News & Press Releases
In Venture Findings #4 (2016) — University Venture
The iBridge.Network was originally created in 2007 by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Its objective was simple: to create a single point of visibility into intellectual property owned by various universities, with an eye toward licensing it. University technology transfer offi ces often lack the resources to fully market their portfolio. iBridge.Network sought to address this problem by giving demand for intellectual property a simpler way to browse a national and international portfolio of patents. Kauffman grew iBridge.Network to the world’s largest university intellectual property marketplace — with over 170 participating universities showcasing over 18,000 intellectual properties.
But the university technology transfer landscape has shifted since 2007, from a focus on licensing to large corporations to licensing to start-ups and new venture creation. For some universities, licensing to startups accounts for more than half of their revenues. This defi ned an opportunity for iBridge.Network: to transition from a license marketplace to a university innovation marketplace. It is the objective of the Innovation Accelerator Foundation (IAF) — the ‘new management of iBridge.Network’ — to affect just that.
In 2013, the Kauffman Foundation gifted the iBridge.Network to the IAF. This was made possible by the generosity of the Suzanne and Walter Scott Foundation. Walter Scott — an Omaha-based billionaire philanthropist, and Berkshire-Hathaway director — saw the potential of the iBridge.Network as ‘innovation infrastructure’ that could benefi t both Omaha (where iBridge.Network was relocated) and the United States. Version 2.0 of iBridge.Network was born.
The iBridge.Network soft-launched its virtual university ecosystem in the summer of 2015. In addition to almost 20,000 university patents on iBridge.Network, there are over 3,000 predominantly university affi liated startups there as well (refl ecting the increased focus on startups in university technology transfer). iBridge.Network has already received awards from groups such as the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the National Institutes of Health and is currently building partnerships with additional universities, government agencies, and private sector organizations and businesses.
The platform now has the technical capabilities to host Innovation Challenges. This allows entities to issue challenges for their specifi c needs, rather than going through the individual listings on the website. There are two live ‘innovation challenges” on iBridge.Network: one with Ashland Chemicals (a Fortune 500 company) and one with Think Beyond Plastic (a nonprofi t committed to fi ghting the damage plastics do to our environment). iBridge. Network is about to announce a new initiative, which is currently confi dential but promises to be among the most signifi cant activities in the history of university technology transfer.
Anyone can go on iBridge.Network to set up a profile or to search for organizations, technology, or innovations:https://www.ibridgenetwork.org
The iBridge.Network is the world’s premier
university intellectual property marketplace. Its
original goal was to provide a single point of visibility into intellectual property owned by universities all over the nation (and world).
The Kauffman Foundation is among the largest
private foundations in the United States. Grant- making is focused on entrepreneurship and education, which the late Founder, Ewing
Kauffman, saw as two ends of a continuum: www.kauffman.org