From our analysis of over 50 University-affiliated Proof of Concept programs, we have observed their strength in moving technology to a point of commercialization, while acting as an effective means to leverage and attract outside capital and expertise.
Proof of Concept (POC) gap funds evaluate commercial potential, demonstrate the value, and generally de-risk (or perception of risk) the project to commercial partners or investors. Achievements like prototypes and commercial assessment help to identify and secure a route to commercialization, if one exists. POC funds also identify weakness in the technology for further development, or help avoid costs by deciding not pursue the technology
These funds are often administered centrally through the technology transfer office, research foundation, central research administration, or the equivalent at the college-level. Externally-partnered public funds, accelerators, and corporate funds run independently or in close collaboration with the research institution.
- David Allen, Tech Launch Arizona, University of Arizona
- Seth Crossno, Chancellor’s Innovation Fund, North Carolina State University
- Martina Pace, TAKEOFF Fund, University of Malta
Key Discussion Points
- Raising and sustaining POC funds
- Communicating the fund and sourcing projects
- Working with faculty/student inventors throughout the process
- Evaluating projects for funding
- External collaboration with industry, entrepreneurs, and investors as funding sources and advisory support
- Oversight and management of funded projects