YourEncore recently announced a partnership with Purdue Research Foundation designed to help Purdue's entrepreneurship program move innovations to market faster. What does this partnership mean for you, the members of our Expert Network?
I recently sat down with Dan Hasler, president of Purdue Research Foundation, to learn more about how Purdue has been so successful creating and commercializing IP and the opportunities it brings to our Expert Network.
Combs: Tell us what you’re doing at Purdue Research Foundation.
Hasler: Purdue does about $700 million in research annually in areas including engineering, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, astronautics, veterinary medicine, and many others. As a result, Purdue was recently ranked 15th in the world for generation of IP. The foundation is chartered to act as a conduit between the university and the market. Our university president, Mitch Daniels, made it one of his core missions to ramp up entrepreneurship at Purdue, so we’ve been working to create an atmosphere that’s conducive to startups. In the past three years, we’ve launched 76 startups with IP and another 50 without IP licenses but with know-how created at Purdue, so it’s a very vibrant community.
Combs: What’s been your secret to success?
Hasler: We are creating an environment that is giving people a chance. I found that over time Purdue had erected barriers to that happening with challenging rules around licensing, high costs for startups, etc. For example, Purdue’s contracts for licensing technology went from 60 pages to just eight. We needed to understand that our obligation was to get technology into the marketplace; not make money off it. We also started celebrating and promoting the successes of our startup community. As a result, our volume started growing. The first big group of 24 companies went through the foundation three years ago, and we only had one that moved into an inactive status. The Purdue Foundry, our entrepreneurial hub, acts as a support structure for these companies.
Combs: What does the YourEncore partnership bring to Purdue Research Foundation?
Hasler: When I look at what our limiter is to success, it’s the number of experienced business people we can find to coach, mentor and act as senior executives for these fledgling companies. Our startups need executives with operational business backgrounds, as well as experience in regulatory, manufacturing, fundraising, etc. Some are looking for people to fill board seats. Partnering with YourEncore may be the most significant thing we have done to more systematically connect our innovators and inventions to seasoned talent who can help move their ideas to market. The asset that YourEncore has built with its expert network is so powerful, and I’m confident some of these executives will be excited about giving back and participating with entrepreneurs and startups.
Combs: When it comes to innovation, how important is having experienced executive talent to get ideas to commercialization?
Hasler: In an academic setting, our inventions often are by a small cohort of faculty, many with a Ph.D. that make them a world expert in a very specific sector of research or industry. Their motivation usually isn’t to make a lot of money; they want to see their innovation come to fruition. They truly want to help people. In order for this to happen, they need someone with experience to walk the path with them and help them navigate the world of commerce. They need someone who understands that profit motive is imperative for success and is a driver of investment. This often is a new world for Ph.D.s and experienced executive talent is needed to succeed.
More information about Purdue Research Foundation can be found at https://prf.org.