Recently, we’ve received a lot of calls and emails that generally sound like this:
“I’m a recently retired/downsized/bored executive at company x. I’ve had extensive experience in other companies like y and z, that developed and released products and services to markets a,b, and c. I really have an interest in using my experience to lead exciting new technologies to market. Maybe university start-ups could be my new adventure, but I don’t know where to start.”
To many this sounds like someone in transition, shaken from a recent release or the realities of retirement; but to me, this person could be a perfect candidate for a technology transfer Entrepreneurship-in-Residence program.
Entrepreneurship-in-Residence (EIR) programs are becoming an attractive component of leading technology transfer operations. In fact, in its Mind the Gap report, our partner, innovosource, found that 50% of 45 reporting institutions had formal EIR programs in place, with another quarter in the process of actively developing these initiatives.
Two examples of longstanding EIR programs are those managed by the UCSD Von Liebig Program (30 minute web overview from Director) and the University of Iowa. Both echo that the professionals that opt into these programs contribute invaluable resources to the technology transfer operation, including:
- Extensive operational experiences in multiple markets and business environments that can amplify office assessment and project development processes
- Living network of development and investment partners that can assist projects
- Varying but real interest in the university technology space, from a way to give back to an opportunity for a new venture
Compensation for these experts varies, but can generally fall into three categories:
- Volunteer: Usually alumni or friends of the university that want to give back through sharing expertise
- First rights of refusal: Professionals that agree to evaluate and develop business case for the opportunity to lead the potential venture
- Contract or PT/FT Employee: Dedicated professionals that receive either contracted salary and/or equity in potential ventures
One of the most difficult parts of establishing an EIR program is attracting and retain top talent. To assist universities in relieving this tension, The Vortechs Group has established a pool of 500 former executives and entrepreneurs seeking to get involved with university technology through programs like Entrepreneurs-in-Residence.
Are you looking for talented, and engaged executives or entrepreneurs to grow your EIR program?
Are you an executive or entrepreneur looking to get connected to university programs?