In fiscal year 2022-23 (FY 23), from July 2022 through June 2023, there were 31 innovation disclosures and the UO filed for 26 new patents. Researchers launched two new spinout companies based on university research, bringing the total number of existing startups with formal ties to the university up to 32. The UO saw an innovation income of $8.3 million.
Beyond these figures, the University of Oregon also established two new mechanisms to further encourage innovation: Launch Oregon and the Translational Opportunity Program and its accompanying fund.
UO’s Innovation Pipeline Gets a Boost
In March 2023, the UO unveiled Launch Oregon, a limited liability company managed by the UO Foundation that accelerates the translation of research and innovation into commercial ventures. Launch Oregon helps founders create teams and commercialization strategy, connects them to relevant startup advisors and board members, and secures access to capital. Launch Oregon is the first of its kind in the state.
Additionally, the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation also created the Translational Opportunity Program (TOP) and Fund, a function of which is to funnel intellectual property through the innovation pipeline and into the Launch Oregon process of spinning out new companies. Researchers receive seed funding, then participate in innovator training programs and National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps entrepreneurial training. They work with the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship to conduct market analysis and develop business plans. TOP participants attend business law clinics to learn about entity formation, contracts, and trademarks.
“It was a growth year for innovation at the University of Oregon,” said Anshuman “AR” Razdan, vice president for research and innovation. “Launch Oregon and the Translational Opportunity Program, in concert with existing mechanisms, are the compounded investments that will give the UO’s innovation flywheel momentum.”
Ongoing Spinout Success
In collaboration with Lane Workforce Partnership, OVPRI conducted a survey with spinout companies, in which 11 companies chose to participate. Based on the survey, one-third of those companies boast female CEOs and on average employ 10 people full-time. 30% of the companies are early stage, 20% in growth stage, and 20% in late stage. Their average annual revenue is $5.4 million, with funding sources ranging from Series C investment to grants to direct sales.
Women’s Innovation Network
In addition to its analysis of the spinout outcomes, Lane Workforce Partnership also surveyed Women’s Innovation Network (WIN) participants. Of the 14 survey participants, 36% have registered a business, and of those who have not done so yet, 57% plan to register a business in the future. In the innovation space, 60% have submitted for provisional patents, 40% have engaged in pre-accelerator programs, and 30% have entered NSF I-Corps training. Fifty-nine women have participated in the program so far.
— By Kelley Christensen, Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation