Office of the President

UW startups dare to do for the greater good

Gov. Jay Inslee

Gov. Jay Inslee (left) chats with AnswerDash co-founder Jake Wobbrock at the C4C event on the UW Seattle campus.

Provost Ana Mari Cauce, paraphrasing something I said when I first arrived in her wonderfully succinct way, described the UW’s recent success in commercialization aptly: “Dreaming is important, but dreaming is not enough.” For entrepreneurial Huskies, our Center for Commercialization (C4C) fosters the dreamers into doers, and yesterday we celebrated the center’s latest extraordinary achievement: 18 new startups in the past fiscal year. That number beats our record from the previous year and gives us a two-year average that makes us first in the nation. Even more important, it highlights how a campuswide innovation ecosystem is developing a new generation of innovators who simply dare to do.

C4C’s robust infrastructure provides support every step of the way, from connecting enterprising faculty to mentors, venture capitalists and leaders in the business community to offering students myriad opportunities to do research and participate in entrepreneurial training, mentoring programs and competitions. It not only engages discovery and learning, but it is one more way to make an impact by extending what we do on campus out into the world to do good.

At C4C’s second annual UW Startup Celebration, Gov. Jay Inslee, state and local legislators and many members of the UW and greater community came together to reflect on the bold vision that led us to this success. From medical devices and therapeutics to software and clean technology, these startups represent the breadth and depth of the impactful, life-changing research that takes place every day on our campuses.

C4C has a lot to celebrate this year. Its New Ventures Facility was named “emerging incubator of the year” by the 2014 University Business Incubators Global Index, which cited the center’s ability to produce startups with high survival and growth rates, success in fundraising and job creation levels well above the global average. The economic benefit to Seattle, the Pacific Northwest region and the state is exponential as our success attracts investors, creates family-wage jobs and leads to an increase in interstate commerce and exports.

Most importantly, C4C’s accomplishments make an impact on the greater good. Congratulations to Linden Rhoads and her entire team for making the world a better place for us all.