VIC Develops Own Startup ‘Venture Ecosystem'

by Mark Carter  on Monday, Aug. 25, 2014 12:00 am  

“Ultimately, those early companies came to thrive,” Goforth said. “However, it was a very long process to get those companies to where they are today. Today, VIC searches nationwide for technologies and looks for high-impact technologies that have a faster path to market.”

So far, VIC has identified and licensed technology from some of the country’s top research universities and two universities outside the U.S.: the University of Arkansas, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Tufts University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Texas, Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Colorado, the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, the University of Nebraska, Kagawa University in Japan and the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

Phil Stafford calls VIC a “model corporate partner.” He is president of the UA Technology Development Foundation, which oversees the UA’s research park. “I think of the VIC business model as a ‘just-in-time’ management system that assures that each technology company under development has the essential management services available at precisely the right time,” Stafford said. “Delivering the overarching management services in this fashion is not only cost effective, but it allows the technical team to remain focused on product development. Over the years, it has been very gratifying to see the growth and expansion of their portfolio companies into thriving enterprises.”

VIC’s startups owe much of their growth to the venture ecosystem created by Goforth and his colleagues.

The VIC Investor Network provides seed money typically used for completing proof-of-concept work, Goforth said, while the VIC Venture Fund was created to bring first products to market and achieve other “significant value-enhancing milestones.” The VIC Growth Fund was a much smaller precursor to the Venture Fund, he said.

VIC makes available a limited number of “slots” in its investor network. A slot is represented by a $25,000 investment commitment.

“The Venture Fund is being developed to invest in companies with strong intellectual property foundations and technologies that address societally important health problems,” Goforth said. “The fund focuses on the underserved gap between initial seed funding and revenue-growth stage investments. Although we are just beginning to put this fund together, the addition of the fund to the VIC venture development ecosystem will help drive more rapid and efficient growth.”

SFC Fluidics CEO Tony Cruz said VIC’s model allowed his firm to focus on getting its disposable insulin pump patch to market, which it expects to do early next year.

“VIC put in place the core technology licenses, financial processes and initial leadership at SFC Fluidics,” he said. “With the early-stage infrastructure in place, SFC was able to focus on strategic partnerships and technology and product development. In startup companies, it is important to be able to focus on the areas that matter.”



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