A collaboration among the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, Cowboy Technologies LLC and i2E Inc. is being launched with the promise of increasing jobs and enhancing the number of new technologies that are spun out of university laboratories and into the marketplace.
An agreement among the four entities resulted in establishing the Oklahoma Proof of Concept Center, which will identify compelling technologies discovered on OU and OSU campuses and help successfully spin them off into startup or existing companies.
The virtual center unifies the expertise from the entities into a focused effort that will answer critical questions that challenge any technology-based startup. Products are accelerated to the marketplace through coordinating efforts to validate markets, developing customer driven prototypes, obtaining guidance and feedback from industry mentors and providing access to capital necessary.
“It is more important now than ever that our state's universities and state agencies work together to provide greater access to resources for our students,” said University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren. “This collaboration will allow our citizens to create technology-based jobs and grow our state's economy with the commercialization of Oklahoma innovation.”
The Oklahoma Proof of Concept Center is designed to help find the shortest path to convert technology into prototypes by leveraging the combined resources and expertise.
Organizers of the effort say it will result in more spinoffs from Oklahoma research institutions and more productive, sustainable ventures positioned for both capital investment and market acceptance.
“This collaboration offers the opportunity to join forces and enter the marketplace with technologies that create new and exciting solutions that benefit our state and the world,” said Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis.
While a university-based proof-of-concept center is not unique, organizers of the Oklahoma Proof of Concept Center said it takes an innovative cross-state approach that includes multiple regional entities working together.
“With the united effort that the Proof of Concept Center represents, we expect to see spinouts from our campuses to increase in both number and success reaching the marketplace,” said Steve Wood, chief executive officer at Cowboy Technologies.
i2E and Cowboy Technologies both contribute expertise in business development and market research, as well as expanded access to sources of capital.
“The beauty of this collective approach is that we aren't duplicating or adding infrastructure to the technology transfer process,” said Rex Smitherman, interim president and chief executive officer of i2E. “We're sharing and leveraging our individual resources to move innovative technologies from the laboratory to the marketplace to increase deal flow.”