Get to Know Tech Launch Arizona (Again) This Fall

Wednesday, September 9, 2015
The Tech Launch Arizona team at Old Main on the University of Arizona campus.

By Paul Tumarkin, Marketing & Communications Manager

As we’ve been building Tech Launch Arizona (TLA) over the past few years, one of the lessons we’ve learned is we need to continually adapt to expand and enhance the University  innovation ecosystem.

Prior to June of 2015, TLA comprised four function-focused units: Technology Transfer Arizona, Wheelhouse Arizona, Tech Parks Arizona and Corporate Relations Arizona.

Over the past two years, a number of changes have occurred both inside TLA and within the greater University community that effect the University innovation ecosystem. A few colleges have created or expanded their business development functions. The 100% engagement for students has spooled up and companies are stepping up to provide experiences for UA students.  Also, the Office of Research and Discovery has grown its capabilities, and has hired Dennis Beal, Associate Vice President for University Research and Business Development, who will focus on developing and maintaining relationships with major UA corporate research partners. All these and much more are evidence of significant opportunities and need for coordination within the UA.

With help and input from across the TLA organization, we have re-structured over the summer of 2015 and we now collaborate as three integrated teams: 

  • Technology Transfer, led by Senior Director Doug Hockstad, is the home of TLA’s Intellectual Property and Licensing Manager teams and works directly with UA inventors to create and report inventions stemming from UA research. This is also where we focus on developing successful startup companies and bringing the right people – such as Commercialization Partners – to the table to ensure that those companies are built on the healthiest foundations possible. On this team we also have a person dedicated to marketing UA technologies, as well as a team of graduate students who help assess newly disclosed inventions.  
  • Tech Parks Arizona, founded in 1994 and led by Associate Vice President Bruce Wright, are the UA’s research parks, providing new and established businesses with UA research and development space, production and warehouse facilities, wet-, dry- and clean labs, and specialized equipment. It is also home to the Arizona Center for Innovation, the UA’s tech company incubator frequently used by UA startups. Tech Parks Arizona has two properties: the UA Tech Park, which houses AzCI and over 40 companies employing nearly 6,500 people; and the UA Tech Park – The Bridges, which is 3 miles south of main campus on Kino Parkway and will encompass some 65 acres and upwards of 3 million square feet of developed space dedicated to technology and innovation.
  • Business Development Resources, previously known as “Wheelhouse,” is a group that has developed and expanded. With Director Sherry Hoskinson leading the way, the Business Development Resources Group provides a rich menu of services to help develop UA inventions and startups throughout the entire commercialization process.

TLA Vice President David Allen is excited about this moment for TLA.

"The turnaround transformation is widely acknowledged and the invention inputs are rapidly increasing," he said. "In order not to drown in opportunity, we have added significant capacity primarily by expanding our reach and involving top students, engaged alumni and business talent across the southwest.” 

Help for Developing and Licensing UA Technologies

TLA’s new Business Development Resources Group – what we call “the BDRG,” – includes Asset Demonstration (previously Proof-of-Concept), Business Intelligence, SBIR/STTR Tech House (support for non-dilutive funding), TLA’s 1,300+ domain expert network and our Commercialization Partners (Entrepreneurs- and Executives-in-Residence), all dedicated to providing world-class business research for optimal decision-making and strategic development as we commercialize technologies.

The team also includes RD Castillo, TLA’s Senior Associate of Business Relations. As such, RD is TLA’s liaison to the Office of Research and Discovery, the various Centers and Institutes of the University, College administrations, and Tech Parks Arizona. He helps TLA to “connect the dots” and identify key points for connections and collaborative opportunities both inside the University and with the greater Tucson community. RD will be building and managing relationships with key companies, such as small businesses and primes that will be essential in helping to grow the ecosystem.

“TLA’s BDRG model is unique and powerful,” said Director Sherry Hoskinson. “The BDRG team is able to focus on elements of assessing and commercializing UA inventions in the UA and across the southern Arizona culture, environment and ecosystem. It is not a commercialization program replica; it’s very specific to here and now, with the flexibility to adapt as conditions evolve.”

Join Us This October

Each Wednesday in October, TLA will be holding a series of lunchtime workshops will cover the essential knowledge UA researchers can use to bring research to the world through commercialization. Each workshop will focus on a different aspect of the process, from intellectual property creation and protection to startups to licensing.

We are now in our third year of offering these highly popular workshops, so RSVP early to reserve your seat.

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- written by
Paul Tumarkin