Texas-Portugal Venture Growth Workshop, April 23

On Thursday, April 23, 2015 the IC² Institute at The University of Texas at Austin will present a networking and matchmaking workshop among firms and technology incubators in Central Texas and the European Union, especially Portugal.

On Thursday, April 23, 2015 the IC² Institute at The University of Texas at Austin will present a networking and matchmaking workshop among firms and technology incubators in Central Texas and the European Union, especially Portugal.

Co-sponsored with The University of Texas at Austin’s EU Center for Excellence, the workshop follows the 2015 TX-EU Summit on April 22 and is designed to deliver measurable business development for Central Texas and Portuguese technology firms through a one-day workshop.

What: Texas-Portugal Venture Growth Workshop
Date: Thursday, April 23, 2015
Time: 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM
Location: AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, UT Austin
Cost: Free and open to the public. Registration required.

Participants, including Central Texas and Portuguese tech incubator directors and their incubated companies, as well as venture capital experts, will learn about opportunities and best practices for launching or co-locating firms in the EU and in Central Texas.

For registration and full event details, please see the IC² Institute announcement.

Global Startup Roadshow, March 2014

March 10-18, 2014, members of the UTEN team will visit multiple incubators across Portugal to publicize the next call for applications to the Global Startup Program.

Marco Bravo and Greg Pogue of the IC² Institute at The University of Texas at Austin will meet with dozens of startups that are interested in expanding to international markets and growing their business in the United States.

Stops on the tour will include Lisbon, Coimbra, Cantanhede, Aveiro, Porto, and Guimarães.

Global Startup began in 2013 to provide business development, soft-landing, incubation, business development, and acceleration opportunities for Portuguese technology-based companies. Its purpose is to assist the success of Portuguese entrepreneurial endeavors in both early and mature phases of development.

For more information, please contact Marco Bravo at bravo@austin.utexas.edu or +1 512-475-8953.


► Read Success Stories from previous UTEN programs.

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UTEN Training Week #4: Best Practices in University-Industry Relations

The fourth 2010 UTEN Training Week took place in Porto July 19-20, 2010, at the Polytechnic Institute of Porto.

Under the theme “Best Practices in University-Industry Relations: Setting Up and Managing an Industrial Liaison Office (ILO),” the training week provided participants with real-world examples of how ILO’s have been established to date. Facilitators shared “lessons learned” and encouraged participants to consider the future and leading-edge practices. They provided a proven framework for the establishment of such offices and programs in UTEN member universities. The goal was to help participants to meet their specific research and commercialization objectives as well as to create greater regional and international partnerships for economic growth.

Participants listen to facilitators.

Three primary areas were addressed:

  • “Developing a strategy”
  • “Structure and Programs”
  • “Talent and Relationships”

Facilitators used hands-on training. Invited experts included Bill Catlett, associate director, UT Austin Office of Sponsored Projects, and acting director, UT Austin Center for Emerging Technology Commercialization, and Anthony Boccanfuso, executive director, University Industry Demonstration Partnership at the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

2010 UTEN Training Week #3: New Paradigms in University-Based Technology Business Incubation

Days 1 and 2: May 25-26, 2010

This UTEN training week focused on university-based technology business incubation. It presented different perspectives and practical overviews of trends in incubation models and key tasks and responsibilities of incubators and TTOs regarding venture creation, company growth and internationalization. Ms. Laura Kilcrease, managing director of Triton Ventures, founding director of the Austin Technology Incubator and chief architect and consultant for more than 20 years to US and global incubators, kicked off the workshop. She highlighted several global trends in business incubation centered around practical and proactive ways to create ventures from scratch using existing human and capital resources. She discussed how to quickly form companies to take technologies to market.

Mr. Omar Hakim, director of the Research Valley Innovation Center, an incubator associated with Texas A&M University, former CEO of IP Knowledge Ventures and a long-time global consultant in IP, technology commercialization and international venture creation, presented several complementary globalization and internationalization models. They were considered in conjunction with ways to create competitive advantage through creative and innovative global capital sourcing models and market access across international partnerships.

Ms. Aruni Gunasegaram, manager of operations and finance for the Austin Technology Incubator and former CEO of Babblesoft, discussed tools and methodologies related to more traditional aspects of incubator management, such as due diligence, company selection, community engagement and incubation services. These areas and supporting tools were considered relative to the new paradigm of incubation and current challenges and with particular focus on ways to leverage international partnerships to enhance local assets and succeed within a local context and operating environment. Workshop participants engaged in multiple learning objectives through highly interactive presentations, discussions and exercises, including case studies, live roleplays of international venture creation, individual learning libraries and proposed exercises, as well as group discussions of key topics.

Brief presentations were augmented by group discussions and hands-on assignments focusing on:

  • Internationalization and soft-landing
  • Incubator formation, growth and sustainability
  • Regional context and business incubation
  • Company selection and growth: challenges and successes

Learning objectives:

  • How do we move beyond the current paradigm of business incubation to launch more high-growth global companies?
  • How do we select and service companies for success?
  • How do we utilize international partnerships to leverage commercialization resources, capital, research, technology, infrastructure, market access and talent?
  • How can we best support portfolio companies to prepare to go global?
  • How can we facilitate successful engagements between companies and international partners? landing pads? commercialization partners?
  • What is required to foster trust with international partners?
  • How can we prepare our companies so that they are able to quickly form partnerships and minimize time-to-market internationally?

During the second day of the workshop, participants formed teams. They underwent live negotiation exercises illustrating the challenges and opportunities associated with company formation and aligning diverse international stakeholders to take a technology to market. Each participant received a role to play and defended or advocated for his or her position. The facilitators challenged each group to reach a deal within a limited period of time. The outcome was very effective and yielded a robust and energetic exchange of ideas and perspectives.

Group 1: Omar Hakim and Laura Kilcrease facilitate a negotiations exercise with workshop participants.
Group 1: Omar Hakim and Laura Kilcrease facilitate a negotiations exercise with workshop participants.

DAY 3: May 27, 2010
Meetings with speakers

UTEN speakers and staff met with workshop participants and UTEN stakeholders from the Minho region to dive deeper into specific initiatives. They discussed ways to collaborate across portfolios to accomplish common objectives. Participants took this opportunity to present and discuss their most promising and challenging opportunities for U.S. on-shoring as well as bi-directional venture creation opportunities. The entrepreneur, innovator and other select stakeholders were also invited to be present when possible. A full schedule of meetings yielded several actionable opportunities. Participants drafted action plans for follow-up.

Group 2: Aruni Ganasegaram and Eli D. Mercer facilitate a negotiations exercise with workshop participants.
Group 2: Aruni Ganasegaram and Eli D. Mercer facilitate a negotiations exercise with workshop participants.

UTEN would like to thank the University of Minho and AvePark/SpinPark for hosting this event. We convey our sincere appreciation to all who attended, especially to those who supported the operations and helped to make this event possible.

UTEN conducts one week of in-situation training at FCT/UNL

Cliff Zintgraff, UTEN Austin program manager, visited FCT/UNL for in-situation training from May 17 to 21, 2010. Dina Chaves, TT coordinator for the FCT/UNL Office for Entrepreneurship Promotion and Technology Transfer hosted Cliff. The purpose of UTEN in-situation training is to transfer lessons learned in the UTEN program into operational practices in Portuguese technology-transfer offices. This is accomplished by assessing the needs of each office, reviewing the UTEN training received by TT office staff, and developing a customized plan within the overall framework of the training.

A UTEN Austin staff member leads the training. Additional subject matter experts and technology-transfer practitioners provide support either on-site or remotely. The goal of in-situation training is to benefit offices long-term by improving business practices and procedures. During in-situation training at FCT/UNL, Cliff and Dina developed a specification for the FCT/UNL TTO web site. It helped cast a vision for how the office interfaces with its main customers: industry, researchers, students, and entrepreneurs. They developed an overall procedural flowchart. It focused on disclosure-to-patent decisions and defined how UTEN assessment tools would incorporate with the process. It described the functions UTEN assessment tools would serve. They also developed a disclosure form appropriate for FCT/UNL. It struck a balance between information disclosure and simplicity-of-use for inventors. During the week, Dina and Cliff advanced U.S. connections for select FCT/UNL technologies. Cliff and Dina were key to the FCT/UNL Office for Entrepreneurship Promotion and Technology Transfer web site going live with its initial public portfolio offering.

Dina Chaves standing with Susana Barreiros and Cliff Zintgraff
L-R: Dina Chaves, TT coordinator for the FCT/UNL Office for Entrepreneurship Promotion and Technology Transfer, Susana Barreiros, professor and subdirector, FCT/UNL, and Cliff Zintgraff, UTEN Austin program manager.

“Cliff provided the expertise needed to develop TTO’s procedures in order to optimize technology commercialization in collaboration with OTC (Office of Technology Commercialization) at UT Austin,” Dina Chaves said. “The outcome of UTEN support allows the development of best practices in technology scanning and screening activities, improving the effective interaction between the TTO and the stakeholders. Cliff and UTEN Austin’s collaboration is crucial to achieve the mission of the FCT/UNL TTO: Turning ideas into assets through the commercialization of technologies.”

According to Susana Barreiros, professor and subdirector, FCT/UNL, “The partnership with UT Austin provides many opportunities to improve the knowledge-transfer process at FCT/UNL. One recent example is the design of the FCT/UNL TTO web site, which will help clarify IP policy and procedures and will undoubtedly foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among the FCT/UNL community.” UTEN will publish a case study of the effort, including a procedural flowchart and a disclosure form. Find this and other case studies at www.utenportugal.org/case-studies.

UTEN Portugal and Carnegie Mellon Portugal promote workshop on technology transfer

The UTEN Portugal Network and the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program co-organized “Corporate Partnering to Facilitate University Commercialization Activities,” a workshop at the Faculty of Economics and Management, Catholic University of Portugal, in Lisbon, on June 15 and 16, 2010. Several experts from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) participated. The workshop’s main objectives included:

  • enable the discussion of good practices and the most effective ways to establish partnerships between the universities and companies
  • aim to attract new business partners and thus promote the commercialization of innovation and technology.

Some of the themes discussed at the event included the:

  • strategic partnership between the universities and companies
  • promotion of a continuous bond between the university and its alumni
  • intellectual property rights and the consequent advantages that may come from a partnership between the parties involved in the process.

José Mendonça, scientific director of UTEN Portugal, considers “the development and improvement of competencies in technology transfer and commercialization are nowadays crucial for the entities within the national scientific and technological system, namely for the scientific and/or higher-education institutions, technology-based business incubators, and science and technology parks. In this context, the relationship with companies’ [Industrial Liaison Offices] play an increasingly important and relevant role. This is why UTEN Portugal is paying special attention, in 2010, to the development and improvement of competencies in these areas — so as to promote more effective partnerships between the universities and companies. [This] will lead to an economic valorization of investments in research and technological development.” João Barros, national director of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal program, stated that “the strategic partnership with Carnegie Mellon offers the opportunity to get in touch with the best practices of the top North-American universities. This way, making it possible to speed up innovation processes within the Portuguese academic and business contexts.”

Carnegie Mellon University’s experts presented CMU’s technology-transfer model. It is considered one of the best in this area with a particular emphasis on the establishment of strategic partnerships. Experts included Bill Swisher, acting senior director, Corporate and Foundation Relations; Tara Branstad, associate director of the Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation (CTTEC); Gene Hambrick, corporate relations director at Cylab (Cyber Security Training and Research Centre, established at CMU, which works together with several organisms and companies in the United States); and Aamir Anwar, director of international alumni relations at CMU. Hyong Kim, an electrical and computer engineering professor at CMU, delivered the keynote speech. The speech addressed upcoming information and telecommunication-technologies challenges not only at the market level but also at the level of universities’ main research topics. Debate sessions and hands-on analysis of real case studies filled the two-day workshop. Participants discussed several questions relevant to the Portuguese universities and the research and technology sector. Topics also included models, solutions, and proposals successfully implemented in the U.S., namely at CMU.

CloudViews cloud computing conference in Porto 20-21 May, 2010

The CloudViews 2010 conference will convene IT professionals, researchers, and service providers in the cloud computing field.

Organized by EuroCloud Portugal, CloudViews 2010 is the second annual edition of the conference. This year’s theme is the “Cloud Ecosystem” and discussion topics will include:

  • Cloud elasticity
  • Cloud computing platforms interoperability
  • Data management
  • IT departments and cloud computing integration
  • User perspective – how Internet (the cloud) will become our PC
  • Encryption and security technologies
  • Predictability and provision platforms
  • SLAs monitoring and agreements contracts
  • Elastic networks
  • Companies and startup opportunities – how to become a cloud computing provider and how to use cloud computing to add (real) value to business

Says UTEN@Austin Director David Gibson, “The presence of Technology Transfer Officers in this conference is important because they have the necessary skills to help R&D centers and students to develop partnerships with companies and also with other institutions. We think also that is is a great opportunity for Technology Transfer Officers to see what is happening on this area.”

The deadline for submitting paper proposals is 15 April, 2010. For more information, please see:


A related initiative, the EuroCloud Portugal Call for Business, plans to include business sessions at EuroCloud 2010 as well as a road show of informal sessions around Portugal in April and May.

Cloudviews 2010

UTEN@Austin Hosts August Training for Portuguese TTO Managers and Staff

Portuguese TTOs and staff from UTEN@Austin and the UT Austin Office of Technology Commercialization
Portuguese TTOs and staff from UTEN@Austin and the UT Austin Office of Technology Commercialization

From August 9 to 21, 2009 UTEN@Austin, IC² Institute, UT Austin, offered the second phase of the FCT supported Technology Transfer Training (T3) Program for competitively selected Portuguese TT Managers and staff. As noted elsewhere in this newsletter several of these workshop participants are also engaged in one-to-two month internships with UTEN’s Texas partner institutions. The following eleven Portuguese TT professionals participated in the workshop:

UATEC, University of Aveiro: José Paulo Rainho, Technology Transfer Director; Ana Rita Remígio, Technology Transfer and Licensing Officer; David Resende, Researcher in GOVCOPP Research Unit; and Marlos Silva, Technology Transfer Officer and Entrepreneurship Coordinator

TecMinho, University of Minho: Marta Catarino, Technology Transfer Director and Pedro Silva, Technology Transfer and Industry Liaison Officer

INPI: Dina Chaves, Senior Officer and Miguel Moura, Patent Examiner

Instituto Superior Técnico: Maria José Francisco, Entrepreneurship Program Executive Director

INOVISA: Isabel Alte da Veiga, Technology Transfer and IP Manager,

Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro: Carla Mascarenhas, Technology Entrepreneurship Management and IP Consultant

The intensive two-week training program focused on “thinking and doing” concerning business development in US markets, technology valorization, licensing and negotiations, developing university spin-offs, managing a TT office, fostering entrepreneurship, technology marketing, project management, and systems of innovation (download the full program, 135KB PDF). The participating Texas-based experts and partner institutions included offices of technology commercialization from UT Austin, UT-Dallas, Texas A&M University, and South Texas Technology Management (STTM) as well as additional content experts as follows:

Kate Mackie, Senior Lecturer, Graduate School of Business, UT Austin, lead exercises on developing internal and external marketing strategies for Portuguese TT Offices that are associated with different university technology sectors and regional environments.

Brett Cornwell, Director of Commercialization Services at the Texas A&M Texas A&M Office of Technology Commercialization, focused his comments on the creation and management of university-based start-ups and spin-offs.

John Fritz and Sean Thompson, both Technology Licensing Associates from South Texas Technology Management (STTM), spoke on technology transfer processes and how to approach and work with inventors and researchers for best results, choosing a path to market, and “closing the deal.”

Robert Robb, Associate VP for Technology Commercialization at the UT Dallas Office of Technology Commercialization, and Joseph Picken, Executive Director of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE) also at UT Dallas, discussed how The University of Texas at Dallas launched and built its technology transfer operations, cross-disciplinary and community-based entrepreneurship initiatives, and new venture creation programs.

Rick Friedman, Associate Director of Licensing at the UT Austin Office of Technology Commercialization, focused his comments on techniques and processes for licensing and negotiations. His presentation was followed by an afternoon of Portuguese teams competing on how best to negotiate a license while being mentored and critiqued by senior UT Austin OTC staff.

Laura Kilcrease, Founding Director, Triton Ventures hosted the interns for a discussion on lessons learned from “The Austin Model” of technology-based growth as well as how to develop a robust home grown VC community to accelerate the development of a globally competitive technology commercialization regional infrastructure.

Jamie Rhodes, Founder of the Central Texas Angel Network spoke on the important role of angel investment in economic and community development and how he and his colleagues successfully organized and launched angel networks in Austin and throughout Texas.

During the two-week workshop Portuguese participants took part in a range of hands-on exercises that included “cold-calling” and interviewing US technology and business experts to obtain first-hand information on their Portuguese technologies as well as workshops on conducting licensing negotiations, crafting a marketing plan for their TT Offices, and managing TT offices and processes. On the last day of the workshop each Portuguese workshop participant and team presented, to a panel of experts, their emerging strategies and tasks for their TT Offices in the near and longer term as well as identifying key take-aways from their two weeks of training.

Workshops at Innovation Days June 18 and 20

UTEN@Austin will be holding Workshops at the Innovation Days conference in Lisbon.

A Researcher Workshop will take place on Thursday June 18 from 10.30 to 13.30. This workshop will explore best practices in technology transfer, including how to present a technology to business people. An Entrepreneur Workshops will take place on Saturday June 20 from 10.30 to 13.30. The UTEN team will show how to build a globally competitive strategy for your venture and how to listen to the needs of the market.

For more information about the workshops and opportunities to meet UTEN@Austin staff at Innovation Days, see the UTEN Innovation Days program.