From Lab to Market: Secrets of Making Money from Tech Transfer

Entrepreneurial Roundtable

October 17, 2011: 6:30 PM - 8:45 PM

The next great business idea or technology may not be at IBM or Apple. It may be in a research lab. Our federal government spends billions of dollars each year to fund research at universities and federal laboratories. Not only is much of this research available to businesses, including small businesses, but our government actually encourages people to take these technologies to market. Learn how you too can take advantage of this great opportunity by listening to Neil Kane, '91, a Chicago Booth alum and serial tech transfer entrepreneur.


Northern Illinois University - Naperville Campus
First Floor Lobby & Auditorium
1120 East Diehl Road
Naperville, Illinois

Driving Directions:

Take Naperville Road exit from I-88.  At end of ramp, turn south (left if coming from the East) onto Freedom Drive. Go a few blocks to the "T" at Diehl Road.  Turn right onto Diehl Road and go 2-3 blocks.  Northern Illinois University facility will be on left - across from the Hampton Inn.  Turn left into NIU driveway at west side of NIU facility and park behind facility.  Enter center doors.  Roundtable registration is directly through center doors.

Event Details

The process of taking a technology out of the lab and forming a business around it (broadly known as "tech transfer") is of much interest these days. Frequently these innovations, because they are driven by the government's priorities, are geared to major societal issues such as renewable and cheap energy, clean water, homeland security, new drugs and biomedical devices, etc. which also have tremendous commercial potential. What's not well known is that the government encourages people to take these technologies to market, and sources of funds are available to make that happen.

In this presentation. Neil Kane, '91 will describe the process of forming new businesses based on academic innovations. Through his "Nine Guiding Principles" he will address:
• How to identify technologies that can be commercialized
• How to evaluate and assess their commercial viability
• How to secure rights to the technologies through licensing
• How to create a business around the technology and build a management team
• How to obtain financing from investors and government sources (such as grants and SBIRs), and
• How to build a tech transfer start-up into a profitable corporation

Neil Kane, '91 is a true expert on the practical business aspects of tech transfer. He was CEO of Advanced Diamond Technologies, Inc., a firm he formed with two Ph.D. scientists in 2003 by licensing technology from Argonne National Laboratory. Neil was a co-Executive Director of the Illinois Technology Enterprise Center at Argonne and was Entrepreneur in Residence with Illinois Ventures, LLC. In these roles, he was founding CEO of several companies based on academic research. He has closed multiple rounds of venture capital and secured numerous SBIR/STTR and other government contracts and awards.

Earlier he was Regional Business Development Manager for Microsoft Corporation. He began his career at IBM where he helped create the strategic busi¬ness alliance between IBM and Accenture and earned membership into IBM's Golden Circle. Neil earned a B.S. Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (high honors) and obtained his MBA from Chicago Booth.. He also did graduate study in Australia and Japan on business and trade. Neil has received numerous awards. In 2007, he was named a 2007 Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum and was recognized by the National Science Foundation for his Outstanding Entrepreneurship. In June 2010, he was invited to speak on the panel "From the Lab Bench to the Marketplace: Improving Technology Transfer" before the U.S. House of Representatives' Subcommittee on Research & Science Education.


Price: $15.00 for Chicago Booth almuni, students & faculty ($20.00 after October 12th);  General public $20.00 ($25.00 after October 12th)


Register Online

Save $5.00 if register by October 12th

Deadline: 10/17/2011


Bill Wentz, '88 
Roundtable Chair