The UCLA Life Science Incubator accelerates generating new businesses and ranks number one according to a recent Milken Institute report.
UCLA has been focusing their efforts on campus to foster support for entrepreneurship and streamlined commercialization for businesses spinning out of their life science incubator at California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI).
UCLA has played an integral role in supporting life science technology in the Los Angeles community.
At this point Los Angeles is focused on growing towards critical mass in the life science space.
In the past many pharmaceutical and medical device companies would come out of San Diego, Orange County and Boston because of the infrastructure already in place.
Now L.A. is developing to a point to reach a critical mass position primarily because the infrastructure will support it. Previously companies would identify and develop new and innovative technology then go to the bay area to find VC money and investors to build a business.
More and more people are staying in Los Angeles focusing on maintaining the unique Los Angeles perspective and assisting growth in the resources available to entrepreneurs in the L.A. area.
Until now Los Angeles has not had incubators building out shell space and enabling companies to accelerate their commercialization process by lowering capital costs and focusing funding on the de-risking studies and activities more quickly.
When investors are presented with a more efficient method or pace they are more likely to positively evaluate the assets and also invest funds in those assets.
How does UCLA assist businesses going to market in reducing their upfront costs as well as offer access to support resources like venture capital, business support and/or mentorship programs?
Typically for startup companies there is not a lot of wet lab research space zoned appropriately. We are not talking a manufacturing space downtown in the garment district. This type of research space is specifically zoned for a particular activity and one issues is infrastructure for these types of capital intensive startup companies.
Most startups are strapped with paying to build out space, get certification and approval from county regulators, purchase highly expensive equipment and spend potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars before their business is even proven profitable.
With the UCLA Life Science Incubator this is accomplished within six to twelve months allowing the entrepreneur and startup time to focus on the work necessary to raise the capital needed in order to support the company moving forward.
What the incubator is doing as far as the space component is lowering that entry barrier and giving easier and earlier access to businesses that would otherwise would be locked out.
This also brings together the entrepreneurs and mentors who advise the startup companies at that early stages of how to build a company. Provides guidance on how to hire a team, retain the right talent, resources and secure the capital they need to grow and achieve that commercialized investable asset.
How does the incubator create opportunities for students and facility and how can one get involved in the incubator?
First, UCLA is the only university life science incubator in the Los Angeles area.
Typically startups should already be legally incorporated and have the necessary capital required to support operations for at least six months.
Another component of the application process is to preferably have some affiliation with UCLA, although not a limiting factor. It’s a preference but not a requirement so typically startups have a UCLA alumni as a founder, co founder, board members and/or any research done with or affiliated to UCLA.
UCLA does have startup companies in it’s ecosystem with no affiliation to the university and is open to them applying.
All applications go before a selection committee that evaluates the startups, making sure they are a good fit and properly aligned with the infrastructure and support UCLA can provide.
Only then is a determination made based on the conscience and selection of the committe feedback.
UCLA was ranked number 1 of out 223 other universities by the Milken Institute report for generating more new businesses.
The spin out component is definitely a high mark for what UCLA is doing.
There is a lot more focus on campus supporting entrepreneurship facilitating and enabling startups to license and utilize technology developed out of UCLA.
UCLA Life Science Incubator is focused on creating excitement by pumping up faculty and students to spin out technology developed at the incubator as well as attract entrepreneurs, founders and investors to a growing portfolio of technology developed at UCLA.
The tech transfer office at UCLA has really simplified and streamlined the licensing process making it easy for people or organizations to identify exciting technology available for licensing.
Lowering barriers for startups and entrepreneurs while facilitating an easier road to commercialization is helping to create, grow and sustain a tech life science ecosystem in Los Angeles.