Get Google to
Last year, Google purchased a company that was funded by the NIH.
Over a period of three years,
the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, which
provides grant awards for devices,
therapeutics and research tools,
supported the R&D of Lift Labs–a
tremor-canceling utensil for those
with Parkinson’s disease. Google
Life Sciences made the deal for
an undisclosed amount and added
Lift Labs’ “Liftware” device to its
portfolio of consumer-facing medical inventions. It is rumored that
a Google founder’s mother with
Parkinson’s was one of the reasons
for the acquisition.
What was once a scientific
hypothesis evolved to a proven
technology and is now being mainstreamed for a disease that affects
11 million Americans.
However, it is unlikely that Google would have invested in just an
Federal agency commercialization programs (SBIR) continually
fund research-oriented startups.
The companies benefit greatly from
non-dilutive grants that help them
through long development cycles.
But, it’s more than just funding.
A supportive ecosystem maximizes their commercial potential and
diminishes risk corporate leaders
seek to avoid when purchasing a
Corporations that acquire science-based startups are not willing
to take that risk at the outset. They
steer clear of such uncertainty before a technology is proven.
But, the U.S. government and the
scientific leadership in the various
agencies are willing to see where
untested yet leading-edge concepts
can go. Lift Labs participated in a
assistance program run by the Larta
Institute. This program, at no cost
to participants, promotes continued
technical development and go-to-market best practices. Company
leaders are guided as they engage
with customers, strategic partners,
mentors and investors.
When talks with Google began,
Lift Labs’ go-to-market momentum,
taking steps listed above, was
Recent trends in govern-ment-funded technology commercialization put a premium on “lean
startup” and customer develop-
Federal programs for science-based startups have
been integral in getting companies noticed, and even