MRUN February 2013 Update | MRUN

MRUN February 2013 Update


February 2013 UPDATE

We’ve been busy at MRUN and we are overdue in getting word to about the latest at MRUN.  We provided a quick snapshot in December highlighting MRUN’s 2012 activities – expanded region, opening up membership to investors, accelerators, entrepreneurs and those who serve them, an expanded board, our new logo, our new website and a successful CATTEC V in October 2012 (in case you missed this or need a refresher, see our website )  But we are well into 2013 and there is much to tell you.

As a Midwest alliance of university business development professionals, accelerators, and early stage investors, we are dedicated to facilitating growth of technology spinout companies through start–up formation. We believe that  that regional cooperation fosters commercialization of university research and new venture growth.  Please welcome our two newest members, University of Manitoba and Iowa State University – we are delighted to have you on board.  Check out the Members directory to get acquainted with Darren Fast at University of Manitoba and Nita Lovejoy and Kurt Heiar at Iowa State.

First and most important:  Your membership! 

We hope you will take the hint from Darren, Nita and Kurt.  It has never been easier to join MRUN.  …It has never been a better value proposition to our members.  And, it has never been more important to building the Midwest’s Startup Ecosystem.  MRUN is only as good as the people who come together to exchange ideas and leverage connections.  You are key to strengthening the startup network the Midwest needs.  Indeed, the regional connections that MRUN brings you, make you a more vital part of your own local network.  We can accomplish more by leveraging diverse regional connections than by working independently in our local neighborhoods.  The Midwest has some incredible hotspots of tech-savvy innovation but if we do not know each other we are not able to do the most for the new ventures we work so hard to support. Go to for details on membership.

There are three easy ways to become a member.

1)     You can sign up and pay online at our Members page

2)     You can complete our Wufoo member application form at  We’ll get back to you with an invoice for payment.

3)     If you prefer, send me an email telling me which level of membership you are interested in and I’ll be back to your with an invoice.

Meet the MRUN Team

Given that MRUN is all about building relationships, we thought it was odd that our new website had absolutely zero information about the people behind MRUN.  No More…. For a glimpse of MRUN management– check out our new Team Page.  I am excited to have help from some very capable people – Gary Keller is my right hand and MRUN’s VP and Managing Director, Jeff Carter heads up our Investor Section.  LeAnne Tourtellotte is our Director of Investor Relations and Jessa Lux, our newest member of the team, is our Communications and Member Services Coordinator.  You may be hearing more from Jessa in the near future as she is doing a survey of members to get input on ways we can better serve you and build the regional startup culture of the Midwest.  Here are some of the things we are doing to strengthen the Midwest startup ecosystem and make the Midwest a better place to launch and grow successful new technology ventures.

BIO International Convention



BIO – Academic Zone

We have partnered with BIO and the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition to encourage Midwest universities and research institutions to take advantage of BIO’s Annual International Convention in Chicago April 22-25 (

This year BIO offers universities a turnkey approach to make the partnering connections it needs in a networked environment that will be a magnet for companies seeking research collaborations.  For them, no more combing the show floor wondering if a state pavilion will have a university rep. or if there is a separate 10×10 booth squirrelled away in some corner of the exhibit hall  – university research and tech transfer connections are now co-located with venture philanthropy organizations and patient advocacy foundations – all near BIO’s One-on-One Partnering area.  Taking a kiosk in the Academic zone comes complete with a Partnering account, two Exhibit Hall registrations, concierge service from a dedicated BIO staffer to help schedule meetings and much more. Go to for more details.  Space is limited and BIO is fast approaching so check out this new arrangement today

BIO Boot camp

Each year the Bio Boot camp offers an intensive two day program for CEOs, CTOs, faculty founders and others.  Bootcamp participants want to build their companies by carving the right pathway to find investors and partners.  MRUN President, Allen Dines and SW Michigan Investment Fund partner, Pat Morand are local co-chairs bringing Midwest relevance to the Boot camp’s stellar leadership and faculty – Steve Sammut of the Wharton School and Burrill & Company and Art Boni, Entrepreneurship chair at Carnegie Mellon University.  More information here .


University tech transfer programs accounted for $1.8 billion in license revenue in 2011.  But university technology is notoriously early stage and most inventions go unlicensed.  Marblar has addressed the problem of idle IP at universities or at corporations by enlisting the crowd and gameifying the process.  Launched in Oct 2012, and operating mostly in the U.K., Marblar has already signed up thousands of users who have identified hundreds of new unexpected applications for technology submitted by participating institutions.  Featured in The Economist, Nature, Wired, New Scientist and more, word is spreading that Marblar’s network of bright minds from across the globe can identify new market applications for technologies while institutions retain control and protect their IP.  For more information go to  MRUN is forming a partnership with Marblar that will create a pilot program for MRUN members that helps them find additional licensing revenue and uncover new markets for their technologies.  Under the pilot, Marblar will waive participation fees MRUM institutions (prize money still must be provided by the technology holder).  Space is limited, contact me for details and to learn the benefits of trying out this 21st Century approach that adds a new dimension to tech transfer.

ACCT partnership

Acct Canada

We are finalizing a new partnership with ACCT Canada –  the Alliance for Commercialization of Canadian Technology.  ACCT Canada is a 110 member organization working at the interface of academic research-industry engagement and research discovery mobilization.  CATTEC VI this October will devote a significant portion of our program to cross-border startup development.  For Midwest startups: who should they be talking to in Toronto, in Winnipeg, in Hamilton?  For Canadian startups, make connections in Minneapolis, Chicago, Madison, Ann Arbor, St Louis, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Des Moines and more.  Every one of these cities has a vibrant tech community but finding the right connection is time-consuming and hit or miss.  The ACCT-MRUN partnership aims to ease the pain while growing the pie on both sides of the border.  More information about ACCT:  Watch the MRUN website for the partnership announcement.

Burrill Media


MRUN has signed an agreement with Burrill Media (   to bring news from the life science industry including the Burrill Weekly Brief, Burrill Indices and more to MRUN members.  Under the agreement MRUN members will be able to purchase Burrill Media publications at a discount.  Watch the MRUN Partners Pages for details.

Global Midwest Alliance – Innovation Competition

Global Midwest Alliance

Once again MRUN will partner with the Global Midwest Alliance to produce the GMA Innovation Competition.  For 2013 the competition has been opened up beyond Cleantech to broadly include the areas that GMA focuses on including advanced manufacturing, transportation logistics, Food, nd food safety and international competitiveness.  Solicitation for applicants opens in May, the competition awards will be announced in September.  Watch for details on the MRUN Partners pages.



Save the dates:  October 9-10, 2013 CATTEC returns in cooperation with the Midwest Co-Investment Network for its sixth annual installment bringing together the people who create, fund and grow startups,  We are again pleased to partner with the Illinois Science + Technology Park and will be again at their conference center in Skokie, IL.   As noted above, working with ACCT Canada, we will feature a session on US-Canada startup hot spots as well as a session on key international hotspots.  Why bother you may wonder?  If you are starting a company, you are global from day one, and if you want to explore finding customers, partners, suppliers and investors – to whom do you turn?  CATTEC VI will de-mystify the process of finding the hotspots internationally.  Where are the TechStars and 1871’s of Haifa?  …of Santiago de Chile? …of Helsinki? …of London?  But CATTEC VI is not all international focus.  On Day one CATTEC also will include a joint session with the Chicago chapter of LES on Innovating Tech Transfer.  And again as in prior years we will feature topics at the convergence of early stage investment and new venture formation.  Also as in prior years, MRUN will solicits university venture centers and the region’s accelerators to nominate their star progeny for presentations to CATTEC attendees.  Watch for details on keynoters and speakers. Contact Gary if you are interested in joining the CATTEC VI Steering Committee to help plan CATTEC VI – we need your ideas and energy.

Enough for now – I encourage you to bookmark the MRUN website and watch for news and events. Our Members Section includes contact information for members.

And… a final reminder JOIN MRUN TODAY.

Thanks and Best Regards

Allen J. Dines
Midwest Research University Network

Follow MRUN on Twitter:

Join the MRUN group on LinkedIn: