New Ventures – Renuka Babu

renukaAs Boston University’s Director of New Ventures at the Office of Technology Development, my focus is to help build new companies based on technologies being created at the University. I was excited by the tremendous interest of faculty in participating in the creation of new ventures.  I’ve found our experienced researchers are keen on finding new ways to impact society and translate their cutting-edge research into influential ventures. BU thrives on the spirit of “One BU,” where an engaged and collaborative community is also helping to create fertile ground for cultivating the next big idea.
Translating…
Often the technology we are presented with is early-stage and novel. The New Ventures Group (NVG) dedicates a fair amount of time into capturing the imagination of the investor base by giving them comfort in the development route and market size of a final product. Often we will spend months developing a story and pitch that makes it easier for the technology to translate into a business case to attract an investor.
Leadership…
Perhaps one the most important factors in determining the success of a new venture lies within having a skilled and experienced management team.  Unfortunately, a vast majority of start-up companies fail in spite of a promising core technology due to poor management. The NVG relies on our vast network within the entrepreneurial community to tap into some of the best and most experienced CEOs to lead our new companies. The KINDLE mentoring program founded by OTD is part of this network. Often those who have been accepted as part of our mentoring program help companies early in their development and can sometimes even take a leadership role later on.
Funding…
At Boston University, we also have the financial means to turn some of our earliest ideas into new ventures. We run the biannual IGNITION award process that provides up to $50,000 in grants to researchers, helping them achieve inflection points that will help determine their viability as a new venture. We also finance the LAUNCH award, a $200,000 award given to a start-up that often serves as a bridge to additional financing.
Support…
Boston University’s Office of Technology Development is very supportive of the New Venture process. Our office has a goal of “minimizing friction and maximizing collisions,” effectively reducing the number of administrative obstacles for a new venture to hit the market. We have published our express licensing agreement on our website and this has helped reduce the time and efforts to get a new venture out the door. With a number of us in the group coming out of industry and start-ups, we are excited to bring our experience and enthusiasm to the entrepreneurial community at Boston University. I encourage anyone interested to reach out, and look forward to hearing from you!
Contact Renuka Babu at rbabu@bu.edu or read more about her here!