Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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June 28, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Southeast Shoutouts | FSU launches Fast Start commercialization program

Bank of America Corporation has committed more than $500 million in equity investments to minority- and women-led funds, more than doubling its initial $200 million commitment.

From Tallahassee, FL:

Florida State University (FSU) has launched Fast Start, a simplified tech transfer program to help FSU faculty bring their discoveries and inventions to market more quickly to help more people.

In a news release announcing the program, FSU Vice President for Research Stacey Patterson, who formerly served in a similar role at the University of Tennessee, said, “Fast Start is designed to remove barriers and streamline the process for our researchers to move their work into the marketplace. Making research more accessible will change lives and can have a profound impact on the world.” 

The agreement is simple — the FSU Research Foundation will receive a 5 percent equity stake in the company, non-dilutable until the investments in the company equal $2 million. The university will provide expert guidance and support to faculty throughout the entire commercialization process, from patent application to licensing agreement. The new program will allow FSU faculty and researchers to execute license agreements more quickly, with fewer roadblocks and delays. The process will also provide increased transparency and a clear pathway for faculty to move their research from the lab to the marketplace.  

“At FSU, we want to encourage faculty and others to start companies,” said FSU President Richard McCullough. “As a founder of two start-ups, I have found a standard agreement is a quick way to get your start-up launched.” 

The university also introduced 1Clik Licensing, which allows industry to license FSU technologies more easily. The new process makes it as easy as buying something in an Amazon cart. Using standardized license agreements with fixed terms speeds up the licensing process. 

From Birmingham, AL:

Alabama Inno reports that Southern Research, a nonprofit scientific research organization, is launching a full-service biotechnology incubator and an accelerator later this year. The news follows by less than a year an announcement of the launch of a venture studio.

The incubator, accelerator, and venture studio are part of Station 41, a biotech commercialization hub powered by Southern Research. The goal of Station 41 is to help those with everything from a hypothesis to an established company grow their ideas through funding, expertise, and wet lab space.

The Station 41 Incubator will cater to start-up founders looking for wet lab space and support services, providing non-dilutive funding up to $100,000 to advance new drugs, biologic, or diagnostic products. It will also provide wet lab and office space between 150 and 1,000 square feet, plus shared lab equipment and services. This will include a shared equipment room, a 24/7 monitored freezer farm, proximity to full-service contract research organization and core facilities, entrepreneurship support programming, 24/7 security and building access, and a communal break room and wellness room.

From Charlotte, NC:

Bank of America Corporation has committed more than $500 million in equity investments to minority- and women-led funds, more than doubling its initial $200 million commitment. The investments involve more than 150 funds, which to date have invested in over 1,000 companies that span 40 states. These companies are led by 1,500 diverse entrepreneurs and employ over 21,000 people.

“We work across our company to address critical needs in our communities, including the lack of access to capital that diverse business owners face as they start or grow their businesses,” said Tram Nguyen, Global Head of Strategic and Sustainable Investments at Bank of America. “We want to empower the talented fund managers who keenly understand how to identify and support those business owners. Each time we support a minority- or women-led fund, they in turn support diverse entrepreneurs, which ultimately helps us toward achieving our goal to advance racial equality and economic opportunity.”

Click here to learn more.

From Durham, NC:

Gradient Health, a start-up focused on improving medical imaging through the use of artificial intelligence, has raised a new round of capital. The latest raise amounts to $2.75 million, coming a little more than a year after the company disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it had raised more than $2.325 million in equity from 24 investors.

Led by ReMY Investors & Consultants, the investment will enable the company to continue assembling the world’s largest and most comprehensive annotated medical imaging library into a secure, unified platform. Joining ReMY on the round were new investors Boro Capital, Supernode Ventures, MedMountain Ventures, The Triangle Tweener Fund, David Golan, and Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund as well as existing investors VentureSouth and Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health.

Click here to learn more.

From Orlando, FL:

Orlando Inno reports that Universal Destinations & Experiences’ think tank has applied for a patent of a technology that will raise the bar on theme park ride augmented reality. Dubbed “Augmented Reality System for an Amusement Ride,” the technology introduces a system with facial and skeletal recognition to detect a guest’s presence and add augmented-reality components to that image.

According to the article, exactly how Universal could use the technology at its Orlando parks was not revealed, but it’s likely to be a technology that can appear in most areas helping depict guests turn into the characters of the land they are visiting.

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