The University of Utah wants to be on the cutting edge of the crowdfunding” trend and is starting an effort to bring this new funding source to the world of academic research and technology commercialization.
The University of Utah’s Technology Commercialization Office (TCO) kicked off the effort today by launching four campaigns on a new website portal designed specifically to attract donations for new university technologies. TCO created the portal – called University Tech Vault – through an exclusive partnership with RocketHub, one of the leading crowdfunding platforms.
“We believe crowdfunding has huge potential to help aggregate a few resources from many people to help us move technologies from faculty labs into the world where they will have a real impact,” says Bryan Ritchie , the director of TCO. “We are making a big commitment to get out in front of the crowdfunding wave we feel is coming, and we are very hopeful about the potential to generate funding and move technologies forward.”
“It’s a mechanism that allows people to turn social capital into real capital,” says Alon Hillel-Tuch , RocketHub’s co-founder and chief financial officer. “This has never been possible until very recently, and we are proud to be one of the leaders. RocketHub is one of the world’s largest crowdfunding platforms and the biggest in science and entrepreneurship.”
Hillel-Tuch expects big things from the collaboration with the University of Utah. “This partnership will further drive crowdfunding innovation,” he says. “For the first time ever there will be a comprehensive, established and accessible solution for universities to start crowdfunding their research and entrepreneurship endeavors.”
The University of Utah is the first, but certainly not the last, to post campaigns to University Tech Vault, which is part of RocketHub. Utah’s TCO is starting its crowdfunding effort with four promising technologies:
- Axon Optics, a startup company developing an improved version of its eyeglass lens coating that can reduce the occurrence of migraines.
- iStar, an educational program dedicated to teaching kids with autism spectrum disorders how to use computers for 3D modeling.
- Roll Control, a startup company with a product that allows disabled people to operate an electric wheelchair using large muscle groups (like the shoulder) instead of small groups (like fingers).
- Active Desk, a startup company with a desk fitted with a stationary recumbent bicycle. The bike allows the user to pedal their way to better health without breaking a sweat or interfering with their work.