Eight New Companies Have Spun Out of the University of Washington in the Past Six Months

UW on track to double the number of spin-outs this fiscal year over the past five year average

SEATTLE — The University of Washington Center for Commercialization (C4C) announced today that eight start-ups have spun out from the research work and innovations of faculty and students in the past six months. The university-generated companies are founded around a broad range of technologies from medical devices to wireless sensor networks for the home and ecologically sound marine construction equipment.

Among these spin-outs are:

  • PatientStream, which provides a suite of cloud-based applications that increases hospital operating room efficiencies by replacing whiteboards with an automated, information exchange incorporating cutting-edge display technology, developed at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle;
  • KitoTech Medical, which is developing a revolutionary technology for wound closure that incorporates hundreds of microanchors to close lacerations and surgical incisions, and has the potential to capture a significant share of the $5 billion worldwide wound-closure market; and
  • SNUPI (Sensor Network Utilizing Powerline Infrastructure) Technologies, which will market small wireless, battery-powered sensing devices that can detect a variety of home hazards, such as water leaks.

PatientStream announced today an investment of $500,000 by the W Fund, and SNUPI has already attracted $1.5 million in venture funding.

The UW is on track to make good, almost two years ahead of schedule, on President Michael Young’s declared goal announced in February 2012 of doubling the number of start-ups spinning out of the university over the next three years, from an average of eight to ten start-ups in the past five years to 16 to 20 this fiscal year.

“This kind of entrepreneurial activity is exactly what a university like ours is designed to do and what we should be doing,” said Young. “We have great talent, great ideas, and great untapped potential to develop products and processes that will improve people’s lives and our overall productivity. I’m thrilled that C4C is facilitating the accelerated delivery of results of our great research enterprise into people’s lives.”

The UW and C4C are accelerating spin-out of new UW companies through comprehensive support services for faculty and students who are developing commercially promising innovations, particularly in the life sciences, clean technology, alternative energy and information technology. Initiatives include gap funding for projects nearing commercialization; mentorship by a network of entrepreneurs, CEOs and CTOs, angel and venture capital investors, and start-up attorneys; identifying company leadership through the C4C Entrepreneur-in-Residence program; and access to critical lab and office space on the UW campus in C4C’s New Ventures Facility in Fluke Hall, opened one year ago.

Said Linden Rhoads, UW Vice Provost for Commercialization, “President Young has articulated his vision for a great research university as including a responsibility to disseminate innovation—to drive economic growth, and to provide opportunities for faculty and students to participate in entrepreneurship and translate their findings to applications that have impact.”

According to Patrick Shelby, C4C Director of New Ventures, in addition to PatientStream, SNUPI, and KitoTech, other recent UW start-ups include: Rosetta@Cloud, offering a molecule modeling software tool hosted on Amazon Web Services that extends the work of synthetic biology pioneer David Baker; JointMetrix, developing a medical monitoring device used to improve outcomes for knee and other joint replacements; Portage Bay Photonics, developing optoelectronic devices with the promise of enabling revolutionary increases in the speed of optical systems, computers, and other communication devices; Marine Construction Technologies, commercializing an acoustically optimized pile driving system for building structures in sensitive aquatic environments; and RGB Hats, marketing a hip card game that educates players about cyber security and hacking topics.

Another signal of the university’s strength in commercialization efforts is its continued number one ranking among US universities in the number of annual technology options and license agreements. In the just released 2011 survey announced by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), the UW reported 189 agreements, followed by Cornell University and Johns Hopkins University.