One strategy for commercializing University technology is through creation of a start-up company. Start-up companies can be an effective means to recruit the necessary developmental resources to advance a technology to a point where it can be directly offered to customers and/or present an attractive target through either outright sale of the company or through licensing the technology to as established market leader.
An early question in the disclosure review process is whether or not the inventors are interested in pursuing a start-up company. If so, IIE personnel work with the company founders to provide the company necessary rights to the technology and can participate in assisting the company become established and grow. In particular, Michigan Tech has created an independent non-profit corporation, the Michigan Tech Entrepreneurial Support Corporation (MTESC) and a subsidiary for-profit corporation, Superior Innovations to serve as proof-of-concepts centers and corporate incubators to enable early stage technologies to be developed into the foundations of viable start-up companies.
Partner organizations that also support start-up company establishment, growth, and sustainability include the MTEC SmartZone, the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance, the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The services, resources, and programs offered by each of these organizations complement the activities of IIE personnel and others in support of inventor led start-up companies throughout the life of the company from initial establishment on.
Start-up companies who have licensed Michigan Tech technologies include: