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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Tech Launch Arizona reminisces over a successful year

Tech Launch Arizona is looking forward to a bright future after winning Innovator of the Year.

Established in 2012, Tech Launch Arizona is a unit within the UA that works to commercialize inventions created during university research.

“We had an outstanding year and we look forward to continued success,” said David Allen, vice president of Tech Launch Arizona.

He said the organization is about helping, working and engaging with faculty and researchers about the commercial application of their work and encourages faculty to give the organization a call.

Tech Launch Arizona has managed to raise their numbers each year, and is hoping for continued growth in years to come.

“I think there’s considerable head room within the UA community and we’re setting our goals to increase by roughly 10 percent in every category,” Allen said. “If you do a 10 percent increase over a few years you’ll have some major changes.”

They measure their success by looking at the process and breaking it down into individual components. The organization then measures the activity throughout every step of the way, according to Allen.

According to Tech Launch Arizona’s 2014 annual report, the organization received 188 invention disclosures, executed 39 licenses and options and registered 11 new companies by the end of the fiscal year. During the fiscal year 2015, those numbers grew to 213 invention disclosures, 45 licenses and options, and 12 startup companies.

“I think we’re on a good trajectory for continued growth, but it’s not easy to continue a growth pattern, sometimes you hit a plateau,” Allen said. “We want to make sure although that might happen, we can recognize it and see what kind of changes are necessary to break through that.”

He said it takes a number of factors for emerging technology from the university to make it in the marketplace.

“To be successful, usually there’s a team of people that has you come together that can really be as one and act as one,” Allen said.

Paul Tumarkin, marketing and communications manager who has been with Tech Launch Arizona since its beginning, said he’s excited about the success and being able to contribute to it.

“I think David Allen’s leadership has really been the key element, because he’s had a very clear vision for Tech Launch Arizona and has been very effective in building a very talented team of individuals to execute that vision,” Tumarkin said.

Allen said the success of their operation is due to many different factors.

“President Ann Weaver Hart’s administration and whole team is very supportive of technology commercialization and we have been woven into the Strategic Academic and Business plan Never Settle,” Allen said.

People are stepping up, moving in and supporting them in ways they haven’t in the past.

“I think we have a good base of resources and financial resources to do what were doing, and I think we have an outstanding team,” Allen said. “If you put all these things together, you have a very positive environment, with people who want to see something happen. There’s great ideas to work with and a community that wants to pitch in. It’s hard to ask for more.”

According to the annual report, $4.7 million in revenue was brought in royalties, patent reimbursements for intellectual property and a one-time settlement payment. This represents a 45 percent increase over last year’s amount of $1.6 million.

“In the longest term, something that many people are interested in is how much money we create for the [UA},” Allen said.

UA Tech Park also has a $3.12 billion impact on Arizona’s economy, according to the report.

“What we do is continuously evolving, this is not a one-size-fits-all kind of service operation,” Allen said. “Technology doesn’t stand still. Our inventors are coming up with some of the newest and most innovative technologies that will make it to markets in five to ten years.”

As they have continued to grow and get more people engaged, they’ve gained more experience and have had a greater impact. He said they do hope to gain more recognition on a national level and that they do believe it will happen.

“Awards are nice, but awards don’t deliver technology to the marketplace,” Allen said. “They just recognize that is happening.”


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