The OTC and the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UT Dallas (IIE) have combined their efforts to implement a new paradigm under which the university will operate its technology commercialization program, foster an atmosphere of innovation and entrepreneurship, and facilitate the launch of new enterprises.
Through the active collaboration and integrated efforts of OTC and IIE, UT Dallas faculty and students will be given assistance to commercialize select university-derived innovations through the formation of new companies, as appropriate.
Given the University's strong focus on creating new companies and the need to proactively assist the launch and growth of these new start-ups, the UT Dallas Venture Development Center (VDC) was launched in 2011. The VDC is a state-of-the-art business incubator that houses start-up companies that are based on UT Dallas technology. The 8200 square foot facility, located adjacent to campus, provides offices, lab space, central shared facilities and services to approximately 10-15 start-up companies. VDC staff and Advisory Board of experienced entrepreneurs and investors team with OTC staff and the faculty of the IIE to provide mentoring, accounting services, entrepreneurial education, showcase opportunities and connectivity to investors and professional service providers.
University-based facilitation of start-ups is further made possible through "virtual" incubation processes assisted by the IIE MBA internship program, faculty mentors and the OTC/IIE Entrepreneurs in Residence program. This pro-active start-up facilitation and virtual incubation initiative may include:
A UT Dallas start-up is simply a new business entity or "spinoff" formed to commercialize one or more university-derived inventions or intellectual properties. Formation of a start-up business is an alternative commercialization approach to licensing the invention to an established company.
Starting a new company requires a substantial commitment and sacrifice of time and resources on the part of the founder(s). The reality is that the vast majority of new ventures fail, even when the technology at the foundation of the company appears to have significant commercial potential. The quality of the science or technology behind a startup is but one factor that may enable the success of the enterprise. The most important factor to the success of any new enterprise is ultimately the experience and capability of the management team and their execution intelligence.
Formation of a start-up to commercialize a UT Dallas invention should follow careful and extensive consideration by the inventor(s). Several key factors will influence the success of a new venture, including the following:
It is essential that the entrepreneur take time to be educated in the entrepreneurial process and be willing to accept mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs. For a more comprehensive list of criteria to consider regarding evaluating a technology for start-up potential, please see the Commercial Viability Assessment tool.
Yes, but you will be required to fulfill all university duties, commitments and responsibilities you have now and your time away from the university must comply with all university policies. Also, your involvement with a new enterprise will require management of the relevant conflict of interest issues, including with respect to graduate students, research and intellectual property ownership. For more information you should speak with the staff of the OTC and consult the conflict of interest policy under Polices and Guidelines.
Yes. However, any invention created by you at UT Dallas would proceed through the licensing process as with any other company.
Prior to making a decision regarding the best approach for commercializing a UT Dallas invention, the OTC would seek input from the inventor to determine the recommended options. Should a start-up be both desirable and feasible, OTC is able and willing to actively assist with launching a new business. Additionally, OTC provides resources for those interested in starting new enterprises—See Venture Development Resources below.
Contact OTC to discuss your interest in licensing the invention. OTC, in consultation with the inventor, will weigh the commercialization options to determine if the most favorable commercialization approach is to license to your company or an established company. Should UT Dallas agree that a start-up be the licensee, then OTC can assist the process.
Yes. However, research funding received into your laboratory from a company in which you own financial interest creates a conflict situation that requires approval and oversight. This oversight would include an unrelated overseer to review both the research and finances of any project in your laboratory, which is supported by your company. To avoid additional conflict, you should not be the UT Dallas principal investigator on any project funded by your company.
No. You may be able to support or sponsor research on the technology at the university, as any outside company can sponsor. However, there are requirements for oversight of the research which must be discussed with the Conflict of Interest committee, in order to manage any possible conflict.
This would be the decision of the departmental chair, dean, and provost.
No. However, if UT Dallas-derived technology needs to be licensed to the new start-up, approval and a license from OTC are necessary along with compliance with all UT Dallas policies including conflict of interest policies.
Yes. However, disclosure of such involvements and compliance with all UT Dallas conflict of interest policies is mandatory. This is also usually permissible without consultation with the conflict of interest committee. It should be noted that some federal agencies mandate disclosure of consultancies for which compensation exceeds a specified threshold. Additionally, pursuant to the UT Dallas policy no more than 20 percent of one's total professional effort may be directed to outside work during the academic year.
Yes. Holding stock (or stock options) in the start-up company is allowed. The investigator may receive stock as partial compensation for his/her role on the board of the company and/or as a founder of that company. The distribution of such equity will be determined by the investigator's agreement with the start-up itself. However, the inventor does not participate in the distribution of any equity received by UT Dallas through license agreements.
Involving students and/or post-docs in UT Dallas research that would benefit the new company is considered a conflict. Involving students and/or post-docs more directly in the company (as employees or consultants) also raises conflict of interest issues. Consultation with the dean and/or the is generally required in order to ensure that the student's/post-doc's educational experience is not compromised.
UTD Tech ID: 09-002 "Software Defined Radio Transceiver to Enable Low-Cost, Low-Power, GSM/P25 Emergency Radio" (prototype shown)