Taking notice of the gap between the amount and depth of research and technology at local universities, and new company formation, a new group has quietly formed in Los Angeles to tackle the issue. The new group, The Tech CEO Network, said it is looking to help bridge between the technology present at local schools like Caltech, UCLA, USC, UC Irvine, and other universities, and actual, viable companies.
The founders of the group, Richard Koffler and John Morris, are two well known investors in the Los Angeles area. Koffler is a member of the Tech Coast Angels, and heads up Koffler Ventures, a firm which provides advice and C-level experience to startups; Morris is at Vistage International, the Tech Coast Angels, as well as GKM Ventures, Sutro & Co., Wedbush Morgan Securities and NewCap Partners, among other firms. Both also have been active on Los Angeles Venture Association. According to Koffler and Morris, the new group--which also includes a network of other members--is hoping to help bridge the gap between research projects, technology, and inventors and commercially viable companies, by connecting researchers with mentors, CEOs, and other resources. The group includes a number of experienced CEOs with experience raising venture capital as well as bringing companies to an IPO or exit.
The group has so far been quietly working with researchers and technology transfer groups from local schools, and already has a few companies in incubation; at a recent meeting, the group was fostering a discussion between technology transfer officials from local universities, product development firms, experienced CEOs, and service providers brainstorming on how to better enable university researchers and others to get their ventures beyond the concept to prototypes, funding, and product. In contrast to other mentoring and incubation efforts in the area, Koffler and Morris said the new group has a specific focus on technology rich and "deep" technology companies, which tend to come out of universities and other research efforts.