Some of the University of Missouri System’s most promising tech ideas were on display Sept. 19 at the fourth annual Missouri Technology Expo on the Columbia campus. The event’s goal each year is to provide an opportunity for university researchers and entrepreneurs to connect with potential business partners and benefactors from around the state.
Representatives for research projects housed within the UM System pitched investors on their technologies in the engineering, life sciences and health science fields. The technologies ranged from a new treatment for Type I diabetes to genetically engineered, virus-resistant pigs.
“We bring 15 or so technologies that investors might be interested in,” University of Missouri licensing associate Nancy Parker said. “It’s a great opportunity for researchers to find businesses and entrepreneurs that can help get their technology to the market.”
The Expo also featured executives from two tech ventures that have benefited from UM System support, EyeVerify and MedSocket, presenting their companies’ progress and touting the system’s tech transfer program and entrepreneurial support.
Jeremy Paben is vice president of engineering at Kansas City, Kan.-based startup EyeVerify, which got its start in the UM System. He gave the audience a rundown on the applications for his company’s biometric security technology, which will allow a smartphone camera to analyze the veins in a user’s eye and grant access only to the owner’s “eyeprint.”
Karl Kochendorfer, CEO of Columbia-based MedSocket, showcased his technology, which aggregates medical information databases for health care providers. He also told the story of how utilizing the university tech transfer system allowed him to develop the second search tool MedSocket offers in four years instead of the 13 the first search tool took him on his own.
Parker said the potential for collaboration was visible between sessions in the hallways and atriums of Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center and at the closing reception. In the past, Parker said, those conversations have made her job licensing university technology much easier. “Now that I’ve met these people, I can suggest technologies to people and it’s not a cold call,” she said. “And they’ll probably be familiar with that and talked to the professor or researcher as well, so it makes for a better business atmosphere.”