New record: University of Washington spun out 18 startups last year

UWStartups are sprouting out of the University of Washington at record pace.

The school announced today that it helped launch 18 startups in fiscal 2013, breaking last year’s record of 17. A majority of the companies, which received support from the UW Center for Commercialization (C4C) and have signed patent-licensing agreements with the university, are health-care related with a few focused on software and robotics.

“The University of Washington is becoming increasingly known for its culture of innovation and for the world class commercialization resources we provide to our UW entrepreneurs, who take ideas that are barely imaginable today and turn them into tomorrow’s inventive solutions,” UW President Michael Young said in a press release. “Their visionary achievements are improving people’s daily lives, here and around the globe.”

Vikram Jandhyala.

Vikram Jandhyala.

The UW is pumping out more startups than ever as the C4C is in the midst of a leadership change. Linden Rhoads, who had led the C4C for the past five years, announced last week that she is stepping down as vice provost of commercialization to return to the private industry.

“From our record number of start-up companies generated and our No. 1 national ranking in licenses signed, to the doubling of patent applications filed annually, the University of Washington has become one of the top universities in the nation taking ideas to impact,” Rhoads said in a statement. “I recently announced that I’ll be returning to entrepreneurship, so it’s gratifying to have stayed long enough to see a second year of record results show that UW’s performance is sustainable and more.”

Electrical engineering professor Vikram Jandhyala will assume the new role of Vice Provost of Innovation. Madrona Venture Group’s Greg Gottesman spoke highly of Jandhyala, calling him one of the university’s “unheralded treasures.”

“He is uncommonly brilliant and has worked in industry and as a professor, department chair and company founder,” said Gottesman, who worked closely with Jandhyala at Nimbic. “Very few people understand what it means to start a company from a university lab, take it through venture funding and ultimate sale. He is the perfect choice for this important new innovation role at the UW.”

Here’s a list of the 18 startups, with descriptions from the UW:

AnswerDash – Has developed contextual Q&A technology that provides website and web application users with instant context-sensitive answers right when and where they need them. As users ask new questions over time, an “answer layer” builds up over a site or application, enabling future visitors to find answers easily without having to ask again.

Applied Dexterity – Advancing the field of robotically assisted surgery by creating a research surgical robot that allows researchers in engineering, surgery, and computer science to experiment, innovate and collaborate.

BluHaptics – Creating a control system for underwater remotely operated vehicles that can perform a variety of undersea tasks too dangerous for humans.

Deurion – Developing products for diagnostics and mass spectrometry, an analytical technique that produces spectra of the masses of atoms or molecules constituting a sample of material.

Ennaid Therapeutics – Commercializing cures for mosquito-borne diseases, including Dengue virus and West Nile virus.

Lodespin Labs – Creating the next generation of iron oxide magnetic nanoparticle tracers for medical imaging.

MarqMetrix – Providing real-time product quality improvement through optical, or light-sensing, measurement technology — most notably its use in an optical measurement device known as the Raman BallProbe™.

Medical Models – Using specialized medical imaging software and 3D printing to create custom physical models to assist medical students and patients when confronted with specific injuries and anatomical abnormalities that are typically only visible in scan data.

NaviSonics – Developed a handheld, ultrasound-guided catheter system to assist neurosurgeons with placement of extraventricular drains during surgery to relieve elevated cranial pressure, reducing neurosurgical revision rates and improving patient safety.

Oricula Therapeutics – Developing medications to protect hearing and balance from the effects of aging and ototoxic drugs, or medications that are toxic to the ear.

PET/X LLC – Integrates PET (positron emission tomography) and X-ray mammography to determine which targeted breast cancer therapies will be effective on an individual patient.

Polydrop – Developing robust new technology that improves adhesion and durability in paints and coatings for aerospace and automobile manufacturers. The technology diffuses the electrostatic charge that accumulates from friction, and provides electromagnetic interference shielding for paints and other coatings used in the transportation industries.

Shockmetrics – Creating non-invasive devices that measure the amount of oxygen in a patient’s muscles to detect medical shock.

Spark Medical – Developing a novel football helmet that protects against skull fracture and traumatic brain injury, particularly concussion.

Stasys – Commercializing a novel device to assess the state of blood coagulation in trauma patients within minutes, helping emergency physicians save lives.

Taggpic – Developing computer software that automatically recognizes buildings, structures, and landmarks in digital photographs, as well as the precise location where photos were taken.

VerAvanti – Developing medical devices focusing on the Endoluminal Optical Imaging, or Angioscopy, segment of the medical industry. Angioscopy is a medical technique for visualizing the interior of blood vessels.

Universal Cells – Developing methods for accurate and reliable gene editing in stem cells.

  • 509

    And what percentage of these start-ups are “owned” by Washington state taxpayers that funded these fine folks?

    Will we get OUR share, since we provided the start up capitol.

    • Justsaying

      You have incredibly smart/valuable professors and phd students working for way below market wages on these high risk ventures. If we remove the chance of a potential windfall no one would bother. Start-ups in general are some of the best tax investments the state can make.

      • 509

        I am ok with that……even though when I worked for the federal government they owned everything I did.

        Better investment of state funds than the Boeing bailout.

    • balls187

      How about more jobs in the economy which increases the local tax base?

    • http://StartedinSeattle.com/ Stephen Medawar

      The Center for Commercialization exists to commercialize university technologies. I would imagine that would mean that these companies are licensing the technologies from the UW.

      The funds are to try and incentivize people to use their technologies and it seems to be working.

    • 253

      In a normal tech transfer, the university will take an upfront cash payment, equity stake, and license on future sales if the product does come to market.

    • UW Graduate

      I personally know some of the people involved in above-mentioned companies and went through the same initial steps at starting my own (didn’t follow through, though). All funding was obtained through investors outside of the university. You provided absolutely no start-up capital. One of the CEOs at an above-mentioned company turned down a lucrative job offer and continues to work a second job in order to supplement a minimum-wage salary allotted from investor funding. The university will actually *receive* money from the success of the companies since they are tied up with the patents.

  • jimrob

    Startups occupy space in a UW building used by Arts & Sciences departments as surge space during remodels. Apparently no one consulted with the college about the startup occupation.