Heads Up, Silicon Valley: UT Innovators Headed Your Way, Want Cash

For years, Silicon Valley capital has come to Austin in search of innovation. Now, a group of University of Texas professors are headed there to showcase campus-based innovations they think are worthy of investment.

UT has some embedded help familiar with the local terrain: the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Texas Exes alumni association and Bob Metcalfe, known as an inventor of Ethernet and a fellow traveler in academic innovation.

“The alumni had this idea,” says Metcalfe, who is also an Xconomist. “They’re rooting for their Longhorns. They’re prospering in Silicon Valley and they want to strengthen the bridge between Austin and the Valley, show what kind of professors we have and the companies they’re starting, and maybe some venture capital will flow.”

The field trip is the second annual traveling showcase to Silicon Valley, but this is the first time professor-led startups are on the marquee. The startups include innovations in healthtech, mobile transportation, data networks, and cybersecurity, and feature the work of Thomas Milner, a professor of engineering who was recently named UT’s “inventor of the year.” (His company is FemtoSurg; see below.)

Metcalfe has been holding what he calls startup studios in order to uncover and support entrepreneurial efforts on the part of the 3,000 researchers and teachers on campus. “It’s really unknown how many are starting companies,” he says. “I’ve been told I’m going to run out [of professors], but I haven’t yet.”

Of the 30 that were discovered through the studios, nine were selected for the field trip to Silicon Valley. Like many entrepreneurs before them, they will today participate in a demo day during which they have nine minutes to pitch their product. Here’s a little more on the companies:

AdBm Technologies—Founded in 2012, this company develops underwater noise-control products for offshore construction, oil and gas, and defense applications.

Admittance Technologies—Its product, CardioVol, provides real-time ventricular volume data, including relative stroke volume, to warn patients of impending heart failure.

FemtoSurg—Developed a light-based image-guided surgical device.

Lynx Labs—Developed a real-time wireless handheld true-3D camera that can be used wherever 3D modeling of objects and scenes is needed.

M87—Improves the performance of data networks by moving routing intelligence and network selection decisions to the mobile device, which is most aware of real-time connectivity conditions.

ProteanSeq–Developed a technology for the identification and quantitation of proteins and enables massively parallel sequencing of millions to billions of peptides and includes workflow solutions from sample preparation through analysis.

RideScout—A technology platform that provides real-time, on-demand information on available ride options that can get you from point A to point B.

Toopher—Prevents online fraud and identity theft from ever happening using the location awareness of your phone.

WiseWear—Develops wearable health monitoring products for personalized fitness and medical applications using multi-sensors that interface with a user’s skin.

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