October 18-20 | Tucson, AZ

The Research Institution GAP Fund and Accelerator Program Summit

Oklahoma University, Oklahoma State, Cowboy Tech, and i2E partner in proof of concept center,fund

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October 18-20, 2023 / Tucson, AZ
The annual summit for research institution gap fund and accelerator programs, including proof of concept programs, startup accelerators, and university venture funds

The Story

A collaboration between the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, Cowboy Technologies, LLC, and Innovation To Enterprise (i2E) promises to increase jobs and greatly enhance the number of new technologies that are spun out of university laboratories and into the marketplace. It will also accelerate the number of technology-based ventures in Oklahoma.

A Memorandum of Agreement between the four entities resulted in the establishment of the Oklahoma Proof of Concept Center, which will identify compelling technologies discovered on OU and OSU campuses and help successfully spin them out into startup or existing companies.

The virtual center unifies the expertise of all the parties into a focused effort that will answer critical questions that challenge any technology-based startup. Products are accelerated to the marketplace through coordinating efforts to validate markets, developing customer driven prototypes, obtaining guidance and feedback from industry mentors and providing access to capital necessary.

The Oklahoma Proof of Concept Center will help find the shortest path to convert the technology into prototypes by leveraging the combined resources and expertise.

The result? More spinouts from Oklahoma research institutions and more productive, sustainable ventures positioned for both capital investment and market acceptance.

i2E and Cowboy Technologies both contribute expertise in business development and market research, as well as expanded access to sources of capital.

“The beauty of this collective approach is that we aren’t duplicating or adding infrastructure to the technology transfer process,” said Rex Smitherman, interim President and CEO of i2E. “We’re sharing and leveraging our individual resources to move innovative technologies from the laboratory to the marketplace to increase deal flow.”

Steve Wood, CEO at Cowboy Technologies added: “With the united effort that the Proof of Concept Center represents, we expect to see spinouts from our campuses to increase in both number and success reaching the marketplace.”

While a university-based proof-of-concept center is not unique, the Oklahoma Proof of Concept Center takes an innovative cross-state approach that includes multiple regional entities working together. The Proof of Concept Center aims to overcome potential detours and roadblocks, resulting in new job and wealth creation for the state.

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