Over the past year, tech transfer directors from Columbia, Duke, JHU, Penn, MIT, Stanford, and Yale worked with life science VCs from 5AM, Atlas, Polaris, OUP, RA Capital, and Venrock to create a common set of principles for university startup deal negotiations. These principles were captured in two documents: “Recommendations for Term Sheet Structuring”, covering equity, royalties, milestones, sublicensing, know-how royalties, diligence, and other recommendations for creating win-win outcomes; and “Recommendations for Process Improvements”, with recommendations for structuring the negotiation process itself to avoid unnecessary friction, gain buy-in early, and avoid overly long and painful negotiations.
Over the past several years, there’s been a proliferation of universities launching internally-driven accelerator programs, with the goal of providing inventors of early stage technologies an opportunity to develop their startup idea within an academic setting. The core concept behind a university accelerator is to offer funding, mentorship, and other resources to startups sometimes too nascent to attract seasoned talent and institutional funding. But such accelerators require large amounts of capital and an experienced team to administer programming, evaluate startups ideas, allocate funding, and provide company-building services amongst other tasks.