Whiteboard2Boardroom: Collaborations that Move Technology to Market
It's now a classic Kansas City success story.
Toby Rush was on the lookout for his next entrepreneurial opportunity when he met Reza Derakhshani, a professor at the University of Missouri– Kansas City (UMKC) and expert in biomedical signal processing and biometrics. Derakhshani and Arun Ross at West Virginia University had discovered and patented the core concept of eye-vein biometrics. Rush met with them and acquired an exclusive license from UMKC to the patent and related IP.
EyeVerify was born—and would go on to win worldwide recognition and secure millions in investment.
The story and connections behind EyeVerify and 25 other new KC companies started with Whiteboard2Boardroom (W2B), a program established in 2009 through a National Science Foundation Partnership for Innovation grant to the UMKC Innovation Center.
W2B was founded to make the right technology connections between research institutions, entrepreneurs and corporations. With an average of eight startups a year, W2B has been successful in consolidating research technologies, making them visible to the public and helping communities transfer technologies from research institutions into the hands of entrepreneurs where they can be commercialized for market success.
The program, which began as a bistate partnership among four local area colleges and universities, has grown into a regionwide collaboration, reaching across urban centers and rural
communities, from Wichita, Kansas, to Rolla, Missouri. Its 22 research institutions collect more than 400 innovations that are available for licensing to established companies or to serve as the basis of a new startup company. This activity has yielded 26 new business starts over the past three years.
W2B integrates university, hospital and industry research into the existing entrepreneurial ecosystem. The focus: Identify game changing technologies and get them into the hands of business owners and talented entrepreneurs. The result: Increased entrepreneurial activity in the region built from new projects and businesses that stay local and grow.
Read more about the companies and partners of W2B in its 2015 annual report
or get involved over at the W2B website