In its first dozen years of operation, the University of Florida’s Tech Connect program has helped launch 157 technology-based startup companies that in turn generated more than $1 billion in private funding, $530 million in public funding and 2,000 new jobs, according to a newly released report.
During the fiscal year that ended June 30, the report shows, the program’s affiliated companies hired more than 345 new employees and raised more than $106 million in private funding and $105 million in public funding. The report was prepared by UF’s Office of Technology Licensing.
Headquartered in the UF Office of Technology Licensing at the Florida Innovation Hub, UF Tech Connect assists in commercializing university research discoveries by helping to create startup companies. A five-year, $645,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, matched by the university, funds the program, one of several dozen EDA University Centers across the country.
“These startup companies are fueling the innovation economy,” said Jane Muir, director of UF Tech Connect, associate director of UF OTL and director of the Innovation Hub. “The jobs they’ve created are less vulnerable to natural disasters and seasonal fluctuations. That makes Florida’s economy more stable.”
Among the more notable companies UF Tech Connect helped launch are educational software developer Shadow Health; genomics technology developer Rapid Genomics; and Banyan Biomarkers, which develops and commercializes technology for the diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injuries.
As a partner with UF OTL, UF Tech Connect accelerates regional and statewide economic growth by assisting technology-based companies in commercializing inventions in medicine, biotechnology, engineering, health, information systems and other fields. UF receives an average of more than 300 invention disclosures a year on more than $600 million in research.
“Investing in our tech startups provides great ROI, not only financially but also socially,” said UF Assistant Vice President David Day, director of UF OTL. “They’re transferring university technologies from the laboratory to the market, helping to make the world a better place.”
UF has partnered with EDA on several grant opportunities during the past decade, including the 2009 grant for $8.2 million that funded the construction of the Florida Innovation Hub at UF. This unique business incubator opened in October 2011 and is home to UF Tech Connect, the Office of Technology Licensing and several dozen technology-based startup companies, including many that license UF research discoveries.