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Starting a Company

If you think your innovation can be the basis for a start up company, the information on this page will provide a brief outline of the requirements involved.  Additional resources regarding more comprehensive educational materials on the start–up subject are available in the sidebar. 

Evaluation Process

  1. Initial Technology Assessment – The inventor and Office for Technology Transfer and Licensing (OTTL) jointly assess both the commercial and the technical value of an invention within four months of initial disclosure reporting (see Invention Reporting).

  2. External Opinions
    1. Professional Consultants – Periodically, external consultants or advisors may be solicited, under the leadership of OTTL, to conduct a more detailed evaluation of the invention’s potential.
    2. Student Consultants – Another avenue available is for OTTL to connect faculty with Boston College Graduate Business School students who assist in developing a business plan for the company and assist faculty in making contacts with investors, entrepreneurs/managers and other professionals involved in the start–up process.

  3. University Determination – Within six months of initial disclosure reporting OTTL, on behalf of the university, examines patentability and assesses potential patent claim breadth, technical feasibility, and commercial interest to determine whether licensing to an existing company or creating a start–up will be supported by the university.

  4. Starting a Company – If the university supports the start–up option:
    1. Management – The company must have an entrepreneur who is going to assist in business formation and strategy.  This person is typically the lead negotiator for the company in a license negotiation with Boston College.
    2. Funding – OTTL collaborates with faculty inventors to identify the right entrepreneurs and investors. Typically, this involves consulting with business people in the local community and contacts in the venture capital industry:
      • Friends and Family
      • Angel Investors – fund seed and very early stage companies
      • Venture Capital – mid to late early stage and further
    3. Intellectual Property Portfolio – When company management or a company business representative has been identified, OTTL begins the process of transferring the intellectual property (IP) to the start–up. At the earliest stage, this can involve optioning the IP to the start–up for a predetermined period of time, which allows management time to write the business plan, hire additional personnel, and raise capital. In some cases, the prerequisites for creating a viable start–up are already in place; in these cases, OTTL will immediately negotiate a license to the technology (see Licensing Agreements).

Evaluation Criteria

  1. Initial Potential – Standard factors considered in the evaluation of an innovation’s potential to build a start–up company include:
    1. Inventor interest in influencing product development for commercial use;
    2. Identifiable third–party business champion/entrepreneur;
    3. A best deployment option in place for the technology (potential for different products/services derived from the technology base);
    4. Potential for raising investment capital and attracting additional management; and
    5. An understanding of conflict of interest (COI) issues and a workable COI management plan.

  2. Success Potential – Standard factors considered in the evaluation of a start–up company’s potential for success include:
    1. Ability to raise capital to fund the development of this new technology;
    2. Large addressable market;
    3. Recruitment of an initial management team; and
    4. Terms of the license agreement between the University and the Start up.

  1. Benefits – Start–ups have the potential to produce significant opportunities for an inventor, the university, and the surrounding community:
    1. Bring an innovative technology to market (established industry less willing to innovate);
    2. Stimulate local economic development including the creation of jobs within the local community;
    3. Aid university research and faculty retention;
    4. Increase the value of a technology to outside partner companies;
    5. Generate higher financial returns; and
    6. Translate inventions into commercial goods and services that benefit the public.