Add to Dictionary: NUCos (Near-University Companies)

Startups and entrepreneurs have irresistible airs of excitement. The very idea of a young company is thrilling. The possibility of breakthrough innovation that creates new markets is exhilarating. However, not all ideas can be adapted for commercialization immediately. How can risk be reduced while encouraging the continual generation of innovative technology primed for investment? A near-university company (NUCo) is an emerging type of startup that is staffed with former or current university researchers. Promising university research often lends itself to further development by the formation of a new company that aims to commercialize discoveries made in the laboratory. In this “incubator” model, early stage research is performed within the financially sound environment of a major research university. With insight and investment from innovation capitalists or angel investment groups tied to early stage feasibility goals, Ph.D. level principal investigators (PIs) realize the commercial potential of their work sooner. Eager to earn revenue, universities then provide licensing avenues for the commercialization of university-owned intellectual property that was developed by PIs. New technology ventures can either be formed or the technology may be acquire by larger mainstream corporations with lower risk due to this early stage qualification process. Universities are vast, yet untapped sources of breakthrough innovation which the NUCo business model takes advantage of. Talented PIs whose projects are funded by taxpayer money produce inventions that non-academics would never see if it were not for an early stage commercialization process.

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