According to Weir, this is only the second time in the University's history that it has taken a small equity position in a UD start-up company. The first was ET International, a computer technology and software company founded by Guang Gao, Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
The idea for PAIR Technologies actually was spawned in a UD graduate course, "High-Tech Entrepreneurship," which Rabolt and Jones co-teach. Students explore selected UD patented technologies in the course and then do market analyses to assess their commercialization potential. The planar array infrared technology consistently rose to the top.
"Most technology has about a 30-year cycle. Then something comes along to disrupt it, change it," Rabolt says. "We think we have that next-generation technology -- beyond the current market leader, Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy."
The company has been steadily developing with federal, state, and University support, the researchers say.
"The whole thing is a partnership -- you can't do it alone," Jones notes. "We've written the grant proposals and won Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) and Small Business and Innovation Research (SBIR) grants from the National Science Foundation. A 'bridge' grant from the Delaware Economic Development Office also was very helpful, and we've gotten invaluable assistance from experienced alumni, including Allan Ferguson, Barry Yerger, and David Freschman," Jones says.
OEIP and the Delaware Small Business Development Center, which is a new and critical component of OEIP, also has provided the company with a variety of help and services, from intellectual property protection to marketing assistance, according to Jones.
"The environment is much more business friendly now at the University of Delaware," Rabolt adds. "Statistically, only one in 20 start-ups will make it. Yet the ones that are successful are enormousl
|Contact: Tracey Bryant|
University of Delaware