What's New at 722

From the Desk of...  Michael P. Straightiff

October 2017

Welcome to What’s New at 722 featuring news and insights from the UVA Licensing & Ventures Group.

The fiscal year 2017 closed with continued growth as we reported the highest number of invention disclosures, license and option agreements, and issued patents for the third year in a row. These successes are due to your engagement as inventors, experts, supporters, and partners in the industry.  

LVG is leveraging this momentum to pursue initiatives that make it easier than ever for faculty to engage with our team.

In this issue, we introduce our now electronic Engagement Request Form and share FAQs about the importance of involving LVG early and often during your research pursuits. Bob Creeden will share updates from the UVA Seed Fund & New Ventures, highlighting his experiential Due Diligence in Seed Funds course with second-year Darden students. You’ll also hear from a member of the UVA Seed Fund Investment Management Committee, Dayna Grayson, about her involvement in the Fund as a UVA alum.

Thank you to everyone who joined us at our September Open House event! We hope you enjoyed touring our space on Preston Ave and getting to know our team. Enjoy photos from the celebration below.

Engagement Request Form

Share your ideas with LVG using the newly redesigned online Engagement Request Form.

LVG recently overhauled the UVA Intellectual Property Disclosure Form as part of an effort to make it easier for University faculty and staff to engage with our team. Now called the Engagement Request Form, faculty can submit ideas via the digital form currently available on the LVG website, or a downloadable PDF. 

Completing this form will initiate a conversation with LVG about the commercial potential of faculty research and the protection resources available. We encourage UVA innovators to engage with LVG early and often during research activities allowing us to assist in identifying pathways to move innovations forward.

We have compiled the below list of FAQs to explain further the significance of disclosing your invention to LVG, and how we can become a value-added partner in your research endeavors.

What happens after I submit an Engagement Request Form?

Once you submit your idea, the first step in disclosing and protecting your invention, LVG will reach out to discuss your research. In a first meeting, our licensing professionals begin to understand the novelty of your research and determine its commercial potential. Your case manager will work with you to conduct an initial market analysis to map out the industry landscape, including comparative work happening in your field. A protection assessment will determine available resources for your consideration.

Any insight that you can provide about similar studies in the industry would be useful to share with your licensing case manager. To ensure a beneficial first meeting, consider coming prepared with all relevant material including sources of funding, previous or upcoming publications such as abstracts, posters, or presentations, and an estimated timeline outlining your discovery process.

Who is eligible to submit an invention disclosure?

University of Virginia faculty, staff, and students engaged in University research are welcome to submit their ideas and inventions to LVG via the new Engagement Request Form.

How will I know if my research discovery is an invention?

A discovery made in research can lead to an invention, and LVG will analyze your submission to determine how your idea can be actionable. Engaging with LVG as early as possible allows our team of licensing professionals to help you develop a meaningful path forward. Whether it’s sharing market insights, identifying needed data or testing results, or connecting you to funding sources to further develop your idea, LVG will help you seize all opportunities on the path to commercialization.

We encourage early disclosure while understanding that your idea might require significant progress before its eligible for patent filing because, in some countries, you can lose patent protection at the moment of public disclosure. By engaging with LVG before publishing your findings, discussing your research with any third party via a presentation in a meeting, theses, dissertations, or abstracts, we are better positioned to protect your work.

Q&A with Dayna Grayson

​Dayna Grayson, Partner, New Enterprise Associates UVA Seed Fund Investment Committee Member

Dayna Grayson, Partner, New Enterprise Associates  

UVA Seed Fund Investment Committee Member

What inspired you to get involved with the UVA Seed Fund Investment Management Committee

There has always been a strong entrepreneurial spirit alive at the University of Virginia. I felt it as an undergrad, and remember being involved with a student startup at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Michael Straightiff’s enthusiasm for the UVA Seed Fund and the support he generated from UVA leadership piqued my interest, but it was largely the quality of the research ideas, and the opportunity to work with other UVA alumni in the venture industry that inspired my participation.

What role do you think the fund will play in accelerating technologies out of UVA?

It’s not easy for academic institutions to launch a fund like the UVA Seed Fund, though more and more schools are trying to create something similar. Providing access to capital at a university encourages entrepreneurship, and creates applied learning opportunities for students. The Seed Fund also plays a role in recruiting top talent and showcases UVA’s commitment to economic development.

What changes have you seen in the venture community over the last five years?

Around 2009-2010, there was a shift in venture financings in response to the decreasing costs of startup creation. Before this, it wasn’t uncommon to fund a new company with $3-5m of venture financings. Now that average is around $1-2m in initial seed funding before the company has significant customer traction. This makes raising money more accessible to a greater pool of entrepreneurs as new investors who can write smaller checks came onto the scene. And these seed funds have been quite successful in many cases. 

How has the fund progressed since you joined the committee?

Since I joined the UVA Seed Fund Investment Management Committee, I’ve been impressed with Bob Creeden’s leadership, and encouraged by the quality of each investment to date. The number of deals is right on par with where we hoped to be, and the thoroughness of the due diligence is ideal for the investment committee members’ participation.

What is the most beneficial element of inviting UVA alum to sit on the Investment Management Committee?

Engaging the UVA alumni network only helps build credibility for the fund, and elevates its reach to a national level. We each have our own insights and perspective that we can offer to the investees, with the added bonus of potentially tapping into our own networks to offer continued support. I look forward to contributing to the growth and development of the UVA Seed Fund, and its role as a catalyst for the entrepreneurship community at UVA and around Charlottesville. As a UVA alum working in venture capitalism, I can’t imagine not wanting to be involved.