Since its launch four years ago, a University of Wisconsin-Madison program has been working with students, faculty, and staff at the school to turn their ideas into startup companies.
But now the program, known as Discovery to Product (D2P) has nearly exhausted the $2.4 million “Igniter” fund D2P has used to invest in entrepreneurs in recent years, said interim director Andy Richards. And while D2P has given entrepreneurs hands-on support in the past, the program now plans to shift its concentration away from that, and instead focus on coordinating entrepreneurship-related activities across the university, he said.
“The Igniter funds are going away,” but D2P is not, Richards said Tuesday during a presentation at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. D2P will continue to function as a “portal, the starting place for campus entrepreneurs,” he said, and will now seek to do more to “help facilitate the coordination of resources and planning with [those] resources in our community and on campus.”
D2P plans to accomplish this in part through a new coordinating council, which will meet for the first time on Friday, Richards said. Numerous groups at UW-Madison, as well as ones affiliated with the school, will be represented on the council, he said. They include the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), an independent organization that manages patents and licensing of intellectual property for the university; the UW Foundation; UW-Madison’s Office of Corporate Relations; and its business, engineering, and medical schools.
D2P was created in late 2013, with commitments from UW-Madison and WARF to each provide $1.6 million over a three-year period. Not long after, the school brought on John Biondi to run the program. He left D2P in August, which led to UW-Madison putting Richards in charge of the program on an interim basis.
(The combined $3.2 million from the university and WARF is meant to fund D2P’s operations—things like staff salaries and overhead costs—and not for funding entrepreneurs.) Read the full story here.