Plan to take military technology from lab to market takes off--Dayton Daily News
Tech Town hosts “Commercialization Catalyst” event to explore the market potential of about a dozen Air Force Research Laboratory-funded technologies.
By Barrie Barber, Staff Writer for The Dayton Daily News. You can read the original article at www.biy.ly/1VQMTgg
Air Force leaders and economic development advocates hoping to take military technology out of the lab and into the market jump-started the initiative Friday with hundreds of entrepreneurs and potential investors.
Some 300 people around the country gathered in Tech Town in Dayton for a “Commercialization Catalyst,” put on by the Wright Brothers Institute and The Entrepreneur’s Center, to explore the market potential of about a dozen Air Force Research Laboratory-funded technologies.
AFRL wants to build an industrial base and create jobs through the commercialization of technology, said Bill Harrison, director of the AFRL small business initiative.
Venture capitalists and technology transfer specialists toured AFRL labs this week at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to see the work scientists and engineers do, said C. Douglas Ebersole, AFRL executive director.
“The first part of this is awareness of the (venture capitalists) community as well as others in the tech transfer business of the opportunities and the scope of the work we do at AFRL,” Ebersole said. “… We’re trying to connect the communities because for this tech transfer process to work it has to be through the connection of all the disparate stakeholders that put that value stream together.”
At the “catalyst,” college student-led teams evaluated half the technologies and explained their purpose and potential to investors. Small business representatives showed AFRL-funded technology their companies developed and want to market.
Entrepreneurs highlighted technologies such as water purification techniques to tiny orbiting satellites monitoring space weather.
“This is their showcase to show the world what they’re doing,” Harrison said. “There’s always room in these start-ups; they always need more investors” and mentors for student-lead business assessment teams, he added.
Reese C. Eckenrode, 21, a University of Dayton senior, and Phillip A. Beekman, 26, a Wright State University senior, teamed up to market a communication device in smart phones that transmits information on problems diagnosed with equipment connected to the Internet. The duo were part of an assessment team of four, including an AFRL researcher.
For Eckenrode, who is studying entrepreneurship, it was a chance to “get out there and try something, You learn from experience.”
Geoff Crowley, CEO and chief scientist of Atmospheric & Space Technology Research Associates in Boulder, Colorado, explained how his company created sensors for aircraft or boats to measure the depth of shallow water, and built cube satellites as small as a tissue box to gauge space weather conditions.
He attended classes through AFRL’s Technology Acceleration Program to learn how to attract investors.
“As technology development guys, that’s not really what we think about,” he said. “It’s a different paradigm, a different mindset.”
Scott Koorndyk, president of The Entrepreneurs Center, said more technologies will be rolled out in the future for commercial investment.
“We’ve laid out a very aggressive schedule through 2016,” he said.