Global-Spin News

The Transition from Academic Research to Academic Spin-off

The Transition from Academic Research to Academic Spin-off
Wednesday, 14 February 2018

In September of 2017, a company years in the making spun-off from research carried out at Duke University. Unicorn ML is led by researcher Lawrence Carin, who supports the idea that the creation of the company gives the team the opportunity to make a real impact on the productivity and effectiveness of other businesses. [1]

As the company developed itself, it received $10 million in funding [2]. The Academic team has been working on machine learning and algorithms for decades—analysing text, images, and audio—and hope to be able to provide more reliable results for their client [1]. The spin-off aims to work with the health, service, and security industries, both for established businesses and those which are being built from the ground up [2].

The moment when academic researchers and institutions decide that a company should be spun-off from the results achieved over years of study is a delicate balance between having a viable product or service, and taking advantage of the economic moment. Unicorn ML has found a moment where they have experience and information in an area where they can offer a unique service to their clients. In addition, they have received external funding for the creation of the spin-off. [2] It seems that Unicorn ML has been able to find the ideal moment to start their business.

Different universities and cultures have different perspectives on promoting academic spin-off, but to be able to understand when the best moment has been reached is never easy. We talked more about the subject here, but keep in mind that there is no specific formula to “get it right.”

[1] https://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2017/09/13/duke-university-ai-startup-secures-10m-in-first.html
[2] http://www.globaluniversityventuring.com/article.php/6070/duke-machine-learning-spinout-receives-10m