The team at StudVent is fascinated by “Professor-Student Mashups” in the creation of new ventures. There are numerous examples of such, including Google, which was heavily influenced by the late Professor Rajeev Motwani, as well as Professor Jeffrey Ullman and others. Both Motwani and Ullman served on the technical advisory board of Google for years after serving as PhD advisors to Larry and Sergey.
Penn State University recently announced the formation of Qorius2D, which is focused on the use of 2D metals for medical testing. It was cofounded by doctoral candidate Natalie Briggs and associate professor Joshua Robinson. A photographed copy of its executive summary can be found here on Twitter.
Natalie Briggs was the focus of an article in last year’s Daily Collegian, a publication of Penn State University Students. In this write-up she seems to have a couple of characteristics that make for good entrepreneurs — team-orientation and leadership — as she was praised by her now cofounder Robinson:
” “Natalie has a gift for leading others while also being a great team player,” Joshua Robinson , a professor of materials science and engineering, said. “I know she will be a great scientists and leader in the scientific community and will be able to achieve what she sets her mind to.”
It seems she has set her mind to commercializing a technology that she helped discover, and to spinning out a new company around it. Yet unclear is the role that she will play going forward — Consultant? Chief Scientific Officer? Technical Advisory Board Member? Vice President? COO? CEO? StudVent will track this student-professor startup and with interest as it develops.
The team received a USD 75,000 grant from Invent Penn State. Its fund for innovation offers research-based grants to move ideas born in the lab to market.
” A signature program of the Invent Penn State initiative, the Fund for Innovation aims to de-risk and accelerate the development of Penn State’s commercially promising research for the purposes of licensing or company formation. The program is a collaboration between Invent Penn State, the Office of the Vice President for Research and the academic colleges. “
Furthermore ” Since its founding, the program has supported more than 50 emerging Penn State technologies, resulting in 11 new ventures. “
Ms. Briggs is a fine example of a PhD student/candidate entrepreneur who has mashed up with a professor to form a new technology venture from the research lab. Students, even masters and undergrad students, can do the same and search their campuses for inventions and novel ideas and technologies being developed by their professors, and assist in spinning out new technologies and startups. Higher education institutions, especially research universities but even teaching colleges are fertile grounds and there are numerous opportunities for new firm creation.