Inventors seek support through Minnesota startup incubator – Kansas City Star

A new startup incubator at the University of Minnesota is helping researchers bring their inventions to market.

Discovery Launchpad at the university’s Venture Center is working with a dozen startups to commercialize publicly funded research, the Minnesota Daily reported. The incubator, which launched in February, pairs researchers with advisers and partners to guide them through the process of starting a business.

Many of the inventors involved are full-time faculty.

“When you think about your typical researchers here at the (university), they could be on top of their field, world class, but that doesn’t mean they know business,” said Venture Center Program Manager Mary MacCarthy.

MacCarthy said inventors often underestimate the time it takes to start a company. Some have trouble explaining why customers need their product, she said.

The university owns the intellectual property developed in its labs, which means that it has a financial incentive to help its startups flourish. The university created the Venture Center in 2006 to get more involved in pushing technology to the market.

Cognitive development professor Phil Zelazo worked with the Venture Center to launch his business, Reflection Sciences. Zelazo said the center helped him incorporate his company and acquire a patent for his tools to measure and improve executive function skills.

Executive function skills “allow you to sustain your attention and stay focused on a single thing,” he said.

Zelazo said he’s glad the university is helping bring science to the public.


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