NanoPundit -Where Society, Science and the Law get really, really small.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Fear and Greed

Technology Review writes about the concentration on later-stage technologies from research universities.

Industry doesn’t seem to be as interested in fundamental breakthrough technologies in areas such as nanotech; instead it favors more short-term and less risky technologies that are closer to commercialization and have clear markets and customers, says Katharine Ku, director of Stanford University’s technology licensing office.

University of Texas at Austin is actively trying to spin off more companies, rather than licensing technologies to existing companies. "We are aggressively doing startups," says Neil Iscoe, director of the University of Texas’s office of technology licensing. "We have to change our approach to get more things out," he adds. "How do you market a disruptive technology? You do it through a startup."

I think that part of the emphasis on later stage technologies is that the risk is substantially lessened with a marketable technology. As with all investments the reward is less as well. MIT’s Lita Nelsen sees "more folks realize there’s not much money in late-stage deals." and has noticed a dramatically increased interest in technologies, even early-stage ones, related to security.

As we get further from the tech bubble we will see increased interest in partnering with universities and institutes to bring earlier stage technologies to market. Risk taking brings bigger benefits to society and this is where the big money is.


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