What We Do
Our mission is to develop UR innovations into useful products and services to make the world ever better. Sometimes we can do this on our own. Other times, we need help. We generally look to see if we can locate an industry partner interested in assuming some of the risks and costs associated with getting our research discoveries to the marketplace. In some cases, however, the risks and costs are such that the best course of action is forming a startup company around the product or service. A startup is able to raise funds differently than the University and may be better able to develop the discovery to the point where it is commercializable.
Conventional business wisdom is often to avoid failure and to minimize risks. Recent thought in entrepreneurship, however, calls this mindset into question. Lean Startup Techniques teach failing early and failing often in order to succeed sooner. They stress using prototyping and regular customer feedback as touchstones for rapid iterative development of the final product or service. At UR Ventures, we are embracing these concepts, and we will help startups with the process. Our goal is to assist startups in defining and locating the resources they need to get to the finish line. If a particular approach isn’t working, we encourage them to pivot and try something else. If an idea’s destiny is to die in the “Valley of Death,” then we want to help a startup to arrive at that conclusion as quickly and cheaply as possible.
Failure to commercialize a technology is not the worst possible outcome. To our way of thinking, languishing uncertainty is a far worse outcome, and wasting time and money in getting to a necessary failure is unacceptable. We are not looking to launch startup companies in order to enhance our statistics. We want to encourage startups that stand a fair chance of succeeding, and we will do what we can to see that they do, always bearing in mind that the marketplace, customers, and the bottom line are – and must be – the ultimate arbiters and touchstones of start-up success or failure.