Without Whiteboard2Boardroom, many student-led innovations might be forever stalled in the world of academia.
Instead, the program is credited with helping to accelerate the commercialization of such projects to the tune of 129 new jobs and $26.2 million in follow-on funding, according to a recent progress report.
W2B has worked with 35 startups and engaged more than 700 Kansas City entrepreneurs since its launch in 2009. It was founded by a National Science Foundation Partnership for Innovation Grant to the UMKC Innovation Center.
Partnered with 13 higher education institutions in Kansas and Missouri, W2B connects entrepreneurs with research institutions, hospitals, technology and corporations, facilitating partnerships.
The program’s outcomes are just as positive as envisioned, W2B director Jim Baxendale said.
“We looked for a new way to spur commercialization of innovations in the metro Kansas City area,” Baxendale said in a release. “(W2B is) able to give entrepreneurs and corporations a very early look at the innovations coming out of area universities, research institutions and hospitals. We help identify homegrown innovations and match them with entrepreneurs who can take them to market.”
The Research Innovation Group at Saint Louis University recently joined W2B as a partner. It’s been an exciting collaboration, said Malcolm Townes, business development manager with the Research Innovation Group in the Office of the Vice President for Research at Saint Louis University.
“We believe it presents an excellent opportunity to attract potential collaboration partners,” Townes said in a release. “And can help spread the word about SLU’s outstanding research assets and innovative technologies that can change lives for the better and improve our society.”
W2B’s technologies range from software, engineering and education to agriculture and medical devices. A notable success story of the W2B program: the biometrics tech firm EyeVerify — which recently changed its name to Zoloz. The company was acquired by AntFinancial for more than $100 million in 2016.
Also in 2016, W2B launched the Tech Alert System. For a yearly subscription, the system is available to entrepreneurs and corporations looking to bring new technology to market. Subscribers can select from a list of industry categories and find innovations that match their needs.