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Jessica Chesher

Managing Editor

Innovation eReview

April 2013 Edition

In This Issue:

Welcome Message

Welcome to the Spring Issue of the Innovation E-Review.

On April 15th, the New York State Science and Technology Law Center and the New York Academy of Sciences hosted a conference titled: Building Human Capital to Drive New York’s Innovation Economy. Representatives from universities, venture capital funds, government, and industry lead discussions on the best way to develop and maintain a professional base with the skills necessary to meet the demands of innovation as an economic development mechanism.

The conference evolved from the common misperception that investment in research at universities will translate directly to businesses, jobs, and economic development.  However, this transformation does not happen without experienced “human capital”, e.g. entrepreneurs, investors, engineers, marketers, prototype builders, financial analysts, and lawyers. These professionals are just as necessary for companies to succeed as the researchers and engineers who develop technologies.

This focus of this issue is on some of the New York State educational programs structured to develop new generations of individuals with the skills to carry on technology commercialization. It looks at investment and how the rigors of a knowledgeable investment firm help insure the success of technology commercialization projects by insuring necessary elements are present. New York State is working to develop regions capable of fostering technology commercialization through a strong network among universities, industry, investors, and commercialization specialists in economic development regions. Two challenges from the conference were: How, as a state, is growth and development best fostered? And how is the network of individuals available and willing to assist in this important endeavor best connected?

 We'd like to thank Chris Hayter of The New York Academy of Sciences for supporting the conference, and Ken Adams, CEO of Empire State Development for speaking and supporting the NYS STC along with Ed Reinfurt of NYSTAR

Many thanks to all the speakers for their excellent contributions: Howard Morgan, of First Round Capital, James Spencer, Director of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Emerging Ventures Ecosystems, Bruce Kingma, Associate Provost for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Syracuse University, Greg Gdowski, Executive Director of the Center for Medical Technology & Innovation at the University of Rochester, Mary Twiss, Project Consultant for Shipley Center for Innovation at Clarkson University, Rajit Manohar, Associate Dean of Cornell NYC Tech, and Keith M. Gottesdiener, CEO, Rhythm Pharmaceuticals, Lilian Wu, Program Executive of Global University Programs for IBM Technology Strategy and Innovation, Brian Model of Stonehenge Growth Capital and UVANY, and Martin Babinec, founder of Upstate Venture Connect.  

Audio and images from the conference will be available on the website soon. 

As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments at nysstlc@law.syr.edu.


Resource Spotlights: Upstate Connectivity

The development of professionals with appropriate experiences and skills is certainly crucial to a successful innovation economy. Another equally important aspect is creating and utilizing connections. The conference highlighted the importance of investment resources in building these connections. Two resources striving to establish an economy based on innovation in the Upstate New York region are Upstate Venture Association of New York (UVANY) and Upstate Venture Connect.

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The New York Academy of Sciences

The New York Academy of Sciences is located directly north of the world trade center site in New York City. It was founded in 1817 and “works to advance scientific knowledge, mobilize science to address major global challenges, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society”.   Their website provides a comprehensive overview of what they do:


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Company Profile: First Round Capital

When shopping for funding, a startup company is well served to identify investment firms able to provide resources as well as money to the company.  Investors with a team approach among its partners, a network of contacts, and experiences and successes in the technical area, are able to invaluable practical assistance as well as funding to a new company.  Investment firms that do this successfully have a competitive advantage over less developed investors.  First Round Capital offers another unique advantage. 

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Experiential Learning in Technology Commercialization

 Many programs in New York State share the philosophy that experiential learning opportunities offer a unique and valuable way for students interested in technology commercialization to learn. Because of the “win-win” nature of these programs, an increasing number of research universities in New York offer some sort of experiential learning opportunity.  The double win is the fact that companies receive free research under the direction of experienced faculty, and students interested in technology commercialization receive the opportunity to gain real world experience, thereby increasing their suitability for employment in high-tech areas.


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Cornell NYC Tech

In December 2010, New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg launched Applied Sciences NYC, an initiative to partner with a top institution to develop a new or expanded applied sciences and engineering campus in New York City. The city would supply land, Roosevelt Island in the East River, up to $100 million capital, and the support of their administration. The institution would supply the plan and do the work of carrying the project out.

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Legislative Update

This month’s legislative update comes from the Syracuse University Office of Office of Government and Community Relations with thanks to Diana Napolitano.


The budget was relatively good to higher education, adding $70M in new funds for higher ed. Opportunity programs were increased by about 3%, reversing a five-year trend of cuts, and stagnation. Other programs pertaining to higher education were fully funded, such as the Centers for Advanced Technology, and direct institutional “Bundy” Aid.


Economic Development

On the economic development front, a third round of Regional Economic Development Councils received $150M in capital funding and $70M in tax credits, but the final budget agreement rejected the Governor’s proposed $720M in “transformational projects”.


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NYS Events: SmartStart UNYTECH Venture Forum

2013 SmartStart UNYTECH Venture Forum

Marketed and recognized by many East Coast and Mid-Atlantic venture funds as the place to discover new Upstate NY technology companies, the SmartStart UNYTECH Venture Forum is being held in Albany May 15th and 16th. Each year the forum recognizes standout company presentations with Best Business Presentation, Most Promising Technology and Most Likely to be Funded awards.

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NYS Events: Biotechnology Symposium

2013 Biotechnology Symposium

SUNY-ESF is holding a Biotechnology Symposium on May 16th and 17th in Syracuse. The goal of the symposium is to bring together representatives from industry representatives, scientists, academics and students, as well as other professionals interested in biotechnology in order to develop collaborations and relationships to further advance the field.

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NYS Events: NYSSTLC Spring Webcasts

Three webcasts will be offered in May and June.  The first one is Wednesday, May 8th.  Jack Rudnick will discuss industry working with universities.  Don't miss these informative sessions offered through the ESD/NYSTAR sponsored NYS Science & Technology Law Center. 

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