Marquette Startups

OEE is excited to partner with entrepreneurial inventors. OEE strives to maximize the successful technology transfer of Marquette technologies while prioritizing Marquette’s research and education mission. Launching a successful startup company calls for commitment, dedication and dogged perseverance. With the right permutation of the following ingredients, a startup has the potential to bring significant benefit to society: compelling and innovative concept or technology, competitive advantage, strong market need, experienced leadership team and sound business plan.

Steps to get started

Every new company has unique needs and may embark upon the following steps at different times:

  • Speak with OEE about intellectual property protection, strategy and managing conflicts of interest.
  • Protect intellectual property, as this is often the startup’s key capital to attract investors.
  • Network and find mentors who can guide you through your entrepreneurial journey they are invaluable in building the foundation for a successful business. OEE is happy to help with introductions in our network.
  • A credible business plan is essential not only to guide company strategy, but also to communicate the company vision, mission statement, business description, current market situation and problem, your solution, intellectual property, marketing and sales strategy, financial plan and projections, management team, timeline and key milestones, risk factors and mitigation measures.
  • Determine the appropriate legal structure for your company and incorporate accordingly. At a minimum, the company needs to have a name and place of business before a license can be executed.
  • Select a representative/business manager to negotiate a license with OEE on your behalf. In some instances, OEE may negotiate a shorter-term option agreement ahead of a license agreement.
  • Prepare your pitch and fundraise — this becomes a constant priority and activity for any startup company.

License agreements with university founders

When Marquette inventors found or are involved with a startup company, Marquette needs to manage conflicts of interest and commitment. As such OEE needs to maintain an arms-length relationship during the license negotiation and other transactions. The Marquette inventor will be requested to appoint a third person or party to negotiate on their behalf with OEE.

OEE will sign off on a final license agreement only after the appropriate conflict reviews and approvals are complete. Faculty inventors are held responsible for separating their Marquette research and education duties from personal interest in the company, financial or otherwise. Intellectual property and personnel cannot flow freely between your Marquette laboratory and your company – Marquette facilities should not be the research and development arm of the company.



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Resources for entrepreneurs

BioForward Wisconsin is a member-driven organization promoting the growth of Wisconsin’s biohealth industry and defining the future of health care through leadership and integrated solutions. BioForward is the only Wisconsin organization representing more than 200 biohealth member companies, including biotech, biopharma, medical device, diagnostics, digital health, as well as research institutions and service providers. BioForward programs and memberships support members through business networking events, advocacy on behalf of the industry, exclusive rebates through our select savings program, and educational and speaker programming.

Catalyst BioConsulting (formerly PICO – Postdoc Industry Consultants) is a business consulting group composed of highly trained scientists that provides a broad range of consulting services for the many challenges faced by startup and established firms. It offers pro-bono services geared towards the sustainable development and growth of innovative biotech and health technology companies in Wisconsin and beyond.

FedTech builds startups around breakthrough technology from the world’s most advanced research facilities. The FedTech team consists of seasoned entrepreneurs; early-stage startup investors, advisers and mentors; former U.S. government leaders in the rapid innovation space; former CXOs; and all-stars. The primary sponsor, the National Security Innovation Network (formerly known as MD5), works to build networks of innovators that generate new solutions to national security problems.

gBETA is a program of nationally ranked startup accelerator gener8tor. gBETA is a free, seven-week accelerator for early-stage companies with local roots. Each program is capped at five teams, and requires no fees and no equity.

Gener8tor's turnkey platform for the creative economy connects startup founders, musicians, artists, investors, universities and corporations. The gener8tor platform includes pre-accelerators, accelerators, corporate programming, conferences and fellowships.

Milwaukee NSF I-Corps Initially funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2015 and renewed in 2018, the Milwaukee I-Corps Program offers researchers and entrepreneurs a chance to explore the viability of their technologies and ventures through the “Lean Startup” or “Lean Launch” process of direct engagement with the potential markets. Through a five-week workshop, participants are coached on designing and validating a business model around their idea and deciding whether the idea is a go/no-go decision based on their business model. Regardless of the go/no-go outcome, teams will develop valuable skills in discovering the market – skills that will inform their research, business and careers.

Wisconsin Technology Council is the science and technology adviser to the governor and the Legislature. Launched in 2001, the Tech Council was created by a bipartisan act of the governor and the Legislature. It is an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan board with members from tech companies, venture capital firms, higher education, research institutions, government and law.

Center for Technology Commercialization provides one-on-one assistance to early-stage emerging technology businesses throughout Wisconsin. From agriculture to biotechnology, Center consultants are experts in commercialization processes. We have more than 60 years of combined experience and have supported clients in acquiring more than $195 million in federal and additional funding.

Dedicated resources for students

The 707 Hub
Powered by the Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Initiative, the 707 Hub is where ideas are shared, stretched, challenged and realized. Part of the Office of Research and Innovation, the 707 Hub is open to all students. It provides unique spaces designed to foster collaboration, innovation and a cross-disciplinary approach to solving problems. Intros and Innovators features a “reverse pitch” from startups, nonprofits and innovative companies that have project work, internships and full-time positions available and will conclude with a networking reception.

The Dorm Fund is a Marquette student-run venture capital firm.

The Brewed Ideas Challenge is a funding competition for Marquette students who have the next great innovative idea.

Student-Run Business Program
Marquette University's Student-Run Business Program (SRB) offers students one-of-a-kind opportunities for hands-on, experiential learning in business. Based out of the College of Business Administration but open to students campus-wide, the SRB program offers unique opportunities for students to get involved. The SRB program is partnered with Blue and Gold Ventures, an independent non-profit that holds all matured SRB businesses and employs SRB student-executives and employees gain leadership experience, learn business acumen, apply their knowledge, run businesses, and break the bubble that separates students from the world around them.



Existing startups

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Marquette Energy Analytics (MEA)

This project started when utility officials expressed frustration to Dr. Ronald Brown that they didn't have a means to predict how much natural gas customers would use on a given day. What started as the GasDay energy demand research lab at Marquette University has grown into the more agile and scalable Marquette Energy Analytics (MEA). MEA has been serving U.S. utilities for more than 25 years.

MEA specializes in energy demand modeling, forecasting and analytics. MEA software modeling products are extremely valuable to utility companies because reliable estimates of natural gas use avoid excess supply or shortages of natural gas distribution. Pipelines only have a certain gas capacity, and pipeline operators impose significant penalties if utility companies consume more gas than allocated. MEA products use weather data, historical climate trends and past load demand data to generate highly accurate predictions of natural gas use that is saving local and national gas utilities time, money and effort; the savings in turn are passed on to customers.

This technology transfer activity continues to support not only research, publication and education, but also multidisciplinary and hands-on training opportunities for students that is translatable for future employment.

Promentis Pharmaceuticals Inc.

In research spanning a decade, Dr. David Baker (Marquette) and Dr. James Cook (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) and colleagues studied neurotransmitters in the brain and how modulation of these neurotransmitters through optimized delivery of active chemical compounds to the brain can be used to better understand and treat various psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and other central nervous system (CNS) conditions.

Founded by Baker and Dr. John Mantsch in 2007, and led by Daniel Lawton, Dr. Klaus Veitinger, Steve Pollock (former executives of Schwarz Pharma) and Dr. Chad Beyer, Promentis Pharmaceuticals Inc., a privately held biopharmaceutical company, is developing innovative therapies for neuropsychiatric disorders. The company licensed intellectual property from Marquette and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Research Foundation. The company’s first indication is trichotillomania, a highly prevalent disorder for which there is no approved therapy. Alterations in glutamate signaling within brain regions implicated in urge control and executive function have been proposed to contribute to the underlying pathology of trichotillomania, as well as other obsessive-compulsive and addictive disorders, and other CNS conditions.

AviMed Pharmaceuticals LLC

AviMed was founded in 2009 by Dr. Behnam Ghasemzadeh and Dr. Daniel Sem. AviMed has a first-in-class schizophrenia drug lead and a proprietary drug discovery and optimization technology for repurposing this and subsequent central nervous system (CNS) drugs. AviMed licensed patents from Marquette University and from a biotech company related to drug optimization technology. Ghasemzadeh and his research team were investigating a novel brain mechanism related to the cognitive and social problems relevant to schizophrenia. AV115 was discovered by another pharmaceutical company for the treatment of a different disease. When it was found ineffective for that disease, the company decided to no longer pursue it. Since AV115 has already been researched for clinical data and safety by the company, it is considered an “Advanced Preclinical Candidate." AviMed Pharmaceuticals now is repurposing this drug. AV115 has shown fewer side effects and would treat symptoms that current medication for schizophrenia fails to target.