Spring Recap: Venture Development

Where Students Learn to Innovate

Spring Recap: Venture Development

Student internships are often filled with frivolous menial tasks like filing paper work or making coffee runs. Essentially, interns are glorified grunts hired to do the tasks people higher on the proverbial totem pole don’t want to do. At the Office for Technology Transfer (OTT), that just simply isn’t true. OTT relies heavily on its venture development interns to develop commercialization strategies for new cutting edge technology. Teams of students with both business and technical backgrounds worked all semester to evaluate their chosen technology and create the best commercialization path. Their internship concluded last Friday at AIME Day, when the students delivered their final presentations to a room full of attorneys, venture capitalists, and other industry professionals. But before we continue, what exactly is a commercialization strategy?

A commercialization strategy is a plan to transfer an invention from the laboratory to the marketplace. For the interns to be successful, they must first understand their technology. Not on the same level as the inventor, but enough to convey the concept to someone else on an 8th grade level. Next, they need to understand the advantages it provides over current technology, and which industries find these advantages valuable. Finally, the interns must determine which key resources are needed to take the final step into the market. These resources could be items like financial investments, or new equipment needed to manufacture a product. Once all of these questions have been answered, the interns are asked to make a recommendation on whether or not the technology should continue forward or not. For example, if a new invention was an improved typewriter, an intern would probably recommend not to continue forward because there isn’t a market for typewriters. (Because, you know, there are these things called computers) But, say a technology was an efficient way to wirelessly charge your electronic devices, the intern would probably recommend to continue forward. Because who wouldn’t like to stop plugging their cell phone into a wall outlet?

Below is a description of each team and the technology they worked on for the semester.

 

Fiberionic

IMG_0590

Steve and Doug of Fiberionic

 

Fiberionic focused on an efficient process for producing smart textiles. Current methods utilize gold and silver to coat the materials. This method requires dangerous volatile mixture and is detrimental to the mechanical integrity of the fibers. Also this process is quite obviously expensive, as it uses the precious metals gold and silver. Fiberionic’s process provides a much safer alternate by using ionic liquids to coat the fibers. Their process is much safer and protects the integrity of the fibers. The team was comprised of Doug Fair and Steve Spellmon. Doug is a senior majoring in Biology with a specialization in sales and minor in Spanish. Steve is a junior in Chemical Engineering.

 

IMG_0595

Pablo and Davis of Dynamix

Dynamix

Lego’s have been a staple in kids’ toy boxes for years. The main problem, as the Dynamix team pointed out, is that anything built with Legos is static, meaning it doesn’t move. The Dynamix team pitched an idea that would electrify the building blocks. These would integrate with existing Lego blocks to make them dynamically controlled with control devices like smartphones. The team consisted of Davis Snead, a first year MBA student, and Pablos Ramos Ferrer, a freshman chemical engineering student.

 

 

Neurelectric

IMG_0593

Hunter and Vlad of Neurelectirc

Have you ever thought about how much power and electricity you use? This is becoming a question that more and more people should ask as the Earth’s natural resources wane away. The answer to this question has always been to move away from using fossil fuels as an energy source. This isn’t something that can be done cold turkey. So to smooth the transition and get the most efficient use out of current power systems, the Neurelectric team developed a commercialization plan for an artificial neural network that integrates into engines. This network would take into account all variables and automatically detect the most efficient way to achieve the desired output. A simple example is a car using cruise control going up a hill. This network would take into account variables like the elevation of the hill, wind speed, and grade to help the car maintain a constant speed over the hill. Hunter Bonham, a sophomore chemical engineering student, and Vlad Voykhanskiy, a senior majoring in Economics, made up the Neurelectric team.

As you can see, our teams were from a diverse group of majors and age groups. Not only was this not your typical internship, but it was a great experience and even better resume booster. Doug Fair had this to say about his experience:

“Working with the Office for Technology Transfer has been an incredible experience. Being responsible for the direction and scope of a detailed commercialization strategy was a perfect opportunity to learn the ins and outs of bringing a product to market. Analyzing the viability of complicated technologies allowed me to grow in my critical thinking skills and practical usage of my science knowledge. Finally, I learned how to work with ambiguity, and to have confidence in myself as a presenter, designer, and researcher. I liked the internship a lot”

 

 

 

Student internships are often filled with frivolous menial tasks like filing paper work or making coffee runs. Essentially, interns are glorified grunts hired to do the tasks people higher on the proverbial totem pole don’t want to do. At the Office for Technology Transfer (OTT), that just simply isn’t true. OTT relies heavily on its venture development interns to develop commercialization strategies for new cutting edge technology. Teams of students with both business and technical backgrounds worked all semester to evaluate their chosen technology and create the best commercialization path. Their internship concluded last Friday at AIME Day, when the students delivered their final presentations to a room full of attorneys, venture capitalists, and other industry professionals. But before we continue, what exactly is a commercialization strategy?

A commercialization strategy is a plan to transfer an invention from the laboratory to the marketplace. For the interns to be successful, they must first understand their technology. Not on the same level as the inventor, but enough to convey the concept to someone else on an 8th grade level. Next, they need to understand the advantages it provides over current technology, and which industries find these advantages valuable. Finally, the interns must determine which key resources are needed to take the final step into the market. These resources could be items like financial investments, or new equipment needed to manufacture a product. Once all of these questions have been answered, the interns are asked to make a recommendation on whether or not the technology should continue forward or not. For example, if a new invention was an improved typewriter, an intern would probably recommend not to continue forward because there isn’t a market for typewriters. (Because, you know, there are these things called computers) But, say a technology was an efficient way to wirelessly charge your electronic devices, the intern would probably recommend to continue forward. Because who wouldn’t like to stop plugging their cell phone into a wall outlet?

Below is a description of each team and the technology they worked on for the semester.

 

Fiberionic

IMG_0590

Steve and Doug of Fiberionic

 

Fiberionic focused on an efficient process for producing smart textiles. Current methods utilize gold and silver to coat the materials. This method requires dangerous volatile mixture and is detrimental to the mechanical integrity of the fibers. Also this process is quite obviously expensive, as it uses the precious metals gold and silver. Fiberionic’s process provides a much safer alternate by using ionic liquids to coat the fibers. Their process is much safer and protects the integrity of the fibers. The team was comprised of Doug Fair and Steve Spellmon. Doug is a senior majoring in Biology with a specialization in sales and minor in Spanish. Steve is a junior in Chemical Engineering.

 

IMG_0595

Pablo and Davis of Dynamix

Dynamix

Lego’s have been a staple in kids’ toy boxes for years. The main problem, as the Dynamix team pointed out, is that anything built with Legos is static, meaning it doesn’t move. The Dynamix team pitched an idea that would electrify the building blocks. These would integrate with existing Lego blocks to make them dynamically controlled with control devices like smartphones. The team consisted of Davis Snead, a first year MBA student, and Pablos Ramos Ferrer, a freshman chemical engineering student.

 

 

Neurelectric

IMG_0593

Hunter and Vlad of Neurelectirc

Have you ever thought about how much power and electricity you use? This is becoming a question that more and more people should ask as the Earth’s natural resources wane away. The answer to this question has always been to move away from using fossil fuels as an energy source. This isn’t something that can be done cold turkey. So to smooth the transition and get the most efficient use out of current power systems, the Neurelectric team developed a commercialization plan for an artificial neural network that integrates into engines. This network would take into account all variables and automatically detect the most efficient way to achieve the desired output. A simple example is a car using cruise control going up a hill. This network would take into account variables like the elevation of the hill, wind speed, and grade to help the car maintain a constant speed over the hill. Hunter Bonham, a sophomore chemical engineering student, and Vlad Voykhanskiy, a senior majoring in Economics, made up the Neurelectric team.

As you can see, our teams were from a diverse group of majors and age groups. Not only was this not your typical internship, but it was a great experience and even better resume booster. Doug Fair had this to say about his experience:

“Working with the Office for Technology Transfer has been an incredible experience. Being responsible for the direction and scope of a detailed commercialization strategy was a perfect opportunity to learn the ins and outs of bringing a product to market. Analyzing the viability of complicated technologies allowed me to grow in my critical thinking skills and practical usage of my science knowledge. Finally, I learned how to work with ambiguity, and to have confidence in myself as a presenter, designer, and researcher. I liked the internship a lot”

 

 

 

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