FAIR, Vietnam’s largest entrepreneurial conference and start-up exhibition. The panel discussion focused on entrepreneurship within universities and featured several leading university professors and investors from Hanoi who are driving incubation and entrepreneurship for the students.

Richard’s participation was an outgrowth of his work at the Vietnam Climate Innovation Center. VCIC is one of seven similar centers funded by the World Bank in order to develop sustainable industries in developing nations by commercializing locally relevant technologies in the clean-tech/climate space. Richard and the IC² Institute have been actively engaged since 2015 in supporting CICs in four of the seven countries in the program: Vietnam, Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa. Now in its second year, the Vietnam CIC has incubated 39 companies to date.

For more information:

Richard Amato at HATCH! FAIR 2017 in Hanoi

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Congrats to Toybrary Austin, winner of 2017 Celia Bell Award

FASTForward participant Liza Wilson, owner of Toybrary Austin, was the winner in the Startup category of the 2017 Celia Bell Entrepreneur Awards.

Watch Liza talk about her vision for Toybrary Austin and the value of a good mentor.

Toybrary Austin is one of the 19 local Austin businesses taking part in IC²’s FASTForward Austin entrepreneurship training program this fall.

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FASTForward welcomes 19 companies into 2017 program

The IC² Institute’s FASTForward program has welcomed a new group of 19 local Austin companies into the second year of its small-business entrepreneurship training program.

Participating business owners will spend 10 weeks working to grow their businesses with the help of IC² experts and an enthusiastic group of mentors from UT and the Austin community.

FASTForward 2017 companies and mentors

FASTForward was developed by the IC² Institute at The University of Texas at Austin and is supported by the Small Business Program of the City of Austin.

You can learn see the full roster of companies at fastforwardatx.org.

FASTForward 2017 company logos

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IC² Fellow Fred Phillips awarded Kondratieff Medal

Dr. Fred Phillips, Distinguished Professor at Yuan Ze University’s College of Management and Visiting Professor at SUNY Stony Brook’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, received the 2017 N. D. Kondratieff Medal (Gold) from the Russian Academy of Sciences. The Academy issues the prize every three years to a scholar who has made signal contributions to the social sciences. The medal, like the N.D. Kondratieff Foundation that administers it, is named for a pioneering Russian economist (1892-1938) who by identifying the “long wave” economic cycles inspired the later work of Joseph Schumpeter and Simon Kuznets.

Phillips accepted the medal and delivered the laureate lecture on September 25 at a ceremony in Moscow.

Phillips earned the PhD at The University of Texas at Austin and has been an IC² Fellow since 1984. He has enjoyed a global career, teaching at UT Austin, Oregon Graduate Institute of Science & Technology, Maastricht School of Management, Yuan Ze University in Taiwan, and Stony Brook’s program in Korea. He is editor in chief of Elsevier’s 50-year-old international journal Technological Forecasting & Social Change, which has published approximately 300 works by Kondratieff scholars.

Fred Phillips can be reached at fred.phillips@stonybrook.edu.

Fred Phillips receives Kondratieff Medal

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Austin’s Entrepreneurial Genesis

Dr. Elsie Echeverri-Carroll, IC² Institute

With generous support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the IC² Institute has documented the evolution of Austin’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. We present a summary of our findings in an infographic and short report below. The infographic shows Austin’s entrepreneurial trend between 1990 and 2016 and presents the five parallel stages of Austin’s entrepreneurial genesis. The short report summarizes the genesis of Austin’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

View the infographic
Read the report

Entrepreneurial Spawning - Tivoli

For more information

Austin Research

Publications

Related Research

Acknowledgments

Kauffman Foundation
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is focused on education and entrepreneurship and is among the largest private foundations in the United States.
www.kauffman.org/who-we-are

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IC² Institute student and faculty engagement

So far this year, IC² has engaged with 87 students and 30 faculty in 11 colleges at UT Austin.

As an interdisciplinary research unit at The University of Texas at Austin, the IC² Institute is proud to work with students and faculty all across campus and all around the world.

87 UT students from 11 colleges and schools participated in IC² programs in spring and summer 2017.

That number does not include some of our international activities such as our team teaching 21 students from 6 countries at the Peking University Globex Program, or the MCCT master’s program in technology commercialization led by IC² in Nuevo León, Mexico. All told, so far in 2017 the IC² Institute has engaged 198 students from UT and around the world in programs on four continents.

Further, we have actively collaborated in educational and research activities with 30 UT faculty members from nine colleges and schools around campus so far in 2017.

IC2 student engagement chart
IC2 faculty engagement chart
IC2 world engagement chart

Here are some of the specific ways students participated in IC² Institute programs this year.

  • Student researchers were active participants in the IC² Insight to Innovation research program. These awards stimulate research by tenured and tenure-track faculty across UT Austin and promote thought leadership in the disciplines informing entrepreneurship theory and practice. Students also participated at every level in other IC² research projects funded by the Kaufmann Foundation, the State of Texas, and the NSF.
  • Students participated in the 2017 Research in Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Challenge (REACH) summer program. In this program, 16 students were taught concepts related to technology commercialization, analyzing the market potential of a specific technology, and designing a social science research project to explore an aspect of commercialization of innovations. Six of these students furthered their research through site visits to Poland, Korea or India.
  • IC² Institute commercialization units – the Austin Technology Incubator and Global Commercialization Group – engaged students as interns to help innovators and startups turn their ideas into viable products and services.
  • Students investigated innovation and entrepreneurial policy and practice in Japan and Nepal in the LBJ School Policy Research Programs led by Drs. David Eaton and David Gibson.
  • Students served as entrepreneurial leads in NSF Innovation Corps Regional and National programs led by the Southwest I-Corps node housed in the IC² Institute and the Office of the Vice President of Research. The I-Corps program supports faculty innovators, entrepreneurial leads and community mentors as they investigate the commercial potential of a product or service emerging from NSF-sponsored research. These investigations yield new technology licensing or startup opportunities.
  • Student-led teams formed the core of the Austin Technology Incubator Student Entrepreneur Acceleration and Launch program. SEAL is a two-month accelerator program which offers startups just emerging from universities and other research institutions across the country a market-driven approach to vet the viability of a scalable startup. The program provides industry-specific mentors to identify potential obstacles to scaling and insights on how to potentially overcome those issues. SEAL culminates in Decision Day, where teams announce a Go versus No-Go decision. This year’s program hosted participants from UT and six other universities through competitive Kaufmann Foundation funding.
  • Student provided support for administration and operational activities at the IC² Institute where they practice interpersonal skills, organizational activities and support Institute researchers.
  • MBA students from the McCombs School of Business met with Indian startups and entrepreneurship leaders in Delhi as part of their international MBA program. The meeting took place at the IC² Institute’s Nexus Startup Hub, a collaboration with the US Department of State. The student group was led by UT Austin Professor Kishore Gawande.

The IC² Institute is energized to engage deeply with The University of Texas at Austin to provide unique educational opportunities for students and faculty through our programs in Austin and around the world.

To be informed about future opportunities for UT students and faculty at the IC² Institute, please subscribe to our mailing list.

IC2 student quotes

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All systems go for student-led startups at ATI SEAL Decision Day

The Austin Technology Incubator’s 2017 SEAL program concluded yesterday with 14 out of 17 companies announcing a full Go decision at Decision Day, hosted at Austin’s Capital Factory.

SEAL Decision Day 2017SEAL (Student Entrepreneur Acceleration and Launch) is a two-month accelerator program which provides startups just emerging from universities and other research institutions across the country a market-driven approach to vet the viability of a scalable startup. The program provides industry-specific mentors to identify potential obstacles to scaling and insights on how to potentially overcome those issues. SEAL culminates in Decision Day, where teams announce a Go versus No-Go decision. The program is led by Bart Bohn, a director at the Austin Technology Incubator, and Dr. David Altounian, a professor of entrepreneurship at St. Edward’s University and a partner at Capital Factory. Co-working space was provided on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin by the Blackstone Launchpad.

In SEAL’s 10th year it continues to be one of the few programs to primarily serve very early stage, predominantly student-led startups based on deeper engineering and science innovations. Historically, about a third of teams go on to raise funding to scale up their companies while about a third shut down at the conclusion or shortly afterwards. The No-Go decisions are equally celebrated as it takes special effort to recognize market-driven obstacles to an opportunity and realize that it is right not to pursue it.

SEAL Decision Day 2017In 2017, teams came from The University of Texas at Austin (7), Texas A&M (4), St. Edward’s University (2), The University of Texas at San Antonio, Southwest Research Institute, Clemson University, and Caltech. Of the 17 total teams, four gained funding traction during the program, three have revenue traction and several engaged new customers or partners. The participation of teams from beyond UT Austin was again this year made possible thanks to a two-year grant from the Kauffman Foundation.

The research connection

This year for the first time ATI SEAL became a living laboratory for the study of student entrepreneurship. Five faculty researchers from The University of Texas at Austin, Clemson University and The University of Texas at San Antonio investigated aspects of entrepreneurship theory and practice by engaging with the teams during the program. The IC² Institute supported five student researchers to deploy the studies and will support their subsequent work over the coming year.

Dr. Clay Spinuzzi of the UT Austin College of Liberal Arts used the SEAL program as an opportunity extend his long-standing research on the rhetoric of entrepreneurship by studying the developing communication skills of student startups. “Working with the SEAL teams was fascinating,” he said. “Over the course of the summer, we saw how the teams sharpened their arguments, identified their target markets, developed their product designs, and adjusted their business models so that they could turn their good ideas into viable firms with convincing pitches.”

The companies

Blueberri
Creating the hotel experience of tomorrow

ClearCam
Intraoperative disposable laparoscope lens cleaner

DataSense
A UV Fluorescent dental cavity detector probe

EQO
Molecular solutions for environmental problems

Hauoli
Motion tracking for VR/AR, gaming, and smart appliances

iDOMS
Specializing in digital oil field management

ILS
Providing a new way to image cellular structures

LT2
Creating a friction-less world

Molecular Artificial Retina
A treatment to restore sight in dry macular degeneration patients

NoTow
User-friendly parking marketplace

ProteanSeq
Changing proteomics one peptide at a time

Ryze
The personal relationship manager

Sandbox Semiconductors
Accelerating manufacturing process development

ShowerStream
Smarter showers for hotels

Thermascape
Next generation heat transfer enhancement additives

Xelpha Health
A simplified EMR built for providers by providers

Yotta Solar
SolarLEAF-Reliable energy storage that simply scales to your needs

Press coverage

From VR tracking to smart showers, these 6 Austin startups are all-in on their ideas, Austin Business Journal 8/2/2017

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