IU, VisionTech Seeking 'Diamonds in The Rough'

Posted: Updated:

The Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing has reached an agreement with an Indianapolis-based angel group designed to bring "transformative" ideas to market. The memorandum of understanding with VisionTech Partners LLC involves coaching, investor identification and programs to support commercialization efforts. Dean Bobby Schnabel the partnership raises the profile of entrepreneurship, which he calls the "lifeblood" of information technology. February 10, 2015

News Release

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (January 29, 2015) - Some of the biggest, most transformative ideas come out of America's universities. Think Facebook and Gatorade. Yet too often, bridging the gap between academia and business proves too much for even the best ideas.

With the aim of filling that gap, VisionTech Partners and the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to accelerate opportunities for IU student, faculty and staff inventors and entrepreneurs to develop and commercialize information technology-based or life sciences-based business ideas via new venture creation.

Bobby Schnabel, dean of the IU School of Informatics and Computing, said the agreement will help strengthen the innovation ecosystem at IU.

"We have a tremendous wealth of creative, intelligent people at IU who, with focused mentoring from VisionTech Partners in the areas of entrepreneurship and business formation, have the potential to develop and commercialize the next transformative idea or technology. The opportunities are here; we want to capitalize on them," he said.

Indianapolis-based VisionTech Partners and VisionTech Angels are focused on bringing together inventors, entrepreneurs, investors, universities and strategic partners to develop, fund and launch innovative technologies. VisionTech has a long-standing relationship with the IU Kelley School of Business, often partnering to educate investors, entrepreneurs, the business community and public on business formation and angel investing.

VisionTech Partners managing partner Don Scifres is an experienced entrepreneur, having successfully mentored and raised millions of dollars in capital for Indiana-based startup companies. He said VisionTech Partners is eager to partner with IU to identify and polish "diamonds in the rough" with commercial potential.

"Universities are important sources of new technologies and business startups," Scifres said. "Our expertise is in helping entrepreneurs develop their ideas in order to attract investor interest and assisting in identifying and participating in high-quality investment opportunities. VisionTech looks forward to working with Dean Schnabel and his staff in finding those promising technologies and emerging ventures at IU where we can mutually apply our skills, programs and networks to advance ventures and increase their potential for success."

Under the agreement, VisionTech Partners may also provide coaching for student, faculty and staff entrepreneurs; provide assistance with identifying potential investors and other resources to support commercialization; and participate in IU-associated competitions, seminars and other programs designed to assist in the growth of entrepreneurial successes from the School of Informatics and Computing. VisionTech Angels' Bloomington Chapter president Christy Page is another resource available to IU entrepreneurs and potential investors.

Commenting on the agreement, Donald Kuratko, academic director of the IU Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, said, "Relationships like this one that embed an entrepreneurial culture in the university are essential to making academics and students think and act more like entrepreneurs. The integration of philosophies, respective knowledge and networks, and a formal structure will encourage and promote more successful spin-off technologies and startup companies from IU. This MOU benefits everyone involved: IU, VisionTech and all of our academic entrepreneurs who need the right environment and support to flourish."

About VisionTech Partners

Founded in 2008, Vision Tech Partners is a privately held company focused on linking investors to high-potential early-stage companies. Headquartered in Indianapolis, one of the most vibrant innovation regions in the country, VisionTech Partners is where inventors, entrepreneurs, investors, universities and strategic partners converge to share, develop, fund and launch innovative technologies. VisionTech Angels is one of only five angel groups in the United States to earn accreditation from the Angel Capital Association as an Established Angel Group, and it has angel investing chapters in Bloomington, Indianapolis, Lafayette and Warsaw as well as a virtual chapter.

About Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing

Founded in 2000 as the first school of its kind in the United States, the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing is dedicated to research and teaching across a broad range of computing and information technology, with emphasis on science, applications and societal implications. The school's programs include computer science, informatics, and information and library science. The school, which includes locations at Bloomington and IUPUI, administers a variety of bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. programs, including the first-ever Ph.D. in informatics. The school is dedicated to excellence in education and research, to partnerships that bolster economic development and entrepreneurship, and to increasing opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities in computing and technology.

Source: Indiana University