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A Game Changer to Stimulate Formation of Startups Based on Drexel Research

December 14, 2020

Drexel Applied Innovation has launched a new program to encourage and support the formation of startup companies based on Drexel research. The "Drexel Express Startup License" is a startup and investor friendly licensing agreement with pre-set terms. This new licensing tool will be used in cases where the startup is partnering with Drexel Applied Innovation to successfully complete designated commercialization pathways.

The pre-set terms are significantly more favorable than those typically extended to startups by universities and are supported by leading investors, such as the venture capital investors in the Kauffman Fellows Network. Kauffman Fellows is a highly selective global fellowship of 713 venture capital professionals originally founded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in 1994. The Drexel Express Startup License aims to significantly streamline the licensing process and reduce the turn-around times from months to weeks, thus enabling the startup and its founders to focus their energy on building a company and not on negotiations. 

“From my past experience as a co-founder of a venture-funded university spinout, I know that launching a startup is challenging enough. The typical university startup licensing process can be very frustrating and time consuming for the startup which adds to that challenge. The new program enables my team to be on the same side as the startup team so that we can be a partner in their pursuit to make real-world impact”, says Shintaro Kaido, Vice Provost for Innovation and Executive Director of Drexel Applied Innovation. 

Some elements of the Drexel Express Startup License program are based on the take-aways from the technology commercialization panel session during the MXene Conference 2020 hosted by Drexel. Panelists included deep-tech investors Prime Movers Lab, HG Ventures and Osage University Partners as well as the NSF Program Director for Materials Research. “The panelists unanimously agreed that universities can better support their startups by providing ‘clean, clear and quick’ license agreements. In addition, the panelists expressed great excitement about an emerging opportunity for universities and university spinouts; that postdocs and PhDs can learn to become successful founder CEOs through training and development. The first step is the mindset change to focus on solving a real-world problem. NSF I-Corps was strongly recommended as that first step”, says Kaido.

As such, the Drexel Express Startup License will be first offered to Drexel innovators successfully completing the NSF I-Corps Teams program and receiving the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I award. Drexel Applied Innovation will be introducing additional pathways in the future to serve the diverse needs of Drexel entrepreneurial teams.

“A key imperative in the University’s strategic plan is to expand Drexel’s research impact. The Drexel Express Startup License program is the first of set of initiatives to re-imagine Drexel tech transfer and remove barriers for Drexel innovators, systemize commercialization pathways and catalyze commercialization of Drexel’s unique and internationally recognized research strengths. This is a very important step in our streamlining efforts, and we look forward to unveiling other new approaches to support Drexel's innovators”, says Dr. Aleister Saunders, Executive Vice Provost for Research & Innovation at Drexel University. 

About Drexel Applied Innovation: Under Drexel University’s Office of Research & Innovation, Drexel Applied Innovation provides technology licensing, industry sponsored research support and startup services to assist and elevate the impact endeavors of Drexel faculty, postdocs and graduate students.
For more information about the Drexel Startup Express License or I-Corps at Drexel, contact: