There is an innovation crisis in America. Researchers in our premier universities cannot get the support they need—financial or otherwise—to commercialize their research once it’s ready to be productized. This is especially true for foundational technology that has multiple applications and the promise of revolutionizing industries. Identifying the “right” first go-to-market opportunity for such foundational tech is often challenging and time-consuming. Modern day venture capital, with its relatively narrow return windows, cannot invest before that work is complete. Consequently, there is a gap between the time the research is complete and when it is ready for VC investment.
What does this mean in practical terms? This means that important university research that has been funded through government grants never makes it outside the lab and into the market.
This is where Aventurine operates. We invest in that gap.
How? We use a two-pronged approach. First, we incubate the startup. We recognize that most researchers do not have the expertise or the experience to build a startup from scratch. We provide them with the resources to launch and successfully grow a viable company. When we think about inventors, innovators and researchers who are on the cusp of something extraordinary, they need to have the right environment around them to be able to realize the true extent of what they have developed.
Second, we ensure that the foundational IP that underlies the technology is secured, developed and managed to support commercialization in both the initial market and for other markets in which the IP and core technology applies. This maximizes the impact and commercial return of the foundational research.
This two-part approach has several important benefits. We create a vibrant entrepreneurial context for the technology to reach commercial readiness and attract traditional venture funding. A successful startup creates a well-developed example of a commercially attractive product that shows how the technology can be used in other areas. This enables rapid proliferation of the research into broad practical use. The commercial adoption of these foundational technologies ultimately drives the changes that benefit humanity.
By closing the innovation gap in America, we’re fostering a system that encourages innovation and leads to greater prosperity. There are brilliant scientists out there who can tackle complicated technical challenges if we actively engage them in commercialization without diverting them from their research mission. We can better support their efforts to address climate change, build secure online communities and cure cancer by creating systems to support those who want to help solve these problems without having them spend time and effort developing a business model that satisfies the short term focus of risk capital. Let’s focus on closing the gap and create long-term results by redefining how we structure sources of returns when making investments.