Thursday May 31, 2012 0 comments
Investment aims to speed product commercialization, create jobs
By Steve Porter
LOVELAND - About 30 local companies - many high-tech - will benefit from a $150,000 investment by the city of Loveland that's aimed at speeding the commercialization of innovative new products and helping those businesses succeed and create jobs.
The city hired Longmont-based DA2 to work with the companies and help them connect with federal laboratories, universities and other organizations that could be instrumental in launching their ideas and products into the marketplace. The project, initially funded in February, is called the Tech Transfer Accelerator Initiative and is also receiving assistance from the Northern Colorado Economic Development Corp.
"It's really matchmaking," said Dave Lung, DA2's president, of the initiative. "We're looking for opportunities for these companies to accelerate their growth where we can open some doors for them."
Lung, a former U.S. Air Force officer with more than 25 years of experience in the aerospace, defense and energy sectors, has forged ties with the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) and other U.S. government agencies. "At DA2, we have a good handle on the portfolio of networks that are out there in federal labs and with university partners."
"That ($150,000) is devoted to the exploration with 30 companies for possible partnerships DA2 could help facilitate," says Marcie Erion, the city of Loveland's business development specialist. Erion said each of the 30 companies that get involved in the initiative will receive up to 20 hours of personal assistance from DA2.
By the end of May, Lung and his associates had met with about 20 companies. Lung said the initiative has proven popular with those companies. "There's been more of them wanting follow-up meetings than we'd anticipated," he said, adding that he's now conducting those follow-up meetings and will meet with another 10 companies before the end of the summer.
"We learn about the company, what they do, what their current technology capabilities are and how they might grow that -- and related technology they don't have that they can bring into the company to leverage some science and engineering skills the company already possesses," Lung said.
Companies involved in the initiative so far include Vergent Products, Scion Aviation, Road Narrows Robotics, DBM Technologies and Numerica Corp., to name a few. "It's everything from aerospace to robotics," says Erion. "It's all high-tech-related, but it can be different things to different companies. But the focus is definitely high-tech."
Erion said the initiative's goal is to "help companies with an innovation connection."
"We really feel the Front Range is going to explode (with innovation) and this is one way to do it," she added.
Lung said the initiative is not directly related to the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology, a 167-acre parcel in south Loveland that was formerly the Agilent Technologies campus and is now being developed by Kentucky-based Cumberland and Western Resources.
"It's not directly part of the city initiative to generate tenants for the campus," Lung said. "However, my initiative with the city is to help retain and grow Loveland companies, and they may have an interest in relocating or expanding into that center. So it really could be a natural outcome."