May 23, 2022 - 5:12 pm

20Fathoms Partners with Michigan Tech University to Advance Tech Entrepreneurship

By 20Fathoms

20Fathoms and Michigan Technological University are developing a growing partnership to turn outcomes of research on campus into start-up businesses in Northern Michigan.

Representatives from the Michigan Tech Office of Innovation and Commercialization recently visited Traverse City to discuss a number of ongoing commercialization projects in areas including 3-D printing, renewable energy, plastics recycling, and advanced batteries. 20Fathoms recruited leaders from the local startup business community, including tech business veterans, investors, and professional service providers. The event was jointly organized by Michigan Tech and 20Fathoms and was held at Michigan Tech’s Traverse City Research Workspace on May 10, 2022.

From the Lab to the Real World

“The University has a high volume of research that produces discoveries with significant commercial potential, but one of our greatest challenges in moving these discoveries to the market is recruitment of people with business experience in technology startups who can join our companies and take a leadership role in moving the companies in partnership with our technical experts,” explained Jim Baker, Associate Vice President for Research Administration at Michigan Tech. 

Through the course of the event, participants learned about individual commercialization projects that have come out of research on campus and have the potential to become businesses that solve real world problems. The startup leaders attending the event were presented the opportunity to serve as entrepreneurs-in-residence for the  commercialization projects as they move from development within the University into private companies. An entrepreneur-in-residence serves as an early-stage startup’s first leader, taking the first steps to develop a business around technology licensed from the University. This includes establishing and following through on business milestones, recruiting private investment, identifying lead customers, and engaging strategic partners. 

Advancing Tech Entrepreneurship in Northern Michigan

“It takes a lot of work to turn university research into a business, but in Traverse City, we have the startup business leaders and resources to make it happen,” said Eric Roberts, Executive Director of 20Fathoms. “We’re grateful for the opportunity from the commercialization team at Michigan Tech to get involved in this inspiring work.”

“We are very excited about the ongoing collaboration with 20Fathoms to address this challenge in a way that results in economic growth for both of our regions,” said Baker.