BLOOMINGTON, Ind., January 29, 2015 – – Some of the biggest, most transformative ideas come out of America’s universities. Think Facebook and Gatorade. Yet too often, bridging the gap between academia and business proves too much for even the best ideas.
With the aim of filling that gap, VisionTech Partners and the Indiana University (IU) School of Informatics and Computing have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work together to accelerate opportunities for IU student, faculty, and staff inventors and entrepreneurs to develop and commercialize information technology-based or life sciences-based business ideas via new venture creation.
Bobby Schnabel, Dean of the IU School of Informatics and Computing, explained that the agreement will help strengthen the innovation ecosystem at IU. “We have a tremendous wealth of creative, intelligent people at IU who, with focused mentoring from VisionTech Partners in the areas of entrepreneurship and business formation, have the potential to develop and commercialize the next transformative idea or technology. The opportunities are here; we want to capitalize on them.”
Indianapolis-based VisionTech Partners and VisionTech Angels are focused on converging together inventors, entrepreneurs, investors, universities, and strategic partners to develop, fund, and launch innovative technologies. VisionTech has a long-standing relationship with the IU Kelley School of Business, often partnering to educate investors, entrepreneurs, the business community and public on business formation and angel investing.
VisionTech Partners Managing Partner Don Scifres is an experienced entrepreneur, having successfully mentored and raised millions of dollars in capital for Indiana-based startup companies. He said VisionTech Partners is eager to partner with IU to identify and polish “diamonds in the rough” with commercial potential.
“Universities are important sources of new technologies and business startups,” said Scifres. “Our expertise is in helping entrepreneurs develop their ideas in order to attract investor interest and assisting in identifying and participating in high quality investment opportunities. VisionTech looks forward to working with Dean Schnabel and his staff in finding those promising technologies and emerging ventures at IU where we can mutually apply our skills, programs, and networks to advance ventures and increase their potential for success.”
Under the MOU, VisionTech Partners may also provide coaching for student, faculty and staff entrepreneurs; assistance with identifying potential investors and other resources to support commercialization; and participate in IU-associated competitions, seminars and other programs designed to assist in the growth of entrepreneurial successes from the School of Informatics and Computing. VisionTech Angels’ Bloomington Chapter President Christy Page is another resource available to IU entrepreneurs and potential investors.
Commenting on the agreement, Dr. Donald Kuratko, the academic director of the IU Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, said, “Relationships like this one that embed an entrepreneurial culture in the university are essential to making academics and students think and act more like entrepreneurs. The integration of philosophies, respective knowledge and networks, and a formal structure will encourage and promote more successful spin-off technologies and startup companies from IU. This MOU benefits everyone involved: IU, VisionTech, and all of our academic entrepreneurs who need the right environment and support to flourish.”
Kuratko is a prominent scholar and national leader in the field of entrepreneurship. Under his leadership and with one of the most prolific entrepreneurship research faculties in the world, IU is consistently ranked the number one Business School for Entrepreneurship Research, the number one Graduate Business School for Entrepreneurship and the number one Undergraduate Business School for Entrepreneurship (Public Institutions) by U.S. News & World Report and Fortune magazine.