A Recap of “Tech Transfer in the 21st Century: Finding the New Facebook”

Shannon Beeman
May 18, 2011

Last week, David Brophy, Associate Professor of Finance and Director of Center for Venture Capital & Private Equity Finance at Zell Lurie, participated the webcast, “Tech Transfer in the 21st Century: Finding the New Facebook,” hosted by leading venture capital publication, The Deal.  Brophy sat on a panel of experts that included Mary Kathleen Flynn (Senior Editor at The Deal), Jeff Jensen (CEO of Fluxion Biosciences), Jon Steuart (Managing Director at Claremont Creek Ventures LP), and Maria Gotsch (President and CEO of the New York City Investment Fund).

During the webinar, Brophy brought great insight to how technology transfer has affected Michigan over the years. Recently, Michigan has demonstrated a great interest in developing an infrastructure to support entrepreneurs looking to come to the state to invest in startups and technology transfer. The hope is that they will create an environment where startups can flourish, and end up staying in Michigan once they have become successful. In doing so, these companies would generate jobs and turn Michigan from a solely automotive-based economy into a venture capital hub.

Brophy goes on to talk about the important role that universities play in startups. He advocates for tech transfer programs that continually search for ideas at the lab level that could potentially be a seed for future technology startups. By fostering these ideas at an early stage, and giving student entrepreneurs the tools and connections they need from the beginning, the fledgling companies are more likely to succeed.

One of the ways that the University of Michigan helps startups is through its three student-led venture funds (Wolverine Venture Fund, Frankel Commercialization Fund, Social Venture Fund) that are managed by the Zell Lurie Institute. These funds can provide the investment needed to launch a scalable idea into a successful venture. Ultimately, Brophy makes the point that the more ideas the universities can help launch into successful businesses, the more likely other businesses will flock to Michigan, and naturally create the infrastructure the state hopes for.

To hear the full webinar, click on the link below: