Today Is the ‘Best Time’ to Secure Startup Funding

The inaugural Startup Showcase highlighted four companies with GW roots.

startup showcase
Charles Andres, a patent expert and associate at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati, speaks at the inaugural Startup Showcase. (Logan Werlinger/ GW Today)
April 20, 2018

For those looking to launch the next revolutionary technology or business, there hasn’t been a better time in recent history to pursue funding, said Charles Andres, a Washington, D.C., patent expert, while speaking Tuesday at Science and Engineering Hall.

“There is more money chasing fewer opportunities, and so if you are a startup this is a very good time to secure funding,” Dr. Andres said. “Probably the best time I can think of since at least the recession.”

Dr. Andres is an associate at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati, a firm that provides legal services for technology and life sciences startups and helps them navigate the complicated process of commercial licensing and fighting for patent protection. He spoke to researchers, innovators and industry leaders about the venture market and investment strategies at the inaugural Startup Showcase, hosted by the George Washington University Technology Commercialization Office.

Banks today have more money to lend and are more comfortable lending to companies that might not have been on their radar a few years ago, Dr. Andres said. The level of seed funding invested in startups has also increased.

“People are putting more money into companies,” he said. “In general if you are a startup, that’s a good thing.”

Dr. Andres was introduced by Steven Kubisen, managing director of the TCO. Dr. Kubisen who stressed the significance of connections between higher education and industry. The event focused primarily on life sciences, but new ideas from all disciplines can be commercialized.

“No matter what area you are from, there’s opportunities to commercialize,” he said.

Leo Chalupa, vice president of research, said when he came to GW nine years ago the university was not well-known for research. Over the years, however, GW has increased its share of National Science Foundation funding through competitive grants and formed industry partnerships with companies such as La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company, Vector and Maryland-based US Patent Innovations, LLC.

Today higher education leaders and industry experts know GW is a global research institution, he said.

“GW is in a very good place today,” Dr. Chalupa said.

The showcase featured four GW startups developing innovative technologies that aim to improve public health. Each spoke about the company’s development and mission for about 20 minutes and then received feedback on their pitches from professionals in the room.

The four startups were:

  • Nanochon, a company that uses 3D printing and a novel material to develop joint implants that foster new tissue and cartilage growth and aims to reduce recovery time after surgery. The company was founded by two GW alumni.
  • True Bearing Diagnostics, Inc. uses biomarker panels, developed at the GW Division of Genomic Medicine, to guide precision care for cardiovascular disease, appendicitis and respiratory infections.
  • CardiaForm, Inc. develops medical devices, invented by GW researchers, to diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease. Their devices support mapping unstable arrhythmias and reducing procedure time.
  • CMR Innovations LLC, a company founded by a GW graduate student, harnesses the benefits of the Internet of Things to implement smart healthcare logistics systems for managing assets in the health care supply chain. The company is based on work performed under the supervision of his academic adviser.

Following the showcase, seven guest entrepreneurs and researchers from the audience had the opportunity to give a two-minute presentation on their company or research project in a brief elevator pitch-style segment.


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