Start-up School: How Universities Create Entrepreneurs
To get their inventions and ideas into the market, universities used to rely on licensing to corporations. These days, the goal is to turn inventions and ideas into companies. Frank Rimalovski of New York University's Entrepreneurial Institute tells how it's done amid New York's booming tech sector.
May 29 , 2014
Graphic: Start-Up School: How Universities Create Entrepreneurs
There’s an overwhelmingly large and growing interest in entrepreneurship within the university, and I think that’s happening for a variety of reasons.
Graphic: Getting research to market
As it relates to the things that are under development in our research labs, the path to market for those is by and large, largely via a startup. The days of big companies coming in and licensing patents from universities are waning, and increasingly you need to have an entrepreneur take that first step, and take the initiative to think about how they are going to commercialize their research and bring it to market and that happens through start-ups more and more these days. Traditionally, universities in almost every startup economy have been a major contributor of both technology and talent to the ecosystem, and that’s a role NYU and Columbia and the other schools have been playing, but we’re all stepping up our game.
Graphic: The neuroscientist who founded a company
Oculogica is a neurodiagnostic start-up company. The different between someone who is a little better and a lot better can be hard to measure. A very impaired person, a very brain injured person would not be able to watch television and a less brain injured person would be able to track the action on the screen. Without our having won the NYU Venture Tech competition, I highly doubt I would have become an entrepreneur, mostly because I’m really interested in the scientific aspects of this work as opposed to the commercial aspects. The major advantage of commercializing our technology is that it makes it accessible to a lot of people.
If you put someone in front of a student, or a faculty member who was in their shoes just a few years earlier you can start to see the light bulbs go off right away, and people say, hmm, I can do that. In terms of whether you can teach entrepreneurship, I believe an entrepreneur is someone who sees a problem and goes out and solves it, and I believe you absolutely can teach people to do that.